Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

“Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time. Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water. Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.”
— From a survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences in Feb. 2009.

The first two were easy, approximately 365 days and no, humans and dinosaurs did not co-exist, but on the water question, I guessed 3/5’s of the Earth was covered in water; the true amount is about 75 percent.

What’s scary is that 47% of American adults don’t know what constitutes a year, and 41% think Fred Flintstone is based on reality – and these people are allowed to vote.


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Reeshof Tandarts
13 years ago

Hey thanks for yet another funny and good post. Where do you get your inspiration for all this :|? – Tandarts

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

Joyce Lovelace
Joyce Lovelace
13 years ago

I always wonder about the efficacy of these surveys. Is it fair to say that if the 1000 people who answered their land-line phone and agreed to take the quiz scored this way, that it is representative of the population? And what population? US adults, California adults? World?.
I’m assuming the sun question is a slip of the mind where most people said a day instead of a year. Some guy calls you on the phone and you say the first thing that comes to mind without really thinking.
And what were the parameters for the water question? How wrong were people? I don’t think 3/5ths is a disturbingly wrong answer, but it’s wrong. (The acceptable answer was anything between 65 and 75%)
This survey which I am sure is being used to encourage investment in science education (not a bad thing) is not that important, but we are always being bombarded with statistics with no way to really analyze them.

RS Janes
13 years ago

Good point, Joyce. I don’t know how this survey was conducted. But just from personal experience, and from talking to teachers I know, most high shcool students, for example, are very poor at answering history and geography questions correctly, and not much better at simple scientific questions. Examples: In what century did the American Civil War occur (19th); on what continent is Vietnam located (Asia); what is the freezing point of water (32F or 0C). One teacher told me most of the kids in his Junior class couldn’t answer all three correctly, and nearly half didn’t even get one right.

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