Further evidence of the dumbing down of America…

Posted on November 19, 2010

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AlterNet has this article about the 16 dumbest things Americans believe based on Newsweek polls. Here are some examples:

  • Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.
  • 25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.
  • Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about “death panels” being included in health care reform.
  • As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.
  • While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan–the places their peers are fighting and dying–on a map.
  • Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.
  • Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?
  • Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That’s just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.
  • Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.
  • This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.
  • More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government–you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare.

This ignorance is stunning. An educated and informed electorate is essential to a sound democracy, but sorry folks we are losing in all these regards!

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Posted in: Political rant