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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 Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @03:43PM (#46249067)
    They are, if you think about it, poorly-chosen words. After all they both start with "astro" - meaning star. Then "ology" meaning study, versus "onomy" meaning naming of. Logically it might well be the other way around. On the other hand I agree with the conclusions. I'm an astronomer, but I notice that more and more of my colleagues are calling themselves astrophysicists rather than astronomers. They may simply be choosing what they think of as a higher-status term, or perhaps to avoid the confusion between astrology and astronomy, which (in my experience) is more common in the USA than in the UK.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:09PM (#46249399)

    People have actually looked at overall scientific literacy in the US, and it compares favorably to the EU (and the rest of the world):

    Jon Miller of Michigan State University reported the numbers at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, this afternoon, during a session on civic science literacy assessments around the world. The new U.S. rate, based on questionnaires administered in 2008, is seven percentage points behind Sweden, the only European nation to exceed the Americans. The U.S. figure is slightly higher than that for Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. And it’s double the 2005 rate in the United Kingdom (and the collective rate for the European Union). []

    Of course, it would be nice if scientific literacy were higher everywhere, including the US.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @04:30PM (#46249647) Journal

    The horoscope is simply a diagram of the position of the major planets, moon and Zodiac constellations, as such is quite scientific. Astrologers often make predictions of future events based on a person's birth horoscope and the current horoscope which is quite unscientific. Historically astronomers would cast horoscopes and do such saying for their rich patrons to fimance their scientific endeavors

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.