Fun_People Archive
19 Jan
Ignorance & Politics

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 95 19:08:30 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Ignorance & Politics

Forwarded-by: (Henry Cate)

Thomas Jefferson's admonition:
	"A people who expect to be ignorant and free
	 expect what never will, and never can, be."


We had a primary here a few weeks ago.  Herbert Connolly, a candidate
for reelection to the Governor's Council (a largely ceremonial body
dating from the 1600s) lost by one vote, to Robert B. ("No relation")
Kennedy, 14,716 to 14,715.

Now it turns out that Connolly was so busy campainging that he neglected
to go and vote for himself.  Who says your vote doesn't count?


From: the Associated Press, October 24, 1988:

More than 450 years after Copernicus proved the Earth revolves around
the sun, millions of adult Americans seem to think it is the other way
around, a researcher said yesterday.

"It's a fairly dire situation," said Jon Miller, director of the
Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University, who
conducted a nationwide survey for the National Science Foundation.

"The results show that on very basic ideas, vast numbers of Americans
are scientifically illiterate," he said.

In the telephone survey of 2,014 adults 18 or older, conducted in
July, people were asked 75 questions testing their knowledge of basic
science, Miller said.  The survey had a margin of error of plus or
minus 3 percentage points.

Asked whether the Earth goes around the sun or the sun around the
Earth, 21 percent replied incorrectly.  Seven percent said they did
not know.

Of the 72 percent who answered correctly, 45 percent said it takes one
year for the Earth to orbit the sun, 17 percent said one day, 2
percent said one month and 9 percent weren't sure.

The responses indicate that 55 percent of adult Americans, or 94
million people, do not know that the Earth revolves around the sun
once a year, Miller said.

In an election year, in which candidates are talking about issues
such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, acid rain, the greenhouse
effect and the space race, the survey results indicate many Americans
have little idea of what the candidates are talking about, Miller said.


Actually, my friend J. T. Delaney told me that one night his granddaughter
was watching "The Newlywed Game" and the question arose:

"Now ladies, in *your* neighborhood, does the sun rise in the east, or in the

The all answered that the sun rose in the west, except one lady who just *knew*
her husband would answer incorrectly, so she said east!

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []