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NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology Is Scientific

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the not-dumb-just-ignorant dept.

United States 326

RichDiesal writes "A new report (PDF) from the National Science Foundation, which we discussed a few days ago, states that roughly 40% of Americans believe astrology to be scientific. This turns out to be false; most of those apparently astrology-loving Americans have actually confused astrology with astronomy. In a 100-person Mechanical Turk study with a $5 research budget, I tested this by actually asking people to define astrology. Among those that correctly defined astrology, only 10% believe it to be scientific; among those that confused astrology for astronomy, 92% believe 'astrology' to be scientific."

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ahhh english (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46248919)

I absolutely believe that ... astro... something science to be scientific!

Re:ahhh english (4, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 6 months ago | (#46248969)

I absolutely believe that ... astro... something science to be scientific!

It probably has electrolytes too!

Go back .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46248927)

Go back and give all those folks who posted on Slashdot that this WAS IN FACT the case 2 - not one - but TWO Internets!

Re:Go back .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249021)

So instead of being scientifically illiterate, USians are just vanilla illiterate? Still doesn't paint them in the best light.

Re:Go back .... (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#46249163)

So instead of being scientifically illiterate, USians are just vanilla illiterate?

This $5 study does NOT support that conclusion since the overwhelming majority of Mechanical Turkers are NOT Americans.

Although there there plenty of stupid Americans, America does not have a monopoly on stupidity. There's plenty of competition from the rest of the world.

Re:Go back .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249195)

[Citation Needed]

Re:Go back .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249359)

False, citation is not needed. Just open your eyes.

Re:Go back .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249431)

If mturk is anything like other freelance sites, you can restrict the workers based on geographic region.

Re:Go back .... (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 6 months ago | (#46249437)

This $5 study does NOT support that conclusion since the overwhelming majority of Mechanical Turkers are NOT Americans.

Not that you have provided any source for that assertion, but it's irrelevant anyway. You can set the qualifications for the job requiring them to be American. Studies have shown that while using the Mechanical Turk for social science research is not perfect, it is not wildly inaccurate either [journalistsresource.org] . In fact it works best for exactly this sort of study, a random sampling of the population with no other strict qualifiers.

Re:Go back .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249449)

Even if this were conclusive, it just means Americans are fucking morons instead of fucking morons... oh wait.

Re:Go back .... (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 6 months ago | (#46249469)

posting because mistakenly marked as flamebait....stupid laptop mouse

Re:Go back .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249275)

You are a retard for using the term USians. Go back to reddit. Stay off slashdot.

Re:Go back .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249421)

They're not illiterate, but 97% of Americans are aliterate (as you can see from the way the unread ignoramuses here can't tell there from their or lose from loose). Folks, people who read simply do not make that kind of stupid semiliterate mistake.

Nerds are not aliterate. Why are there so many aliterates here lately?

Really good question (5, Informative)

sideslash (1865434) | about 6 months ago | (#46248955)

I searched/skimmed the NSF paper, and it wasn't obvious that they took any pains to define astrology for their interviewees. So you very well may be right; good job.

Re:Really good question (5, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 6 months ago | (#46249019)

So instead of 40% of Americans having a poor concept of science, it looks like 40% of Americans have a poor concept of English. Is that any better?

Re:Really good question (4, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46249065)

Well, duh. We don't speak English here in the States. We speak 'murican.

Re:Really good question (1)

zauberberg51 (1015659) | about 6 months ago | (#46249077)

That would be Merkin, at least according to my Texas language dictionary (circa 1978)

Re:Really good question (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46249139)

Texas? Who cares how foreigners spell American.

Re:Really good question (4, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46249257)

Shhhh. Don't offend them. They have guns.

Re:Really good question (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | about 6 months ago | (#46249503)

This is America, we ALL have guns!

Re:Really good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249409)

Soon to be Spanish.

Re:Really good question (1, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 6 months ago | (#46249073)

So instead of 40% of Americans having a poor concept of science, it looks like 40% of Americans have a poor concept of English. Is that any better?

