90% of Americans Value Scientific Research, but Only 74% Know that the Earth Revolves Around the Sun

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
(AP graphic)

Science represents an important and worthwhile part of U.S. society, according to the vast majority of Americans polled in a new survey.


But some of the respondents could use a refresher course on important scientific facts.


The survey, involving 2,200 people and conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found more than 90% think scientists are “helping to solve challenging problems” and are “dedicated people who work for the good of humanity.”


A third of those surveyed would like to see science and technology research get additional funding. Ninety percent said they believed the benefits of such research outweigh any potential dangers.


The NSF also asked Americans nine questions to test their knowledge about the physical and biological sciences.


The average score was only 6.5 correct answers.


Just over 25% of respondents didn’t know the Earth revolved around the sun.


More than half (52%) didn’t know human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Survey: Americans Struggle with Science; Respect Scientists (Michigan State University)

America — But Not Americans — Leads World in Science (Slashdot)

U.S. Elementary Students Trail in Math and Science on World Academic Stage (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


adam 10 years ago
dear anonamouse, everything in your screed is wrong. the sun does not mutually orbit the earth. technically, what is going on is that the earth, sun and all the planets are orbiting around the center of mass of the solar system. The center of mass of our solar system is very close to the sun itself, but not exactly at the sun's center (it is actually a little bit outside the radius of the sun). the sun never revolves around the earth. ever. you obviously don't know what a scientific theory is, you have described an hypothesis, the equivalent of a guess. natural selection is the best and most tested explanation presented to explain the vast array of lifeforms the we observe in nature. in fact, genetic evolution has been proven in a recent muti-year ecoli lab test. believing something is true based on huge amounts of evidence that can be checked by anyone inclined to learn enough about the subject to evaluate said evidence is NOT faith. "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (kjv) that is the exact OPPOSITE of science. you might like the ideas put forth by the templeton foundation people, but you'll learn more watching a few lectures by lawrence krauss, the 2 sean carrolls (biologist and physicist) and richard dawkins (his biology lectures, devoid of delusion bashing).
Atheismouse 10 years ago
I would rather believe in scientific research and their theories than biblical hogwash and heresies perpetrated by thousands of religious fanatics who have nothing else to do than screw the masses into idiotic beliefs.
anonamouse 10 years ago
"Know" is too strong a word. "Believe" would be more accurate. Because, of course, the Earth does not revolve around the Sun --- scientifically speaking, the pair revolve around each other. Neither do we "know" that humans evolved from lower animals; evolution remains a theory, albeit a convincing one for those people who don't believe the Bible is inerrant or for those people who believe humans were engineered by extraterrestrials. Point being, science has become a sort of revealed religion; it is for most of us a belief in a consensus explanation we do not personally understand. What science has truly shown us is that we don't really "know" anything, that knowledge is intrinsically provisional, mutable and relativistic. But people need certitude to function, even the non-religious, which is why science has become a form of faith.

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