Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nearly Half of Americans Accept Astrology As Science

How bad is the science education in this country?  UPI is running a story about the acceptance of astrology in the United States.  It is depressing:
According to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology, the study of celestial bodies' purported influence on human behavior and worldly events, is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific."

By contrast, 92 percent of the Chinese public think horoscopes are a bunch of baloney.

What's more alarming, researchers show in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk.
This, once again, calls into sharp focus why we have to have good, grounded science education. While it is quite true that many people will accept something because they simply want to, despite the evidence, a good many people simply don't know better. They also don't have a good grasp on what science is and how it operates. One of the principle sections of my Anthropology 110 class opening lecture is how science is practiced and how to distinguish between hypothesis and theory. I am continually amazed at how many people get those questions wrong.

On the other hand, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, astrology really is science.

1 comment:

  1. We do have good grounded science education. But confirmation bias is very difficult to change. As a science teacher for 25 years, I identify student misconceptions and work to change these by teaching basic scientific principles for them to understand the world around them. Unfortunately, their attitudes and beliefs come from the society around them and their family. Even faced with scientific facts, they are still biased and hold on to long held beliefs. Many students challenge statements and use their biases to explain how their viewpoint is valid. It is frustrating.