In terms of measuring the level of acceptance of pseudoscience, yes, it would be a favorable adjustment to make. But it's perfectly OK with me if you want to change the subject and rant about (lack of) English skills in the general population.

Re: Really good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249255)

Vocabulary is based primarily on words in common usage. As people stop believing in dumb things like astrology, they stop talking about it. As they stop talking about it, their children stop learning it. There are probably hundreds of types of quackery that have exited the English language and we're all better for it.

Re: Really good question (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46249465)

Very true.

Re:Really good question (4, Insightful)

smartr (1035324) | about 6 months ago | (#46249273)

I imagine most just don't know what "Astrology" means off the tops of their head, and they probably think it's some scientific term for astronomy... "Horoscope" is probably a more familiar term. Furthermore, if you asked someone if "Scientology" was science based, if the interviewee doesn't know what Scientology is, they would probably say it was science based... Entomology, Arthropodology, Herpetology, Aerobiology, Virology, Phytopathology, Psychobiology, Ethology, Kinesiology, Neuroendocrinology, Psychophysiology... what?

Re:Really good question (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about 6 months ago | (#46249445)

Psychophysiology is about psychos, right? And Herpetology is... well, yeah.

Re:Really good question (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#46249489)

The thing is, originally, astrology *was* a very scientific term. It refered to the practical application of astronomy to predict natural phenomena, such as when eclipses would occur, what time of year a partiicular star would be at its highest position in the sky, when planetary conjunctions would occur, etc.

Somewhere along the line, somebody got it in their head that the events which happen on earth and in individual people's lives are somehow causally connected to the movements of celestial objects as they are observed from earth, and so it started getting used to predict that as well (of course there was never any scientific basis for this), I think that perhaps because that use was something that everyone could identify with, whether or not they actually studed the stars at all, this may have been a contributing factor which caused it to become the most heavily associated application of the term, which in turn led to what we understand as the modern definition, for which again, there is no scientific basis.

Of course, this probably predates much of the english language itself, at least as we know it... the origins of how the term became more identified with what we know it as today than what it originally meant, which is actually very scientific in principle, is probably at least a thousand or more years old.

Re:Really good question (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 months ago | (#46249287)

Not knowing the difference between two similar looking words isn't that uncommon. Average people don't have to pay attention to astronomy or astrology on a daily basis, and stuff is going to get forgotten.

It doesn't mean anything except that people got the meaning of the word confused with another word. That happens pretty much everywhere on the planet, and says nothing about Americans.

Re:Really good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249307)

Astrology and astronomy are technically not English words, they're Latin [wikipedia.org] (taken from Greek).

Re:Really good question (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46249329)

So instead of 40% of Americans having a poor concept of science, it looks like 40% of Americans have a poor concept of English. Is that any better?

Oh, I'm certain it's much higher than that; all this proves is that 40% of the people polled don't know the difference between these 2 particular terms.

Re:Really good question (1)

smartr (1035324) | about 6 months ago | (#46249345)

I think one might argue, it's more that the NSF either sucks at common sense or intentionally makes misleading surveys.

Re:Really good question (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 6 months ago | (#46249353)

Eh – the words are reasonably close. Personally, I always get cosmetology and cosmology mixed up.

Re:Really good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249483)

I want to be a cosmetonaut when I grow up!

Re:Really good question (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about 6 months ago | (#46249389)

You can't paint them all with that brush. I'm pretty sure I have a decent concept of English, and even a decent understanding of English (you used 'concept' wrong there, for what you obviously intended it to mean) and sometimes I have to stop and look twice to see if 'astronomy' or 'astrology' is being used where it's meant to be. It's just one of those weird word pairings that trip people up: two similar words relating to two broadly similar things. It's not like people insisting Austria is Australia.

Re: Really good question (4, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 6 months ago | (#46249419)

40% of Americans don't care enough about astrology or astronomy to learn the difference.

That is probably most accurate.

