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Parents Baffled By Science Questions

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-get-smart-with-me dept.

Education 656

Pickens writes "The BBC reports that four out of five parents living in the UK have been stumped by a science question posed by their children with the top three most-asked questions: 'Where do babies come from?', 'What makes a rainbow?' and 'Why is the sky blue?'. The survey was carried out to mark the launch of a new website by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills called Science: So what? So everything."

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hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047771)

fail

Pardon? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047777)

Is the question "Where do babies come from?" really a science question?

Re:Pardon? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047821)

Is the question "Where do babies come from?" really a science question?

Ever heard of biology, you fuck? The average person is an idiot, this study just shows a sign of it, your post just offers further proof. Have a nice day!

Re:Pardon? (5, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047955)

A child asking "Where do babies come from" isn't "Daddy, explain to me what biological processes occur when a man ejaculates in a woman's vagina while she's ovulating." It's the physical "where do babies come from?" i.e. Are they brought by a stork? Are they bought at a store? Is there biology involved anywhere in the process regarding baby making? etc.

So no, "where do babies come from" is NOT a science question when asked by a child.

The question that the child would ask if he wanted to know the biology would be something like "how do babies grow in mommy's tummy?"

Re:Pardon? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048123)

However, surely parents should have a certain amount of... familiarity with the answer to, "where do babies come from?"

Re:Pardon? (5, Funny)

rachit (163465) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048219)

However, surely parents should have a certain amount of... familiarity with the answer to, "where do babies come from?"

Huh? Why would they? Its not like they get to chat with the stork when the baby is dropped off.

Re:Pardon? (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048215)

And yet, you can give a scientifically correct answer omitting unnecessary details:

Daddy gave mommy a baby-seed that growed in her tummy until the baby was ready to be born.

The trick is to explain things on a level kids can understand.

I can also warmly recommend the TV-series Once Upon a Time... Life [wikipedia.org] , which is biologically very correct yet entertaining to watch.

Re:Pardon? (5, Funny)

Quasimodem (719423) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048323)

When I asked my mother where I came from, she said, "Cleveland."

Re:Pardon? (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047857)

Is the question "Where do babies come from?" really a science question?

Yes. Geography to be specific. Croydon to be precise.

Re:Pardon? (5, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048043)

Geography to be specific. Croydon to be precise.

Alternatively:

Genealogy. The milkman to be precise.

Re:Pardon? (5, Funny)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048063)

how is babby formed?
how girl get pragnent?

Re:Pardon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048155)

Sounds like a english exam question in middle school to me.

You're excused (4, Interesting)

AdetheRare (1538769) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047883)

A friend of mine is actually the first test tube baby born in the UK. "Your dad's a turkey baster" kinda demands more of an explaination

Re:You're excused (2, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047903)

According to this article [bbc.co.uk] she is 31 years old now. Can you congratulate her from me? ;)

Re:You're excused (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048283)

Sometimes you people just creep me out :)

Re:You're excused (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048009)

Her dad is not a turkey baster. Her dad is a wanker.

Re:Pardon? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047917)

Regardless of how you categorize it, if a parent can't answer to a child where babies come from it's not for lack of knowledge.

obvious answers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047783)

In the UK?!

Why, I'll bet we Americans could get stumped even easier!! take that, britian!

People definitely neglect science... (4, Insightful)

JordanL (886154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047791)

I always was interested in science, and when I was younger, it drove me to learn things on my own. While I was in high school, I substituted for a teacher a few times...

But I was always amazed at how some people were so baffled by the simplest things that are very easy to learn about.

The everyday person needs to know more science. Unfortunately, many people who do know a lot of science act religious. They treat people who don't know it as inferior, and I believe that turns a lot of people away from learning about it. Not because they think science is less valid, but in a sense, because they don't want to be like the jackass that just got done making them feel worthless.

Honestly... I think people who know a lot of science are probably the biggest problem with science education.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047873)

FTSummary:

Where do babies come from?

From the sixties:

Some parents asked their son, "What do you want for Christmas?"

He said, "I want a watch."

So they let him.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047887)

How did we learn about things before google?

Re:People definitely neglect science... (5, Interesting)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047983)

When I was young I had a book called "Weet je waarom ... ?" ("Do you why ... ?") which contained funny and informative answers to general questions. From silly kid questions to just generally how the world works. Beats google every time for kids, everyone should have one of these [google.com] in their house and look up stuff with their kids for fun.

