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United States Science

NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology Is Scientific 326

RichDiesal writes "A new report (PDF) from the National Science Foundation, which we discussed a few days ago, states that roughly 40% of Americans believe astrology to be scientific. This turns out to be false; most of those apparently astrology-loving Americans have actually confused astrology with astronomy. In a 100-person Mechanical Turk study with a $5 research budget, I tested this by actually asking people to define astrology. Among those that correctly defined astrology, only 10% believe it to be scientific; among those that confused astrology for astronomy, 92% believe 'astrology' to be scientific."
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NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology Is Scientific

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  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @03:44PM (#46249073)

    So instead of 40% of Americans having a poor concept of science, it looks like 40% of Americans have a poor concept of English. Is that any better?

    In terms of measuring the level of acceptance of pseudoscience, yes, it would be a favorable adjustment to make. But it's perfectly OK with me if you want to change the subject and rant about (lack of) English skills in the general population.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @03:50PM (#46249155) Journal

    Adam Corrolla and Jimmy Kimmel (and many, many other pranksters) have proven that people really don't know the language, but will gladly treat a misconception with confidence when given just a little nudge.

  • Re:Go back .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @03:51PM (#46249163)

    So instead of being scientifically illiterate, USians are just vanilla illiterate?

    This $5 study does NOT support that conclusion since the overwhelming majority of Mechanical Turkers are NOT Americans.

    Although there there plenty of stupid Americans, America does not have a monopoly on stupidity. There's plenty of competition from the rest of the world.

  • by smartr ( 1035324 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:00PM (#46249273)
    I imagine most just don't know what "Astrology" means off the tops of their head, and they probably think it's some scientific term for astronomy... "Horoscope" is probably a more familiar term. Furthermore, if you asked someone if "Scientology" was science based, if the interviewee doesn't know what Scientology is, they would probably say it was science based... Entomology, Arthropodology, Herpetology, Aerobiology, Virology, Phytopathology, Psychobiology, Ethology, Kinesiology, Neuroendocrinology, Psychophysiology... what?
  • by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:11PM (#46249419)
    40% of Americans don't care enough about astrology or astronomy to learn the difference.

    That is probably most accurate.
  • Re:Go back .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @06:28PM (#46250809)
    Words are used to express concepts and convey information. The name of the country is the "The United States of America". If any other country used the word "America" in its name you might have something approaching a valid point. As it is now there is zero confusion over the term and in the exceptionally rare cases you might want to refer to all of the people of the Americas it is quite easy to unambiguously do so (see, I just did it?). The term "USians" is used by pseudo-intellectual jerkoffs like you with some sort of bizarre chip on their shoulder and no intellectual capacity to express it so you revert to temper tantrums on the internet to avoid feeling totally impotent.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.