Re:Really good question (2)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46249095)

I searched/skimmed the NSF paper, and it wasn't obvious that they took any pains to define astrology for their interviewees. So you very well may be right; good job.

Exactly what I thought, but there was no chance of making that point in the prior post due to the overwhelming piling on of "Dumb Americans" posts.

Still confusing that term isn't smart, but not recognizing that people "skim" when reading or listening to poll questions is equally dumb.

Then again, mechanical turk is hardly something to attract the Average American, or the Average Adult Human for that matter. It is already pre-selected for reasonably educated people who are at least quite computer literate.
 

Re:Really good question (1)

msauve (701917) | about 6 months ago | (#46249267)

But, they stressed the change:

In 2012, slightly more than half of Americans said that astrology was "not at all scientific," whereas nearly twothirds gave this response in 2010. The comparable percentage has not been this low since 1983.

... more than the absolute figures. Of course that could simply mean that fewer people know the difference between astrology and astronomy, but that still indicates a dumbing down.

Re:Really good question (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46249425)

Or if they did define it, they defined it as the "scientific study of the effects of season and tides on biometrics". A reasonable, if slightly strained, definition of Astrology. Originally it was science, at least as much as amateur astronomy is today. That it's not always clear what is meant (often because the reader is unfamiliar or unsure of the term) doesn't help.

Re:Really good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249509)

Either way, I did not see anything in their report that said if/how they defined it or gave the actual question subjects were asked. Hiding one's methods from scrutiny makes conclusions suspicious.

Re:Really good question (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46249439)

It seems like such an obvious thing to test for, if you are the kind of person who creates surveys, that it makes you wonder what motivated the NSF. Surely they know how to make a decent survey, and didn't do this by accident?

Yes, but (5, Funny)

nani popoki (594111) | about 6 months ago | (#46248957)

How many who could correctly define astronomy still believe that it can be used to predict your future. Because that's astrophysics.

Re:Yes, but (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249109)

I think you are confusing astrophysics with astropsychics.

Re:Yes, but (5, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46249171)

Depends on the time frame. Astropsychics claim to be able to make predictions about years in the future. Astrophysicists claim to be able to do that for billions of years in the future.

Re:Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249383)

Now I'm confused. Where do astropsychotics fit into this picture?

Re:Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249337)

I think you are confusing astrophysics with astropsychics.

...I thought the term was psychohistory!

I called it. (5, Funny)

Narcocide (102829) | about 6 months ago | (#46248965)

Even more of them will confuse cosmetology with cosmology. Someone trying to weigh a poll to make Americans look uneducated could have done much better.

Re:I called it. (-1, Flamebait)

BullInChina (3376331) | about 6 months ago | (#46249027)

I think that we already have a bunch of cosmetologists studying climatology.

Re:I called it. (4, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | about 6 months ago | (#46249193)

That is, quite frankly, offensive, and shows ignorance about the work of real scientists.

When cosmetologists work on a model, they refine and test their techniques until they can successfully predict how everything will turn out, and in fact time proves their predictions right. To put it another way, if they consistently gave a bad haircut, they would go out of business. Because it turns out that models can't stand a bad haircut.

Climatologists, on the other hand... well, don't take it from me. Read Feynman on cargo cult science [columbia.edu] in general, and Richard Lindzen on climate alarmism [climatedepot.com] in particular.

Bottom line -- shame on you for lowering cosmetologists to the level of (OK... _some_) climatologists.

Re:I called it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249053)

Someone trying to weigh a poll to make Americans look uneducated could have done much better.

Americans already do that every four years. Hell, the results get their own house and everything.

Re: I called it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249071)

Yes because being unable to differentiate astrology from astronomy couldn't also be used to make Americans seem uneducated.

Re:I called it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249091)

I don't know. That Carl Sagan was quite the artist with a make up brush.

Re:I called it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249213)

Even more of them will confuse cosmetology with cosmology. Someone trying to weigh a poll to make Americans look uneducated could have done much better.

What do you expect, the researchers were American, after all. The only thing this proves is we are as bad at research as we are at noticing subtle details in written information. I suppose a team of virgins would be equally ill equipped to compile a sexuality survey, the questions would be something like this: "i prefer the following kinds of intercourse: [ ] sex in the pee hole [ ] sex in the butt hole [ ] sex in the mouth [ ] sex in the hand [ ] sex over the phone [ ] sex at sea"

Re:I called it. (2)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46249237)

Americans would not be the first to make this mistake. When Lise Meitner in 1922 (after habilitating) anounced her first lecture in "cosmic physics", one reporter later wrote that Ms. Leitner would lecture about "cosmetic physics".

Re:I called it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249243)

And there I thought that cosmology was Russian for astrology.

Re:I called it. (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about 6 months ago | (#46249471)

That's 'kosmology'.

Re:I called it. (4, Funny)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 6 months ago | (#46249411)

They probably cut science class one too many times and never took the make-up tests.

Still a problem, but not as bad. (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46248985)

I thought this was the case.

The problem is not that we are mystical idiots, just that we are can not spell and are not sure of the correct pronunciation of words.

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249049)

I'm glad this was done. As soon as I read that original Slashdot summary, this was my first thought.

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249087)

But that doesn't help the researcher-class feel smug at night when people don't immediately believe all their claims.

I have no doubt that there were conversations built around variants of "It's not my fault people don't accept my study that [random whatever], 60% of americans think astrology is scientific! I never had any hope of educating these primitives!"

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249107)

So we proved that Americans are uneducated. That's much better.

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (1)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about 6 months ago | (#46249185)

It is - the remedy for the uneducated masses is education. I don't know of any remedy for superstition. (Just look at the creationists.)

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249197)

Yeah, just ask someone how often they masticate. "Oh, I NEVER masticate!"

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249205)

So instead of mystical idiots, we're regular idiots...somewhat of a lateral move there :/

Re:Still a problem, but not as bad. (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 6 months ago | (#46249303)

we are can not spell

Nor sentence put together can we. :)

Sample size flawed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46248987)

100 people isn't that big a sample size. If one could expand that by a few orders of magnitude, it might be more useful.

Undecided (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46248989)

I'm not sure if it's worse that these people believe that astrology is a science. Or that they were too stupid to not know the difference between astrology and astronomy. It's one thing if a few people got confused. But for so many to not know the difference is a little frightening.

Result of bad terms in the English language (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249067)

They are, if you think about it, poorly-chosen words. After all they both start with "astro" - meaning star. Then "ology" meaning study, versus "onomy" meaning naming of. Logically it might well be the other way around. On the other hand I agree with the conclusions. I'm an astronomer, but I notice that more and more of my colleagues are calling themselves astrophysicists rather than astronomers. They may simply be choosing what they think of as a higher-status term, or perhaps to avoid the confusion between astrology and astronomy, which (in my experience) is more common in the USA than in the UK.

Well, what do you expect? (3, Funny)

msobkow (48369) | about 6 months ago | (#46249025)

Given the state of education, what else would you expect? We're talking about a nation that doesn't even know it's own geography, much less that of neighbours in the world. If they think Toronto or Vancouver are the capital of Canada, how can you expect them to know something like astrology vs. astronomy?

Regardless of whether the majority of the population believes astrology is "scientific" or not, one thing is clear: the population as a whole has a shitty education.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 6 months ago | (#46249111)

If you're from Texas, the rest of the US is basically a foreign country.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46249189)

If you're from Texas, that's a belief. If you're not from Texas, it's a wish.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46249223)

If they think Toronto or Vancouver are the capital of Canada

Why should they care about trivialities like the capital of Canada? Ottawa is no more a city than Canada is a country.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249251)

That should be "its own". It doesn't look like you're better educated.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (1)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#46249505)

If they think Toronto or Vancouver are the capital of Canada, how can you expect them to know something like astrology vs. astronomy?

Because geography and astronomy are two different fields of study?

