Friday, January 30, 2015

Poll confirms that Americans are idiots

Here's the Raw Story. Jebus, it's embarrassing as hell! My fellow Americans are complete idiots about science, apparently.

Here's the poll itself. Note that it actually minimizes the disconnect between the scientific consensus and ignorant laymen, since it polls generic "scientists," instead of scientists within their own field of expertise (which is where a consensus is properly determined).


jeff725 said...

A few random thoughts:

I didn't need a poll to tell me Americans are idiots. I work with them every day.

I've been working factory jobs my whole adult life. Although I've understood they're intellectual wastelands, it seems to have gotten worse in recent years. Case in point; a guy I paint with is in his 70s, he's from Kentucky, and he's as dumb as a board. You read that right, he's still working in his 70s. Did too many drugs back in the 1960s (by his own admission) so he probably needs the money because of not enough Social Security or pension accumulated (I'm guessing). BTW, he's also a "born again" and he's a conspiracy theorist (did I mention he's dumb as a board?).

Next take: As far as down-playing evolution and global warming, as someone remarked, 'in the world of Faux "news," EVERYTHING is opinion, therefore, subject to debate.'

Last take: A YouTube I stumbled upon a couple of years ago. Interesting takes from a street hustler, a British intellectual giving a TED Talk, and, of course, George Carlin's last and GREATEST rant.

WCG said...

Oh, cynical, cynical, cynical, Jeff. :)

In that video, Carlin says that "no one seems to notice; no one seems to care." But he's saying it in front of a large audience which cheers at everything he says.

Much of the argument is true, but what you fail to recognize, I think, is not just that it's always been this way, but that it's actually been getting better. It might be a "two steps forward, one step back" sort of thing, but we do progress.

Compare the America of today with the America of a hundred years ago - heck, of fifty years ago. Worldwide, we've probably seen an even bigger advance. Economically, there are ups and downs, sure. But just because income and wealth inequality has been increasing, it doesn't mean that will continue forever.

There are a lot of ignorant people in America, and there always have been. But there are a lot of intelligent, rational, well-educated people, too. And there are a lot of those people in the rest of the world, as well - and the Internet has brought most of us (not China, unfortunately) closer together.

I sympathize with your work situation, because I don't think I ever worked with someone who shared my interests - certainly not my political and intellectual interests.

But thanks to the Internet, I do know people now who share my interests - lots of them. I'm friends with just a few. The Internet, after all, is an anonymous kind of place. But not always. And no matter what your interests, you can find people who share them.

And you can work with people online to advance your views, whatever they are. Sure, that might make everything opinion, as you say. The irrational, the hate-mongers, the faith-based,... everyone else can use the Internet, too. But a marketplace of ideas is certainly better than being fed pablum from just one source.

There are reasons to be cynical. There are reasons to be pessimistic. But I think there are more reasons to be optimistic. And optimism is far more likely to get us to actually do something. Cynicism is a good excuse to do nothing, which is why we often see the enemies of progress pushing it.

Cheer up, Jeff. I get as disgusted as you do, but we are far from alone. Look at the videos I post. By and large, those people are on our side.