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By An Objectivist Individualist (Reporter)
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What Do Americans Know about Science and Technology?

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The National Science Foundation makes a semi-annual survey of what Americans know about science and technology.  The 2018 assessment gives the results of surveys made in 2016 and shows that when given statements to be answered true or false:

  • 52% agreed that humans evolved from other species of animals, though 72% agreed that the altered statement that the theory of evolution held that humans evolved from other species of animals was true.  Apparently, 20% preferred their religious beliefs.
  • 39% agreed that the universe began with a big explosion.  When that statement was altered to say that astronomers believe the universe began with a big explosion, 60% agreed that astronomers did believe that.  The 21% difference here is again mostly a preference for a religious belief.
  • 48% agreed that electrons are smaller than atoms.
  • 45% disagreed that lasers work by focusing sound waves.
  • 51% disagreed that antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
So about one out of five Americans disagrees with science when it comes in conflict with their religious belief on the questions of the origins of human life and of the universe.
If you randomly guess on a true or false question, you should be right 50% of the time.  Now consider the statement “Electrons are smaller than atoms.”  Surely a few percent of Americans actually know the answer to that true/false question.  If only 48% of Americans answered the question correctly, then those who did not know the answer had an actual preference for the belief that atoms are smaller than electrons.  Where did they get that preference?  One is driven to make similar observations about how lasers work and what antibiotics kill.
Given that Americans know so little about science and some choose to disregard it, is it any wonder at all that they are easily frightened into believing that government must act as their savior because of myriad scary alarms that the media, injury lawyers, environmentalists, so-called green energy enthusiasts, and catastrophic man-made global fryers special interest groups conjure up?
Because governments are always seeking more powers and more control over their populace, is it any wonder that government schools do such a poor job in educating Americans in science and technology?  To be sure, government schools do an awful job in educating Americans in history and economics also.  Mathematics and writing skills are also poorly taught.
About the only issue that government schools are thorough in teaching is that the people are incapable of choosing their own values and managing their own lives and must turn to government to care for them.  That is such a self-defeating and depressing claim that it causes no end of harm to the American people.


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