Results by Ethnic Group (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048263)

Is there a breakdown of parental statistics according to ethnic group in Great Britain?

In the USA, African-American parents tend to know substantially less (about science and mathematics) than parents of either European ancestry or Asian ancestry. Not surprisingly, the average IQ of African-Americans is about 20 points less than the average IQ of Asian-Americans or European-Americans.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (5, Interesting)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047931)

The question is, how many are baffled, and how many just don't care to learn it? Learning for the sake of learning doesn't seem to be popular anymore, people squeeze by with the bare minimum they can cram into their skulls so there's more space left over for American Idol, Reality TV and celebrity gossip. At least that is what I see here, I can't think of any reason it would be any different in the UK.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047967)

Please describe a point in history where it was ever popular...seriously, there will always be a distribution of intelligence, quit bitching that you're on the higher end of it.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047999)

Renaissance?

Re:People definitely neglect science... (4, Interesting)

ldrydenb (1316047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047977)

In "The Demon Haunted World", Carl Sagan recalls a taxi driver who professed to be very interested in science ... then asked Sagan about flying saucers, Atlantis, etc.

Sagan describes his sadness at having to tell the guy that so many of his interests are "baloney" ... and his anger at an educational system that didn't equip the guy with the knowledge to distinguish science from pseudo-science.

A couple of decades later, school science teaching still seems to be less about critical thinking and more about absorbing facts handed down from on high. I imagine that most science *teachers* wish it were otherwise, but are bound by the curriculum.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (5, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048015)

I was extremely lucky. My science teacher was a research scientist who quit researching for the specific purpose of "teaching correctly". It didn't matter what the cirriculum was, she forced you to reason your way to answers.

I realized just how effective this was in my Freshman biology class when the student next to me, who was someone you'd probably refer to as a "typical black teen male" turned to me and said, "Man... you can't avoid learning in this class... yesterday I was makin' myself a sandwich and when I pulled the mayonase out I started thinking about what an immulsion was..."

But teaching at that level is absolutely exhausting... the trick, I've learned, is to show people that things follow a logical path. People, especially young people, just wait until someone tells them what happens next. Often they don't even attempt to figure out on their own what happens next. Really good science teachers challenge you to do that first. Everything else follows.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048279)

A bad teacher will give you answers. A regular teacher will pose you questions and give you answers. A good teacher gives you questions and the stuff you need to find the answer, but not the answer. A great teacher will ask you stupid questions like they were real questions, with the intent of making you think about what the answer is regardless of it being a smart or a stupid question.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048285)

"emulsion" - I know, I know.. language studies aren't science ;\

Re:People definitely neglect science... (5, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048325)

I will give you the gift of science but curse you with such poor spelling nobody will pay any attention to what you say because they are too incandescent with rage. *evil laughter*

Disagree (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047993)

Honestly... I think people who know a lot of science are probably the biggest problem with science education.

The problem is not that science people are arrogant, the problem is that they come way too late in education (to properly explain the science method) at a point where all people did for the previous year was swallow factoid and regurgitate them (lower school science lesson is usually just that), and combined with the fact science is seen as nerdy/geeky and thus only for contempt. Later those same people which admire jocks and despite nerd become parents and are baffled by science question.Add to that the fact that science is sometimes seen as attacking/going against their own religious belief (in reality science as a method do not care for religion (except social science) what cannot be falsified is ignored)...

Re:Disagree (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048055)

Oh my, where are modpoints when you need them?

Re:Disagree (2, Funny)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048157)

They are used up on the last story, about Googles GFS, making every lame comment funny/

Re:People definitely neglect science... (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047997)

One could make the argument that people who don't know any basic science ARE inferior. Yeah, sure, no one needs to know about electron orbitals and wave particle duality in their daily life. But people that believe that perpetual motion is completely legitimate and is being covered up by big oil companies and governments as some big conspiracy are fucking worthless. That isn't advanced science, that's standard high school junior year science. The people that pay absolutely no attention to that class have no idea why we should develop renewable energy because "we just need perpetual motion". Forget funding research into this area, let's waste time "overthrowing" corporations to get this magical source of limitless energy.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (2, Insightful)

JordanL (886154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048033)

How do you propose you dehumanize people, and at the same time make them better?

