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United States Science

Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science 625

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Americans have always had a strange fascination with astrology. First Lady Nancy Reagan famously employed the services of an astrologer after the assassination attempt on her husband. Now UPI reports that according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either 'very' or 'sort of' scientific. Younger respondents, in particular, were the least likely to regard astrology as unscientific, with 58% of 18 to 24 years olds saying that astrology is scientific (PDF). What's most alarming is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk. Among respondents in the 25 — 44 age group 49% of respondents in the 2012 survey said astrology is either 'very scientific' or 'sort of scientific,' up from 36% in 2010. So what's behind this data? The lead author of the report chapter in question, public opinion specialist John Besley of Michigan State University, cautions that we should probably wait for further data 'to see if it's a real change' before speculating. But, he admits, the apparent increase in astrology belief 'popped out to me when I saw it.'"
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Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

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  • Re:More likely (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:08AM (#46228017)

    I'll second that. They are most likely mixing up the two words.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:27AM (#46228173) Homepage Journal

    Majority of young Americans think health care is something only old people need.

  • Re:More likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MiniMike ( 234881 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:34AM (#46228245)

    most young people not having a clue and assuming astrology = astronomy.

    I find this only slightly less depressing.

  • Re:More likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhagwad ( 1426855 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:53AM (#46228447) Homepage

    Unlikely. Most probably people are more and more depressed over the random nature the world and all the crap that can happen to them. Since astrology provides a nice safe structure to explain shit, it must be very comforting to believe in something...anything! Probably explains why people are still religious.

  • Re: More likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:53AM (#46228449)

    Do you have a reference for that explanation?

    I have a hard time believing that deGrasse Tyson doesn't recognize astronomy and astrophysics as distinct disciplines. I certainly would believe that he prefers astrophysics to be called astrophysics, but there's plenty of astronomy outside of that. (Notably, amateur astronomy is not at all astrophysics.)

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @10:54AM (#46228463) Homepage

    A majority of young adults are dumb as a box of rocks. and it's not their fault. It's that they had horrible parents that did not teach them anything and went to public school.

    Education in the United states is a complete and utter joke. As an adult that went through that system and had to have my father scream at teachers and administrators to do their frigging job, and myself had to do the same thing until I simply pulled my child from the worthless public school system and sent her to private school at great personal expense, I know how worthless it is. They teach to the common moron and we cant leave the dumb kids behind. Oh and we cant dare insult someone , little timmy loves the spegetti monster as his lord and savoir, we cant upset his family teaching that the world was not created in 3 days and is only 400 years old...

    Americans are poorly educated, and it has became so bad that todays young adults are less educated than the ones just one generation before because of being PC and how education is the bottom of the barrel budget wise.

  • That's because.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DiscountBorg(TM) ( 1262102 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:41AM (#46228871)

    The Right tends to be more of a certain Christian belief that has a deep seated fear of 'new agey', 'spiritistic', 'occult' etc practices, whereas the left has the Christians who don't care about that kind of stuff, and the secularists who are every bit as irrational.

    I've noticed this trend too, having grown up amongst fundies then moving to the big city as I got older. You find pseudoscience everywhere.

    My experience on the religious Right: Yoga, Meditation and Astrology open your mind to Satan. Pray to God, son.
    My experience on the Left: Lengthy discussions of star signs, after laughing at those damn fool fundamentalists.

  • Re:More likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @12:00PM (#46229079)
    I read the .pdf, and I have this to say about it:

    I simply don't trust surveys that don't publish the exact questions they used.

    The wording, and how the questions are presented, are extremely important to the results. Most surveys are woefully unreliable anyway. But when you throw in the fact that you don't even know the actual questions asked, you might as well throw it away.

    I don't give a damn if it was the National Science Foundation that conducted the survey, or the National Creationism Organization. List your questions when reporting your results, or don't bother me at all.
  • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @12:19PM (#46229281)

    The majority of (all) Americans think health care is the same thing as health insurance.

  • by ninjagin ( 631183 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @12:39PM (#46229463)

    What you have identified as "political correctness riding a democratic ass" is a lot older than you assume, but it is, in fact democratic... old school. It's old name, back in the times of the Greeks and the Romans, was "decorum". It means "fit" in latin, having the meaning of "suitable". It's part of good rhetoric, as a device that brings an audience closer to you by not being rude or offensive. To flip that around the other way, you can include (or show that you welcome) a person or group of people in your reasoning or community by choosing your words carefully.

    I think you may be conflating decorum with inappropriate recognition for achievement, but the two are separate things. The former is meant to show or develop alignment with shared goals or interests, and the other is meant (with good intent, perhaps, though with questionable results) to boost self-esteem.

    I choose to observe rules of decorum (the people around you actually decide what they are) because I want to work more effectively with people around me and to perhaps have an easier time convincing those people to do things that I see as beneficial. By not declaring that the people around me are my hated opposition or labeling them in ways that might confine their ways of thinking to those that oppose my views, I keep them open to my persuasion.

    Since I share your goal of not perpetuating inappropriate recognition of achievement, I'm happy to let you know that I was utterly unconvinced by your point of view and there is little chance that you will ever persuade me. I encourage you to keep floundering away in your rhetoric until everyone around us is as convinced as I am.

  • by Pseudonym Authority ( 1591027 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:01PM (#46229705)
    The boomers are a pretty good place. They are an incredibly selfish, entitled, and overall shitty generation that grew up with unprecedented prosperity provided by their parents and decided that that was somehow their own work. The US will not advance until these people have died off, or at least gotten so senile that they stop voting.
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @02:23PM (#46230501) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps the problem is that a lot of young Americans don't know the difference between astronomy and astrology?

    Looking at your post it seems they're not alone.

  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @03:50PM (#46231471)

    Haha, very true. I'm a recent migrant to the US, having previously lived in a country with a universal single-payer system. One of my first challenges when I started work here was understanding my insurance options ... open enrollment, deductibles, co-pays, in-network vs. out of network etc. All this new terminology was really quite overwhelming given that I'd never had to ~think~ about healthcare AT ALL before in my life. I was used to turning up to any old doctor/clinic I could find, getting treated, swiping my healthcare card on the way out and ... leaving. Money barely came into it. But here - so many choices, so many restrictions. It's a minefield.

    A lot of people I talk to here really can't wrap their mind around healthcare in a world where it isn't tied up intimately with the insurance industry. They also can't seem to understand that universal healthcare does not mean the government is somehow controlling your treatment. In my old country, doctors/clinics/some hospitals were regular, private businesses, just like in the US. If I didn't like one, I could go to another. The only difference is the government pays most or all of the bill at the end. Government-PAID healthcare does not always mean government-RUN healthcare...

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur