Embarrassingly Stupid Americans -- One in Five Believes Sun Revolves Around Earth
March 11, 2008
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The title of this article, that an embarrassingly high number of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, is only one point argued by the Washington Post’s Susan Jacoby, in her attempt to prove that Americans are in serious intellectual trouble, facing a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.
What else is signaling that Americans are becoming increasingly dumbed-down as a society?
- Attention spans are declining; Jacoby suggests this is due to television and videos. For instance, between 1968 and 1988, the average sound bite on the news for a presidential candidate dropped from 42.3 seconds to 9.8 seconds. By 2000, according to a Harvard study, the daily candidate bite was down to just 7.8 seconds.
Yet, it’s not bad enough that knowledge is quickly declining in the United States. On top of that, there is an arrogance about this lack of knowledge, almost as if a good portion of the population is saying, “We know we’re ignorant, but we don’t care!”
- General knowledge is eroding. This is evidenced not only by the fact that one in five U.S. adults believe the sun revolves around the Earth, but also many others.
Consider, for instance, that a 2006 survey by National Geographic-Roper found that nearly half of young Americans did not think it was necessary to know the location of other countries in which important news was being made. And another one-third felt it was “not at all important” to know a foreign language.
Why is this so concerning? Because …
Fear and Ignorance Go Hand in Hand
The more that you are kept in the dark, either due to your own lack of inquisitiveness or the workings of an unscrupulous industry (such as the food industry that markets junk foods and soda to children as though it is something they should be consuming), the easier you are to manipulate.
And this is where a population of people who do not possess their own knowledge base will easily believe, for instance, that they must quickly get vaccinated to protect themselves against an imaginary pandemic like the bird flu, or that food from their local supermarket is somehow safer than food grown by a farmer down the road.
Obviously, most of you reading this do not fall into this category, as you are actively seeking more knowledge, just by reading this.
Well, it is my goal to help create a fundamental paradigm shift in people’s consciousness about health, and also about empowerment. Because the more you know, the more you will realize that you have the power to impart positive changes in your life, and the lives of those around you.
And, ultimately, living a positive life is really what it is all about.
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