Re:People definitely neglect science... (4, Funny)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048173)

Soylent Green?

Keep in mind (-1, Troll)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048117)

Everyone alive right now is going to seem dumb to any generation that follows as they discover new science.

You just have the added bonus of being a douchebag as well as an idiot.

Re:Keep in mind (2, Funny)

superwiz (655733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048313)

Actually, when I read about anyone who was educated in 1800-1950, I feel like a complete ignoramus.

Re:People definitely neglect science... (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048013)

Unfortunately, many people who do know a lot of science act religious. They treat people who don't know it as inferior, and I believe that turns a lot of people away from learning about it. Not because they think science is less valid, but in a sense, because they don't want to be like the jackass that just got done making them feel worthless.

jackass

I resent that!

Re:People definitely neglect science... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048175)

They treat people who don't know it as inferior,

It isn't the people who don't know who are the problem, it is the people who invent bullshit answers because they can't admit that they don't know. There was a related article about the 10 best science questions asked by kids. [bbc.co.uk] One kid asked his father "how much does the sky weigh?" the answer?

I said something along the lines of, 'It's the weight of the universe minus the earth, because that's what the sky is.' I don't think he [the son] understood.

I think the son understood all to well that the answer was complete bullshit.

Scientists baffled by parents' questions (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048231)

Such as "how to explain where babies come from, without mentioning sex or genitalia..." to their school-age kids (not toddlers).
Someone I know actually wanted this information. A parent, yes, but not clearly qualified for the job. Idiocracy, here we come!

Re:People definitely neglect science... (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048321)

They treat people who don't know it as inferior

In my experience, this is how experts in almost any field treat the layman. Especially on slashdot. Followed promptly by namedropping and obscure terminology, and finishing with a high nose and a sneer. Go ahead, test it, walk into a computer tech shop and ask what a video card is for. If they don't laugh and respond with a trite answer, you're at least guaranteed some palpable arrogance with a side of mockery.

Wow, just wow (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047803)

I knew the masses were ignorant... but to be that ignorant is just off the charts. I really upsets me that so many of the unwashed masses benefit so greatly from the fruits of scientific labors yet go through life 'blissfully' unaware as to the nature of the world, or will readily rally around any politician or talk show host that so often vehemently oppose all stances of logic and enlightenment.

Re:Wow, just wow (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047825)

it's ok not to know the in's and out's of how every object is produced, it's only a problem with they fail to understand SCIENCE is what made it all possible to understand the world around them if they so wished.

Re:Wow, just wow (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047995)

Yes. But it's not ok to drive a car without at least half an idea about where the gas goes, how to use the turn indicator, and so on. The same thing is true about science... people are muddling though life without knowing where the gas pedal is. They can't critically evaluate things because they don't have the basis to do so. Hell, just look at the "young earth" morons. They are so ignorant that they can't even properly evaluate evidence when it's presented to them. That is a failure of education.

Re:Wow, just wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047915)

You give off the impression of being very elitist and disrespectful. I'll call your ideas stupid or criminal, sometimes I'll troll. But my reaction when you disagree about something is to take interest and listen, and argue my case. You seem to think anyone too far outside your political bubble is just plain not worth listening to -- not even to know what someone else thinks. When you can't stick to the
issues and you introduce barbs about science, etc, it comes off as very elitist. It all comes off as elitist and disrespectful, and I hope this rant helps you better understand why I think so.

'Why?' (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047815)

Given just the subheadline, 'Four in five UK parents have been stumped by a science question posed by their children' is this really that surprising? Heck, I'm surprised it isn't higher. All the children I know have a keen penchant for asking 'why?' incessantly. I can probably answer, more or less, the key questions outlined above but I would falter (as would many who do not hold multiple Ph.Ds in the physical sciences) after a couple questions of 'why?'

Example, http://www.scq.ubc.ca/a-dialogue-with-sarah-aged-3-in-which-it-is-shown-that-if-your-dad-is-a-chemistry-professor-asking-%E2%80%9Cwhy%E2%80%9D-can-be-dangerous-4/

1982 (1, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047823)

She blinded me with SCIENCE!

More science questions (1)

sir99 (517110) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047829)

How is babby formed? how girl get pragnent?

Re:More science questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047953)

i leave babby in the pool bcuz he lik swim and nwo he chest no morving. wurt happen how can ii mak babby battar?

