Latest Gallop Poll says nearly half of Americans are idiots.

The results from the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll on Evolution continue the trend of idiocy in this country on the topic of Evolution.

  • “Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life” is probably or definitely false: 44%
  • “Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years” is probably or definitely true: 66%
  • 15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe in evolution.

That last line is the only bright spot to be found in the poll as the majority don’t think a candidate’s acceptance, or lack thereof, of evolution is relevant on how qualified a person is to be President. Though, in its own way, that’s sort of depressing as well.

Sometimes it’s amazing to me that half our population manages to avoid having their heads implode from the vacuum within.

Link found via Stranger Fruit.

49 thoughts on “Latest Gallop Poll says nearly half of Americans are idiots.

  1. My lucky bastard of a brother has been living in Scotland since January, and thus has been able to escape this imbecility. Someone wake me when our country emerges from the Dark Ages.

  2. Les- the danger of implosion is small, given that the evolution-shaped hole in these people’s heads is filled with porridge.

  3. porridge gives them too much credit, the intellegence-sapping fumes of incense are filling that cranial cavity and making it bigger.

  4. Latest Gallop Poll says nearly half of Americans are idiots.

    Well, Les, do we really need a Gallup (note spelling) poll to tell us that?

    15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe in evolution.

    You call this a “bright spot”?  I know you’re groping here, trying to find some brightness in idiocy, but, really, what would we think if they said one of these things?:
    “15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe in global warming.”
    …or…
    “15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe that Apollo 11 really landed on the moon.”
    …or…
    “15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that believes that if we were meant to fly, we’d have wings, and all air travel should be stopped.”
    …or…
    “15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that believes that the sun revolves around the Earth.”

    I find the idea that 15% of us — that’s ONE in effing SIX-ish! — is willing to use that as a criterion for choosing elected officials is scary.

  5. given that the evolution-shaped hole in these people’s heads is filled with porridge

    Nah, it’s peanut butter wink

  6. whitebloodoftheheavens: intellegence-sapping fumes of incense are filling that cranial cavity and making it bigger.

    Hey! Don’t be knocking incense, now. I know it’s somewhat of an acquired taste, but our apartment is almost constantly redolent of burnt jasmine or patchouli.  smile

    Besides, something tells me that a good many of those polled who supplied the disturbing answers aren’t exactly incense types.

    Les: 15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe in evolution.

    Barry: You call this a “bright spot”? 

    Agreed. 15% is hardly a trivial matter.  downer

  7. On the flip side, our 10% or so wouldn’t vote for a creationist/ID’er. 

    Some people understand both anatomy and geology, while others fail miserably.

  8. I am reminded of an old ssying “look at the inteligence of the average man, and remeber half the world is dumber than that”.

  9. Barry, despite the appearance my website title suggests, I’m actually a rather optimistic person when it comes to my fellow humans and I like to try to believe the best about them. It’s one of those weird self-contradictory things about me as I then sit down and write about all the idiots that I come across which you’d think would show me that my optimism is misplaced, yet it remains.

    In a way my rant is a plea to my fellow humans to try and be better than they are currently, or at least a bit more informed on topical issues. It’s just hard not to let my frustration bleed into my commentary.

  10. Have you seen what is taking all the headlines and filling the (s)news channels lately? Paris Hilton? Springtime for Paris? WTF? But, then, maybe that’s a good thing. It may mean that there is nothing more important going on in the world, like large buildings being attacked, etc.

  11. I am reminded of an old saying “look at the intelligence of the average man, and remember half the world is dumber than that”.

    gulp  Wow, there’s a depressing thought.

  12. I don’t want to hear any more about some dumb whore going to jail. I tried to catch the news to see what was going on in D.C. and all I got was images of the moron in the back of a police car. I was hoping to hear about the bullshit immagation bill, but all I could find was stupid bitch updates. Sorry to vent, but I hate celeberty “news”.

  13. I’d love to think that the average Aussie is smarter than the average USian – there’s security in delusions – I’d make a good Theist.

  14. Sorry to vent, but I hate celeberty “news”.

    I know whatcha mean.
    If we hadn’t had major rain and floods, bitsa road disappearing and people dying, and a coupla days ago a B-Double and a train colliding killing eleven, Hilton woulda lead the news – how thankful can one be for small mercies?