Heh (1)

Skiron (735617) | about 6 months ago | (#46249029)

99% of Americans are idiots; 1.0% run the Country. Much like the UK.

Re:Heh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249325)

99% of Americans are idiots; 1.0% run the Country. Much like the UK.

Unfortunately, these two groups are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Heh (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46249393)

99% of Americans are idiots; 1.0% run the Country. Much like the UK.

Of course, the 1% who run the show are primarily derived from the 99% who are idiots, so... you know...

Hello fellow idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249467)

Wait, YOU didn't that you were part of the 1%, did you?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249035)

Great. So now people are just stupid, not crazy.

Surveys - be suspicious (5, Informative)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 6 months ago | (#46249037)

It is easy for surveys to give very misleading results if the questions are not well thought out, or if they have intentionally been designed to produce some result. The media tends to pick up on the more surprising results from surveys so that magnifies the effect in the public perception.

"do you believe in evolution" "do you believe the current theory of evolution is correct" "Do you believe that god was involved in the creation of life" "should students be taught to question scientific theories like evolution". "do you think evolution likely is a correct description of the species we see on earth now" These may seem to be asking the same question, but are really quite different.

Re:Surveys - be suspicious (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 6 months ago | (#46249103)

Even worse is "do you believe that evolution is just a theory".

Re:Surveys - be suspicious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249311)

Of course I do, last I checked it hadn't been promoted to scientific law. Once they can figure out all the details and sort out the inconsistencies, sure move it to law, but for now, lets leave it as a theory. Not quite as sound as gravity yet.

Re:Surveys - be suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249417)

Once they can figure out all the details and sort out the inconsistencies, sure move it to law, but for now, lets leave it as a theory.

Science does not work that way.

Oh thats ok then (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249055)

.So they are just ignorant dumb fucks then.

Yes all's well. USA USA! #1

Re:Oh thats ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249521)

.So they are just ignorant dumb fucks then.

Yes all's well. USA USA! #1

Well, let's run the same poll, done the exact same way, across Europe, in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and others too, and see what those results say, before getting too cocky. Otherwise knock off the bandwagon bashing of "dumb fucks" just because it's great fun to join the crowd and a surefire ego booster as well.
NASA bests any other space agency in the world, yet somehow Americans are "dumb fucks". RIP logic.

Sounds even worse (2)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46249061)

40% of Americans can't differentiate astrology from astronomy.

When you don't know one of those from the other, what does it matter how you think about their scientific merits?

Re:Sounds even worse (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46249309)

40% of Americans can't differentiate astrology from astronomy.

Worse, 40% of Americans don't have the critical thinking skills to understand why that can't be inferred from the data. Confusing two very similar words isn't the same as not understanding the difference between the two areas. Worst of all is the 40% of Americans base their false sense of superiority on knowing some terminology, rather than a substantive understanding.

It's worse when an expert doesn't know something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249407)

When you don't know one of those from the other, what does it matter how you think about their scientific merits?

It's the difference between being confused and being a complete idiot. If you simply mistook two similar-sounding words for each other in a survey, words which likely define things you aren't particularly interested in, then it doesn't mean you're a complete idiot, it just means there's something you don't know, which is true of everyone since no one can know everything. On the other hand, if you study science for a living, and you conduct a scientific survey to ask people whether astrology is scientific and it doesn't occur to you that people may confuse it for astronomy, then you are indeed a complete fucking idiot because only an idiot could do scientific surveys for a living and not have such a possibility be painfully obvious to them.

The fact that someone on the internet had to spend $5 to show that the National Science Foundation made the most obvious mistake imaginable says far more about the sad state of American intelligence than anything else I've seen recently. Remember this the next time someone says "they're experts, you don't think they accounted for something obvious like that?" Some of these "experts" are the last people you want to assume to have thought of anything.

Re:Sounds even worse (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46249427)

Look on the bright side, it could be 40% of Americans have never heard of astrology. It's a dying field, after all.