Re:More science questions (4, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048101)

The answer to "rainbow" and "sky blue" is "refraction", so I'm guessing that's probably where babies come from as well.

Re:More science questions (4, Informative)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048251)

The sky is not blue due to refraction. It is blue due to Rayleigh scattering, which increases as the wavelength decreases.

Re:More science questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048295)

"sky blue" isn't "refraction" it's "Rayleigh scattering"

Where do babies come from !? (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047833)

Wait what ? Parents are stumped by that question ? How did they become parents in the first place ?

Re:Where do babies come from !? (4, Funny)

l00sr (266426) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047871)

Actually, intercourse is considered uncouth by Britons. Hence, they all adopt, but rarely stop to question where the babies come from in the first place. Curious, isn't it?

Re:Where do babies come from !? (1)

Stupendoussteve (891822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047959)

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is good.

Somehow babies get in there.

I have a feeling that (2, Funny)

defireman (1365467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048053)

"Well honey, would you like to see a live demonstration?" would be unwise to say to a child.

Re:Where do babies come from !? (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048085)

This is the UK where kids are becoming parents at 13 [thesun.co.uk] . They're in the maternity ward before they get sex-education. And those are the good kids, the other ones are knifing each other [timesonline.co.uk] .

Where do babies come from? (3, Funny)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047839)

Everyone knows the stork drops them off. Duh.

Re:Where do babies come from? (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047925)

Raw cabbage leafs are used to relieve breast pain in nursing mothers.

Brings to mind the explanation "Found you under a cabbage leaf."

Calvin's Dad (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047853)

Obviously many parents parents need to be more like Calvin's Dad [s-anand.net] . He was never stumped by Calvin's science questions.

(More [google.com] )

Re:Calvin's Dad (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047981)

Calvin's Dad's awesomeness aside, is this really the right approach as a parent?

There's a difference between fantasy/whimsy and an outright (although hilarious) lie.

"Where does the sun go?"

Easy answer: It visits the people on the other side of the world.

Answer for older kids: something about how the earth goes around the sun, maybe using a couple tennis balls or something.

Like, you can break it down in a way they can understand it...

Re:Calvin's Dad (3, Funny)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048107)

You left out the absolute best one [freewebs.com] .

This [nocookie.net] isn't bad either.

Re:Calvin's Dad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048113)

Statistically, breeders have lower average IQs than those who are child-free. If you're looking to the average parent for any scientific knowledge whatsoever, you're looking in the wrong place.

Re:Calvin's Dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048149)

Calvin had 20 hours a day and Hobbes' help to come up with fiendish questions. Being the parent of a 4 year old, I understand where he's coming from. I've got about 15 seconds to answer a question that she's been crafting for hours. You gotta think on your feet. And, by the way, exactly how the fuck has understanding Mie scattering helped me? I mean, seriously, those penguins have tenaciously held on to a shrinking ice berg. There's much more important shit to remember like my anniversary and my 37 character with no 2 letters in a row fucking password. Mie scattering. That's the answer to the rainbow. Sorry, kid. The answer becomes very close to "because god wanted to show that he loves you".

how to solve it... (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047867)

I have a book called How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics. (This is not the classic problem-solving book "How to Solve It"). The book is about machine learning, statistics, genetic algorithms, and describes how coming up with approximate solutions to the right problem is often times much easier and faster than the exact solution.

At any rate, the book starts off with a study done where random questions from a 5th grade math text book that were given a group of people, but not in the context of the chapter, just by themselves. The book gives the problems and then says "If you can solve these in less than an hour(!), you will belong to the elite one percent of the people we tested who managed to get the right answer in that time. What's more, everyone we tested had at least an undergraduate degree in mathematics, engineering, or computer science." The point? When questions are given out of context, e.g., not at the end of a chapter about the quadratic equation, they can be hard to solve, even for qualified people. You have to THINK!

Also, wasn't there a study that found 20% of Americans think Joan of Arc was Noah's wife? And what percent of USians can't find the Pacific Ocean on a map? 21!

http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2007/08/30/upton/ [salon.com]

What about being misinformed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047879)

I'd like to see a study not just on being stumped, but the most incorrectly answered questions.