  15. Well I can say this, the “paris thing” proves the TERRORISTS haven’t won. wink

  16. The majority of news now days has evolved (devolved?) into infotainment.  You’ll have to look long and hard for actual meaningful news even on such stations as CNN.  Forget about hearing about something that the government doesn’t really want you to know about, such as bills passed in the dead of night on a Friday night just before a Congressional recess (why DO they do that anyway?  Maybe because theres almost nobody in attendance during such times?)

    I’d suggest listening to NPR, checking out alternate new sites like the Huffington Post and Working For Change.  Given the two sites mentioned DO have a liberal bias, but they tend to report stuff that the idiot box totally misses (unfortunately you’ll still hear some BS about The Most Worthless Person Alive, but it’s never their primary focus).  Personally I prefer news websites over watching TV or the radio because I can get to what I want to know, rather than having to listen to what they want to tell me.

    As for the Gallup Poll, does anybody really think that’s accurate?  I know pollsters are supposed to poll in a more or less random pattern in order to get the best possible sample, but I have to wonder how often that really occurs. 

    Also, I have to wonder about the cell phone issue.  How many people are actually sitting at home (with everyone supposedly more busy than ever) waiting by the phone (if they have a land-line phone) for pollsters?  The poll said that 1,007 adults over 18 were polled by phone.  Last time I knew, pollsters and telemarketers and such did not have access to the public record of cell phone listings (yet), so they can’t call those numbers.  Which means they are limited to land-line (and VOIP) phones.  I don’t know the numbers and I’m too lazy to look for them, but I have to wonder:

    1. Who still has a land-line and a cellphone (I personally have only a cellphone).
    2. What the spread of people are that would be at home during the time the poll calls were made, and what time they were made.
    3. What states did they make the calls to?  If they called population centers in all 50, did they really only call 20 households in each? 

    I don’t think polling works that way if I remember statistics class right.  If I remember, they most likely called a spread of places around one or two cities, and the assumption is they got an appropriate sample.

    I know there is a rise in fundamentalism across the country, but I don’t think it’s evenly spread.  Places like South Carolina where Xians are specifically gathering would make for a much more skewed poll.

    Polls are bullshit if only to say that it’s ridiculous to say “40% of whatever believes such and such”, when its only been confirmed that 40% of 1,007 people believe it.  1,007 is hardly an accurate or reasonable representation of 300 million unless we’re talking assembly line products or something that is reasonably expected to be the same across the board.

    Polls make some really broad assumptions about the homogeneousness of society that just doesn’t exist.  Polls have a very tenuous grasp on reality.  I agree with Bush on that one thing, governing according to polls is dumb.

  17. Poles should be no more than fun things to do while you skip out on doing rental reports. Hey don’t mock me, I realy do want to know what kind of plant I would be.
    Besides, I want to know how many people told them to piss off.

  18. I would definitely hang up on a pollster myself, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be too eager to release those numbers.

  19. 1. Who still has a land-line and a cellphone (I personally have only a cellphone).

    Majority still have land/VOIP.  Can’t get a lot of pay tv without it – satellites, at least.  Don’t know about digital cable – never had it.  Alarm systems too req a land/VOIP line.  Most of the cell only folk are apartment dwellers, since it’s easier to just get a cable/ISP pack with one shot and forget about the landline. 

    Personally, I would like to rig my alarm up to a cell on my family account, and have the GPS 911 capability on my cell so I can drop the landline.

  20. Doesn’t a great deal of the worlds population believe in some form of god?  This is a stupid poll, and it saying that nearly half Americans are idiots is kind of funny, considering that the rest of the world has fanatical idiots, just like the ones that are here also.

  21. They don’t ask just 1000 people. They ask loads. If you have every been in a (correctly run) poll you will know that they establish a few basic facts- age, gender, ethnicity etc.  The make up of the society in general is known eg. x% fit criteria a b and c, so the compute pick a “scale” sample that fit a b and c- so 49% of the 1007 will be male. In UK 8% would be non-white, etc etc.  What screws polls up isn’t the methodology, but the fact people sometimes lie.  Unpopular governments sometimes get a surprise re-election victory, as people vote for them, but are too ashamed to admit it.

    Poll organistation have databases of ‘repeat customers’ – ie people whose stats are known, and are known to be willing to take part (so cutting down on the number of contacts that need to be made). 

    Sometimes you may be approached in the street. Yo may find after they have confirmed a few basic facts they ask you no more questions. Othertimes they will not even approach you, but someone else, even though you thought you were the obvious candidate This is because street pollsters are often told to fill just a certain quota of a type to make sure that all sub-sets are covered. (John gets answers from men, Jane from women, or John is given something very specific- Men 25-34 who are Carribean, who live in postcodes ‘x’-‘z’ ).

    I am a member of ‘YouGov’. They poll exclusively via email alerts- if you get an email, you go to that poll on line. I usually get 50p a pop (sometimes more), and a cheque when the total is £50.  My wife gets more invites than me- I suspect she represents a demographic who are less likely to be members- I would imagine that more men under 40 than women over 45 use the net/sign up.

    Polling selection is quite a science, developed over the last 100 years or so.  For instanceif you decide you are going to poll 1 in every 10 houses (which is what an official government mini census does), a number between 2 and 0 is randomly (true random) produced, and all houses ending in that number polled (4, 14, 24 etc). Why never houses ending in 1?  Because 1 is the 1st house in the street. They tend to be corner plots, often bigger and/or more valuable, so the occupants are likely to be richer. OK you will still pick up some corner houses, but this will be in rough proportion, where as you will bick up ALL number ones, skewing the stats.

    Lots of research into stats has taken place, and it is commonly accepted in the stats community, that 1,000 data points will produce an acceptable representation, but no fewer.  They also tend to disregard the top and/or bottom 5% in numerical answer polls, as just a hand full of extreme results can seriously affect the average. This is common with things such as earnings- the super rich earn so much that the top 5% will seriously pull the average away from what it realistically is. (if 1 sample in 1000 is 100 times larger it alters the result up by approx 10%- imagine if you were told the average wage in your company was 21144, when the ‘real’ average for staff was 19000- all because the chairman gets 2,000,000 a year)

  22. There was some pollster that kept calling our house, offering money to take a poll or attend a focus group or something but I never did return their call.  Maybe I should have gone along with it, it just sounded really, really boring.

  23. Thanks LH; that was interesting.

    I had ACNeilson boxes attached to my TVs for about 6 or 7 years. I got quite used to pressing the button on the ‘remote’ every 1/2 hour to acknowledge I was awake and still watching. The one I had in my bedroom was pressed every hour or so cos that’s the way I used to ‘sleep’.
    I cashed in for a few nice presents when the house was sold.
    I’ve also done a coupla paid for beer and poker machines surveys.

    TAFKA, here in Oz most people still have both Landline as well as Mobile – most mobiles are still pretty expensive to run unless you’ve got special deals that become all too confusing when they want your Landline/ADSL too. I know my brother’s two boys have a deal where they use mobiles to speak to their mates for nothing if their mates have the same deal with the same company.
    My mobile’s $1/minute but I have an hour for free each day in 20 minute blocks. At 11am Sundays I call/talk Dad for 20 minutes (he lives 1,100 kms away in Tassie); sometimes I hang up and dial again if we haven’t finished.
    I’m lead to believe communication costs in Oz are dearer than US or Europe but what I don’t know hardly affects me – Landline/ADSL/Mobile costs me about $120/month.

    I’d love a pollster to call me up but I only seem to get calls from Indians (from India LOL) trying to give me a new mobile if I sign up for new phone deals.

  24. There was some pollster that kept calling our house, offering money to take a poll or attend a focus group or something but I never did return their call.  Maybe I should have gone along with it, it just sounded really, really boring.

    I did one on cars a few years back, got paid $75 for a little over an hour’s worth of looking at stuff in a warehouse. 

    I think many do try to stick to a “regular” set of people.  I’ve had some try to wiggle me into focus groups when I didn’t quite qualify.