Cosmology vs. Cosmetology (3, Funny)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 6 months ago | (#46249123)

A friend of mine in 7th grade signed up for a cosmetology class thinking it was cosmology, and boy was he surprised. At least it was only one of those 1 hours per week deals to fill in a gap with our weird rotating schedule (7 classes for 6 periods).

End Women's Suffrage Now! (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 months ago | (#46249155)

Adam Corrolla and Jimmy Kimmel (and many, many other pranksters) have proven that people really don't know the language, but will gladly treat a misconception with confidence when given just a little nudge.

Either conclusion is troubling (2)

wired_parrot (768394) | about 6 months ago | (#46249157)

So you're saying that it's not that Americans are prone to believe in pseudo-science, but that they lack basic English comprehension skills? Even if I were to believe that this unscientific internet study with a small sample size somehow trumps the observations of the National Science Foundation's wide ranging academic study, the conclusions derived are equally troubling. It's not that they're scientific illiterate - they're simply illiterate! Either conclusion indicates a serious deficit in US education standards, and rather than trying to justify the survey results away, we should be looking at ways to improving American education standards. If they can't distinguish between astronomy and astrology I'd be worried about their English vocabulary.

Star Trek Badges (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 6 months ago | (#46249183)

Friend of mine use to get these Fan boy catalogs for Star Trek/Star Wars trinkets. (ie. Stuff people made in their basement)
One of the ads was for "Official Star Trek Badges". Engineering, Command, Medical, Security, and Astrology.... and it took us 10 mins to explain to him.

Dear RichDiesal (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#46249225)

Please stop trying to spoil a fun narrative that gave the rest of the world a chance to reaffirm their feelings of superiority. If they ever stop believing Americans are stupid, they might start making it harder for us to tap their phone lines and "secure" communications.

By the way, we have a picture of you and that Buttercup All Grown Up doll, dated last February 17.

Thank you,

Your friends at the NSA

The terms are switched! (1)

rMortyH (40227) | about 6 months ago | (#46249285)

'Astrology' means 'the study of stars'. When real scientists began to study stars, this term had already been taken over by crackpots.
So, they adopted 'Astronomy' which is the NAMING of stars, because the more correct term now meant something else.

So, really, astronomy should be called astrology, and astrology should be called bunk.

Faith in Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249291)

Faith in humanity... remains the same.

"scientific" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46249375)

I actually had a discussion with someone who could define astrology and thought it was scientific until I defined "science". She still believed in astrology after that but she understood that it wasn't scientific.

US science literacy generally better than EU (5, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about 6 months ago | (#46249399)

People have actually looked at overall scientific literacy in the US, and it compares favorably to the EU (and the rest of the world):

Jon Miller of Michigan State University reported the numbers at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, this afternoon, during a session on civic science literacy assessments around the world. The new U.S. rate, based on questionnaires administered in 2008, is seven percentage points behind Sweden, the only European nation to exceed the Americans. The U.S. figure is slightly higher than that for Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. And it’s double the 2005 rate in the United Kingdom (and the collective rate for the European Union).

https://www.sciencenews.org/bl... [sciencenews.org]

Of course, it would be nice if scientific literacy were higher everywhere, including the US.

If... (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | about 6 months ago | (#46249457)

...these people are confusing astrology with astronomy, then it indicates that they are as stupid as they would be if they thought astrology was scientific.

asdjkl -- hard to type on a phone (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#46249481)

Ya know, other, better scientists figured out long ago there was co.fusion between astrology and astronomy, not jist that some may not k.ow the difference, but that plenty who do may get briefly confused by the question, thinking the questioner *must* mean the one with telescopes.

Ever since every time this comes up, I wonder if the latest study is done by terrible scientists who don't research past studies and analysis.

This isn't the only thing. Face symmetry relating to beauty is another, as it ignores an equally important study that the most beautiful are also those with the most average dimensions of features and placement. For that matter, scientists this week announceed they got more energy out of fusion than they put in "for the first time"...for at least the fourth time.

All I've got to say... (1)

enharmonix (988983) | about 6 months ago | (#46249517)

Thank heavens!
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