"How old is the universe?"
"600 years old."

louis ck, why? (0, Offtopic)

visible.frylock (965768) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047913)

NSFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048017)

Sorry, forgot, above is NSFW.

vf

Yahoo Answers (1)

Asahi Super Dry (531752) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047921)

I expect Yahoo Answers can help out with the first question, at least... http://encyclopediadramatica.com/How_is_babby_formed%3F [encycloped...matica.com]

Re:Yahoo Answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048097)

For us old timers, I never asked my parents or siblings the baby question. I actually visited my local library and looked up where babies came from there. I must have been about 8 yrs old. The medical book I found was full of color diagrams and photos.

Parents don't know where babies come from?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047923)

Shouldn't parents of all people know where babies come from?! Sheesh, is humanity getting dumber or what!

I don't believe it (5, Funny)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047929)

There is no way that children in Britain think blue is the colour of the sky.

Re:I don't believe it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047949)

There is no way that children in Britain think blue is the colour of the sky.

Grey would be more logical.

Re:I don't believe it (2, Funny)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048197)

yea captain obvious! but we know how rainbow looks!

"Why is the sky blue?" - Not so easy... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29047941)

Clifford Stoll's astronomy PhD orals seemed to be going swimmingly.

Just as everybody was about to gather their papers, shake hands and head home, his rather sadistic PhD supervisor asked him to explain why the sky is blue.

The sharks sensed blood in the water and began circling for the kill.

Don't assume a question is easily answered just because it seems simple and innocuous at first glance.

Re:"Why is the sky blue?" - Not so easy... (2, Insightful)

treat (84622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048141)

Indeed, so far no one has posted the answer. And even though the total of the articles on wikipedia seems to be the most concise yet thorough explanation I can find, it fails to impart an actual understanding.

I doubt anyone can explain why the sky is blue in a way that doesn't involve a partial explanation. I doubt anyone here could explain it to a child in a way that the first child could explain it to another.

Just saying "Rayleigh scattering" doesn't answer it. Nor does copying the formula for it or being able to calculate the formula. None of this contributes to actually understanding it.

Re:"Why is the sky blue?" - Not so easy... (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048205)

If I remember the book correctly, Cliff Stoll's committee member asked "could you be more specific" a few times; forcing him into more lengthy and involved details every time.

demonizing groups (5, Interesting)

bogotronix (1586717) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047943)

This type of news item is sort of a cheap shot by journalists. It's an old trick that probably dates back to antiquity--look how stupid these people are, they can't answer simple questions! And the consumer rolls their eyes, feels superior, etc. Look on youtube [below], there are some hilarious videos about Americans, British, Germans being "stupid". The vids were done as an exercise in psychological manipulation. One example [youtube.com] .

Re:demonizing groups (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048083)

Not even necessary to manipulate. Just film a thousand people and pick the 20 morons. The bell curve the IQ distribution forms dictates that you'll have at the very least 2 percent of really, utterly stupid to show.

Misleading summary (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 5 years ago | (#29047947)

To be fair, rainbows and the blue sky are somewhat difficult problems. It's not like Rayleigh and Mie scattering are a core part of the curriculum for people who aren't going into engineering or physics. As far as "Where do babies come from?"... that can be difficult for other reasons. The parents almost certainly *know*, it's just that there's a societal stigma against discussing sexual matters with children.

Uteruses and refracting light (1)

kk49 (829669) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048077)

Next Question!

Re:Uteruses and refracting light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048139)

errr, the sky is NOT blue because of refraction

hurr (2, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048245)

The connection between Rayleigh scattering and refraction is very fundamental. Both are due (from the point of view of electromagnetic theory) to the electrical polarization of the scatterers by the incident electromagnetic wave. The waves re-radiated by the dipoles induced in the scatterers by the incident field are incoherent, as seen by an observer located to the side of the incident beam of light. But, in the forward direction, the re-radiated waves are completely coherent with the incident waves, but retarded in phase. These retarded waves make the incident wave train propagate more slowly in the scattering medium than in a vacuum; the ratio of the speed of propagation in vacuo to the speed in the medium is just the refractive index of the medium. Thus refraction and Rayleigh scattering are two aspects of a single phenomenon.

http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/explain/extinction/extintro.html [sdsu.edu]

Re:Uteruses and refracting light (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048293)

> Uterii and because blue is a beautiful colour

Fixed that for you.

/classics scholar.