  25. Les,

    I believe in evolution.  I do not believe in the existence of a god that holds your hair back when you’re puking in the toilet.  I have creationist friends who respect my beliefs and in return I respect their beliefs, no matter how absurd they seem to me because I understand that I can never be 100% certain that my beliefs are true. 

    With that said, I find your berating of people that choose not to believe in evolution asinine and hypocritical.  Who is to say that we are somehow intellectually superior to others because of our belief in a particular theory –a theory that, admittedly, we will never be able to prove?  You bash creationists for acting the way you act now -as if your (and my) beliefs are infallible- and they simply are not.

  26. Who is to say that we are somehow intellectually superior to others because of our belief in a particular theory –a theory that, admittedly, we will never be able to prove?

    We’re calling a spade a spade. Our theory is backed by countless empirical studies; creationist explanations are based on ancient myths that have not scientifically stood the test of time. I also take issue with your claim that evolution can never be “proven.” It is not the domain of science to “prove” anything beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  27. Panzerr, you sound like you have a fair bit of empathy with your creatinist friends; sure you’re not doing a Pascal’s Wager job here? Are you sure you’re not leaning just a little too far into the Invisible Sky Chappie chasm of impossible and improbable delusions.

    True Believers™ talking to god remind me of when I speak, rarely out loud, to my mother who answers me EVERY time with the right voice and intonations and ALWAYS the correct advice – she’s been dead for over ten years.
    Of course, I know I’m slightly delusional in confessing this out loudly but I know I’m a little bit crazy and I admit it.

    Last week at the psychiatrist’s I mentioned that if I came to him saying I had an invisible friend who recorded everything I thought, said and did, talked to him endlessly with him responding, he, my psychiatrist, would have me in hospital quick-smart.
    But, if I said my invisible friend was GOD he’d smile and say that’s alright. In fact the psychotic delusion of believing and worshipping this invisible being is the only, I’ll repeat that, IS THE ONLY delusion supported by laws in most of the Western World including tax breaks.
    Now that, my friend, is FUCKING insane, don’t you think?

  28. Panzerr, it’s commendable you respect your friends. That is not the same as respecting someone’s belief.  Evolutionary theory is glued, screwed, and tattooed – it is in the same class as gravitational theory and germ theory and isn’t going anywhere. If someone chooses to believe an ancient legend instead, fine – all of us are a bit weird in some ways.  But people who insist on teaching creationism to children in public schools at public expense want to undermine the secular basis of our society.  To that, and to them, I owe no respect.

    Proof is a mathematical concept.  It has no place in science, which is an epistemology of explanatory theories.  Not all theories are created equal (pun intended).  Some are well-established, though scientists wrangle over the details.  Others are new, still teething so to speak. May or may not make it to adulthood.  String theory (which I do not pretend to grasp even in its fundamentals) is an example.

  29. Jane –Empirical evidence supports evolution and I don’t by any means refute it, I’m just saying that we could be wrong.  For all we know we are fish in a bowl in someone’s laboratory.

    John -if I were pulling a Pascal’s Wager I would have been baptized fourteen months ago when I first stepped foot in Iraq.  I’ve been faced with my own death and the death of my friends countless times since and I am yet to crawl off to the chapel looking for comfort and understanding of the chaotic world in the hands of a god.  I’ll admit, I’ve thought of approaching the Chaplain, but not for religious reasons.  I’ve thought of speaking with him because I, like many of my brothers, have developed “a touch of the PTSD” from the fucked up things I’ve seen.

    As much as I don’t believe in a god I won’t completely rule out the fact that it could, in some way be possible that a god of sorts exists.  I’m simply saying that I could be wrong.  The thing that sets me apart from most creationists I know is that I do reserve that fallibility. 

    In fact the psychotic delusion of believing and worshipping this invisible being is the only, I’ll repeat that, IS THE ONLY delusion supported by laws in most of the Western World including tax breaks. Now that, my friend, is FUCKING insane, don’t you think

    Insane, no.  Curious, yes.  What does that say about human beings?  That we are inherently weak?  That we need to think the world is a shiny, happy place where things happen for a reason?  The fact is religion is the crutch the masses lean on to keep them going day after day.  If that keeps the human race going, deluded as it may be, so be it until a alternative mind medication comes along.

