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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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  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by nobuddy ( 952985 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @07:42PM (#46819219) Homepage Journal

    Not implying. There are a lot of willfully ignorant people that prefer their religion's tale of a 10,000 year old universe to cosmology, geology, astrophysics, and biology. but they really should be a tiny minority on par with other mental illnesses. Sadly, this affliction is rampant in the USA. Happily, it is a dwindling number, and perhaps will soon be eradicated.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:22PM (#46819413) Journal

    If a model conflicts with observation, the model either must be dropped or modified.

    That's a little too simplistic. Often, when a model conflicts with observation, the first thing that is questioned is the observation. Is the observation accurate? Is it repeatable? Is the observation made without observer bias (intentional or otherwise)?

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:28AM (#46820701)

    The Current Science that we have, with the technology and Anthropology we have, rules out the possibility of the Christian religion having any basis in reality. It doesn't rule out the possibility a god exists. It only means that the current dominant Abrahamic religions are not realistic descriptions of the universe we live in.

    Which science is that then? Is it the science that claims we live in a multiverse where there are infinite universes where every possibility happens? Is it the science that claims our universe is a hologram? Is it the science that claims we popped into existence through a fluctuation in quantum probability? Is it the science that claims to explain what the universe is and how it came about, except that it doesn't know what the dark matter and dark energy are that constitute the overwhelming majority of it ... assuming it exists at all and the explanation isn't actually a modified theory of gravity like TeVeS or some such? Is it the science that claimed that the coelacanth was dead for 66 million years .... until one was caught in 1938? Is it the science that claimed the city of Troy didn't exist ... until it was found? Is that the science that said that the Antikythera Mechanism shouldn't exist? Is it the science that claimed that the walls of Jericho falling outward was a myth ... until it was proven? Is it the science that claimed it was impossible that the Bible was transmitted accurately through the centuries.... until the Dead Sea scrolls and other document fragments were found to prove that it had been?

    Perhaps you should prepare yourself for further "refinement" in the understanding of science on various matters?

    But these religions justify how we treat other people, why certain social groups are stigmatized, and have a heavy impact on who are leaders are, what our laws are, how we raise our children, and the legitimacy of the standing governments. If the Religions aren't true, then there is no justification for the political positions of MANY people in the US Government.

    Shall we contrast Marxism or Marxist-Leninism which has been claimed to be a "science" by countless millions over the last century, and which has been the governing philosophy for a large percentage of the earth's population into the 1990s (and still governs China and three lesser nations) with the Bible? Marxist principles [youtube.com] (14:16-23:16) call for the destruction of the class enemy in the revolutionary struggle, and the destruction of primitive societies that were too far behind to catch up with the revolutionary struggle which at the time would have included groups such as the Serbs, Bretons, Basques, and Scottish Highlanders. The National Socialists, another set of socialists inspired by Marx, exterminated the "unfit," the deformed, gays, Jews, and many others.

    Should we branch off into the Progressives and their ideas about eugenics?

    And what of the Bible?

    One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” -- Mark 12:28-31 [biblehub.com]

    Your views seem very questionable on both the science and the question of religion.

  • Re:Shocking... (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:15AM (#46821387)

    Unfortunately for you, everything you've said is a lie. The other planets are *not* warming. The sun's output has actually *decreased* over recent decades. Those who accept (not advocate) the current scientific understanding of global warming understand these things and there is nothing to account for since your statements are demonstrably false.

    If you can't even bother to acquaint yourself with the most basic observed facts on the topic why do you bother to comment on it? You're an idiot, and a liar.

  • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:31AM (#46822005) Homepage Journal

    >The Current Science that we have, with the technology and Anthropology we have, rules out the possibility of the Christian religion having any basis in reality.

    What the fuck?

    No. Not in the slightest.

    You can certainly argue against literal interpretations of Genesis, but most Christians do not and have not believed in a literal interpretation. Biblical literalism is a very modern phenomenon, dating to the start of the Fundamentalist movement with the publication of The Fundamentals in 1910.

    1910 AD. Not BC.

    Only someone with no understanding of either science methodology or history would make the claim that you did.

  • by butalearner ( 1235200 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:48AM (#46823351)

    So why poll the general public about this question when most the general public really only knows what they were told to recite in school or what they saw on Nova?

    It doesn't matter to some people: whether my ancestors evolved from the same creatures as apes did or a fluffy pink unicorn farted them into existence doesn't affect their day-to-day activities (with the possible exception of the occasional worship of said fluffy pink unicorn). Unfortunately, though, it does affect who people elect to represent them, and it does affect how they lead us. The results of this survey imply that, for the foreseeable future, we are going to keep getting into situations where elected officials try to do things like inject non-science into science classes when the science conflicts with their religious beliefs, and shape public policy in ways that conform to their particular religion. And the numbers show we still have a long way to go to fix that.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.