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United States Science

The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science 600

An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. general population is often the butt of jokes with regard to their understanding of science. A survey by the Associated Press now shows just how arbitrary and erratic the public's dissent can be. 'The good news is that more than 80 percent of those surveyed are strongly confident that smoking causes cancer; only four percent doubt it. Roughly 70 percent accepted that we have a genome and that mental illness is seated in the brain; about 20 percent were uncertain on these subjects, and the doubters were few. But things go downhill from there. Only about half of the people accepted that vaccines are safe and effective, with 15 percent doubting. And that's one of the controversial topics where the public did well. As for humanity's role in climate change, 33 percent accepted, 28 percent were unsure, and 37 percent fell in the doubter category. For a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth and a 13.8-billion-year-old Big Bang, acceptance was below 30 percent. Fully half of the public doubted the Big Bang (PDF).'"
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

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  • by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @07:49PM (#46819253)
    Put yourself in the shoes of the AP. All of those sciencey things are the same, because they're science. Anything more than 0% dissent is too much.
  • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <> on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:48PM (#46819809)

    My 0.02c. Not intending to start any debates, just stating my opinions.

    Climate change; humans have been stripping forests, burning coal and oil & turning existing eco-systems into single crop farms. Of course we're having an effect.

    Vaccines; Much better than the alternatives, even if *all* of the scare stories are accurate. Though I doubt large numbers of negative results would be hidden by all of the worlds varied medical systems. They don't all have the same blindness to Big Pharma's influence.

    Age of the earth; Personally I think a global flood story fits the geology better than reliance on gradual processes. Perhaps triggered by a huge asteroid bombardment that hit the entire solar system (my fathers pet theory that he has been researching and may write a book on). Most of the geological record is made of very clean flat sedimentary layers with no signs of habitation or erosion. I believe the Fossil record was mostly sorted by water, sinking based on size or density not age or biological complexity. All those dinosaurs died out quite quickly after the climate changed or humans decided to hunt them. I have yet to see any evidence that compels me to believe that evolutionary processes can create new cellular machines. Yet animals change in various ways and adapt to external selection pressures quite rapidly. Most evidence of adaptation seems to be achieved though tweaking the parameters of existing features, or the destruction of existing cellular machinery.

    TLDR; I'm not ignorant of the common scientific theories, the data they are based on and how they are derived or tested. I choose to believe that there is a better interpretation, based on data and ideas that are wilfully ignored.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @10:59PM (#46820091)

    I think the KJV has some distinct advantages. For instance:

    1. It's written in Shakespearian-era English, which has been proved to be about twenty percent cooler and over seventy percent more epic than modern english.

    2. Some of the edits were—pardon the expression—simply divine. "I have become a brother to jackals"? Weak. "I am a brother to dragons"? Loving it. Somebody deserved a bonus for that gem.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.