    I’ve lived my life in search of absolute truths.  I’ve tried to be true to myself in all that I do.  Being human, this is difficult but I try.  And if there is one thing that I’ve learned it is that knowing the truth is not necessarily inherently good as one may be led to believe.

  30. if there is one thing that I’ve learned it is that knowing the truth is not necessarily inherently good as one may be led to believe.

    If you mean “some truths are rather unpleasant to know” you’re quite right.  As Garrison Keillor says, sometimes you have to “take the bull by the horns, look reality in the face, and deny it!wink

    Religious people often find the idea of “no god” rather frightening.  It comforts them to think someone’s holding their hair back while they puke in the toilet.  As a friend of mine once said; “people have their defenses because they need them.”

  31. This is a separate comment because it deserves separate mention:

    I’ve been faced with my own death and the death of my friends countless times since and I am yet to crawl off to the chapel looking for comfort and understanding of the chaotic world in the hands of a god.  I’ll admit, I’ve thought of approaching the Chaplain, but not for religious reasons.  I’ve thought of speaking with him because I, like many of my brothers, have developed “a touch of the PTSD” from the fucked up things I’ve seen.

    Aside from whatever else we’re discussing, I can’t imagine what it’s like there but I hope you return home safe, panzerr.

  32. “some truths are rather unpleasant to know”

    Yessir

    Religious people often find the idea of “no god” rather frightening.  It comforts them to think someone’s holding their hair back while they puke in the toilet.

    Absolutely.  Someone asked me once how I could go every day with the belief that there is no meaning to life and that when I die I will simply cease to exist.  Simple.  There are two things I lean on when the shit hits the fan and I find that I can’t suck it up alone:  friends and family.

  33. Panzerr writes…

    With that said, I find your berating of people that choose not to believe in evolution asinine and hypocritical.  Who is to say that we are somehow intellectually superior to others because of our belief in a particular theory –a theory that, admittedly, we will never be able to prove?  You bash creationists for acting the way you act now -as if your (and my) beliefs are infallible- and they simply are not.

    You’re quite correct that there’s no way to prove any theory 100% correct and it’s entirely possible I could be wrong on the existence of God(s), but the fact that we could be wrong doesn’t mean any opposing viewpoints are equally as valid. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong about the existence of Invisible Pink Unicorns that start wildfires with their horns, but until there’s damn good reason to believe in them then it’s an idiotic explanation to put forward when a wildfire breaks out. Expressing disbelief in something that is well established because it conflicts with your ideology is just plain old stupid. Things like the Flat Earthers, people who still insist that the world is flat despite all the evidence to the contrary, are willfully being idiots. 

    The difference between me and creationist is quite clear: My point of view has tons of scientific peer-reviewed evidence backing it up while the creationists have a really old book as evidence for their claims. They insist on ignoring all of the well documented evidence in support of Evolution. That makes them, in my view, idiots. There’s nothing asinine or hypocritical about it.

    As an aside, here’s hoping you return to us from Iraq in as good a shape as possible.

  34. I never got the agnostic view. I just don’t see how the argument that we will never know can work. It sounds good at first, but it lacks merit in a few ways. While it is true, that we don’t have all the answers to the creation of the universe, you can’t say we will never know what they are. That argument doesn’t work for anything but “god” (by god I mean a “god” that gives a rats ass). That is unless you wan to go with a possible Deistic view. I mean no disrespect, but I see it as a suspending of logic for a claim that has no basis. If it is possible there was a “god”. It is equally possible that J.R. “Bob” Dobbs was the best dill bit salesman ever and smokes “frop” to open his third nostrill.
    Anyhow, you take care of your boys, and may you not waste ammo on camels in a dust storm.