Embarrassing (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048087)

At least the first one the parents need to be able to answer, it they halfway have a memory left. As to the technicialities of the issue, if they really cannot talk about sex, they should be aware that they are putting their children at high risk of messing it up later (unwanted pregnancy, STDs) and fix this disgrace immediately. There are books that help and that deal specifically with how to explain this to your children. Go to your local bookstore and ask! Grossing the children out is a minor and acceptable possible side effect. But they need to be told!

As to 2. and 3., I can understand that. These are actually advanced wave-physics questions.

Damn Lies and Statistics (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048095)

Sorry, but this stinks of an government "spin" survey. You know, one of those surveys where the result is decided before it's even comissioned.

They've have rigged the questions, asking parents how hard they rated things such as:

Counting to three.
Breathing.
Explaining the facts of life to your children.
Explaning how to draw something.

The desired outcome will, of course, be that most parents would have difficulty explaning sex to their kids.

The rating options were probably:

Easy
Not easy
Hard
Very Hard
Extremely hard ..with only "easy" counting as a positive result.

There's also a good chance that the parents questioned where from a poor inner city area, where their parents would have been poorly educated when compared to the norm, and there would be an higher prevelence of people of below average intelligence....

And my recent trip to the zoo... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048099)

My recent trip to the zoo, while somewhat entertaining and good exercise, reminded me just how much I hate little children and idiots. I swear, if I hear ANYONE say, "LOOK, A MONKEY!" again and point to an orangutan or gorilla I'm going to kill someone.

Re:And my recent trip to the zoo... (1)

bhebing (741840) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048195)

Ook!

Re:And my recent trip to the zoo... (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048207)

are you sure they were pointing to the cage?

Re:And my recent trip to the zoo... (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048297)

I swear, if I hear ANYONE say, "LOOK, A MONKEY!" again and point to an orangutan or gorilla I'm going to kill someone.

I've also heard penguins being called fish, Bats called birds and just about anything small and furry, mice.

Some people don't need any animal classification beyond "fish - meat - not food".

buffoons (1)

stophatingalready (1497595) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048115)

i'm surprised these people don't need help using toilet paper

Just some parental advice... (5, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048131)

If this happens to you, the best thing to do is say that you don't know and go find out together with your child. This not only gives you something fun to do, it can help teach them to explore the internet, a bookstore, or a library. Most importantly it teaches them how to learn things.

The cool thing is, most of these basic questions have many levels beneath them. For example, most of you know why grass is green, but why is chlorophyll green? Why is green a really odd color for plants to use? Would "orange-phyll" (if it existed) work too? This leads to an exploration of chemistry and physics as well as biology.

Another good thing to teach is how people know this stuff - the idea that the natural world is knowable through discovery and testing, and that we decide as a community what "the truth" is, based on what we observe and what makes sense. Kids can certainly learn the idea of what science is at a pretty young age, even if complex logic isn't possible until, I don't know, early teens? Hmm, something to look up!

Not surprising... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048161)

Between the "crutch of knowledge" position the internet has taken up in our brains combined with the constant barrage of messages from various sources that science is "evil" (ie, the scientific community agenda to kill religion, science geeks are potential terrorists, etc...), we're getting dumber by the minute. God forbid we ever get hit by some event that takes electricity away from us... we'll be lucky if we can figure out how to feed ourselves.

Sometimes "I don't know" is a brilliant answer (4, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048169)

After all, when asked about the color of the sky, a parent could answer like this [eskimo.com] .

Let us give thanks that some people have the sense and honesty to say "I don't know," and try not to look down our noses at them. Bad parenting is darned hard to unlearn.

--
Toro

Re:Sometimes "I don't know" is a brilliant answer (1)

xmundt (415364) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048311)

And speaking of informative scientific answers...go to the root domain:
http://www.eskimo.com/ and scroll down a bit to find the answer to the question "Why are there no penguins at the North Pole?"

This is IMPORTANT for Linux folks to know...and learn from.

regards
dave mundt

re: First Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048199)

Next person to reference that idiotic "babby" meme in full gets my Righteous Fists O' Graft down their damn throat.

Baffled Parents Reproduce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29048217)

Your culture is doomed, unless yours out breeds the others.

Some science is hard (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 5 years ago | (#29048289)

To be fair, some of those questions are hard. I doubt many people could give a proper answer on why the sky is blue, particularly if you want a more in-depth answer than "blue light is scattered more" (see here [wikipedia.org] for more details). There have even been incorrect answers on this thread.
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