  35. I … have developed “a touch of the PTSD” from the fucked up things I’ve seen.

    I recognise the understatement … now.
    For too may years I was in that river in Egypt – in denial.
    Up until about ten even twenty years ago I woulda powered out of such feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, compartmentalising each and every memory and feeling.
    Now, of course, I’m much more willing and honest to confront my fears and demons.
    I know it’s a delicate balance in which you find yourself.
    On the one hand you’re mortal and in a war-zone even though it’s called an occupation. Big time shit is happening that no man should have to experience; the depths of fear and frustration is an abyss you’re thrown back into on waking if you were able to sleep.
    On the other hand there’s the desire to survive even though there’s a part of you saying you don’t have the right to survive; another is saying you won’t survive.
    This is the endless battle that takes place in every soldier’s mind: The F.E.A.R. (= Future Events Appearing Real) comes up against Survivors’ Guilt comes up against Please keep me safe till morning/another day/another month/till I get to the safety of home.
    And all the while you have a population at home and the rest of the world, who you don’t think supports you.
    Be assured they do support you, you the soldier. You’re every mother’s son; you’re every father’s boy. Honest people in the safety of their beds know this.
    Your real enemy are the cheats, liars, conmen and chest-beaters playing soldiers with real soldiers – most of the chickenhawks are in your government, your corporations, your media; they’re becoming filthy rich from the blood of your fallen comrades.
    Keep your head down Panzeer; don’t take unnecessary risks and eat your vegetables.

  36. I never got the agnostic view. I just don’t see how the argument that we will never know can work.

    I can see one way to make agnosticism work:

    Every sufficiently advanced being is indistinguishable from god.

    Not quite what Huxley had in mind, though.

  37. With that said, I find your berating of people that choose not to believe in evolution asinine and hypocritical.

    Emphasis added and right back at them.

    If you are intellectually challenged and can’t grasp the ToE, fine. Making a choice to reject it, asinine.

  38. Not to be a nitpicker…

    For instance if you decide you are going to poll 1 in every 10 houses (which is what an official government mini census does), a number between 2 and 0 is randomly (true random) produced, and all houses ending in that number polled (4, 14, 24 etc).

    A common misconception of statistics.  This is not a random sample for a survey.  It is a systematic sample. Systematic is not random because not everyone has an equal chance of being selected.  You only have an equal chance of being selected if you are part of every n’th group.

    A true random sample is where everyone has an equal chance of being selected.  Most common way of doing this is listing all those in the population in Excel.  Then take a random number generator and generate random numbers used for selections to make up your sample.  If you have 100 entries in Excel you might have the random number generator give you ten numbers between 1-100.  That gives you a sample of 10% of the pop truly random.

  39. This makes systematic sampling functionally similar to simple random sampling.

    Looks like a duck…

    Seriously, while the interval may be fixed, those sampled will indeed be random for all intents and purposes, because there is no way to predict what you will get. 

    What I actually met by ‘True Random’ is the way the 2-0 is produced not the sample- the number picked must be impossible to predict. Obviously the sample will have a pattern to it.  I believe the way that western governments produce random numbers is by a using a sample of cosmic radiation- the hit counts are used to generate the number.  It is actually difficult to produce a truely random number.  For a discussion about the difficulties with dice go here and watch the thread wander.

  40. And this can make you fall into Parisian rivers.

    I knew I’d get it if I let enough time pass – looking at it again this morning I asked my head’s resident know-it-all: WTF was the name of the river in Paris? And he switched the subject and asked if I was insane.
    Fuck ‘im.

  41. If I have a problem I let my mental tuning knob wander, and wait for a pattern from the static.  Also works for the creative stuff.  Walking is great for this.  It means I have to keep scribbling notes to my self though- and I’ve tried to get into the habit of carrying a note book, but I can’t acquire it.

  42. It means I have to keep scribbling notes to my self though- and I’ve tried to get into the habit of carrying a note book, but I can’t acquire it.

    I think I’d find it hard to walk and write.
    These days I just use the diary in the mobile.
    For the last ten plus years when I was working I had one of those small recorders – sometimes I’d leave messages for my self when I was stoned and when I got round to listening I wouldn’t have a clue what I was on about.
    It was especially good in the car – just drop some of the key words on tape and Voila! All ideas were recorded.
    I went on a fishing trip with three mates in ‘99 – every day they gave me a hundred or two and I paid for everything – every time I spent I recorded it. In the evening or next morning I’d do a reconciliation and we’d start again.
    It worked exceptionally well cos there was no need to remember who was gonna pay for the next round.

  43. No wuckers, mate. wink

    I wonder how many mysteries there are in the SEB archives.
    I know I’ve let more than a couple slip by.

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