Saturday, January 3, 2015

More Proof Americans Are Among The Biggest Dopes On The Planet

And, when I use the term "dopes" it doesn't necessarily mean only those with sub-par IQs. After all, the cartoon image shown actually refers to one "research engineer" - Evan Jon Wright - who is a Mensa member, and incredibly believes that if CO2 was absorbed by the oceans they'd have turned to soda pop!

But the range and level of ignorance extends far beyond that example, to even more basic nonsensical beliefs which helps to keep this country the laughing stock of the world.

Among some of the finds from a recent poll and survey:

1) Roughly 73 percent of Americans believe Jesus was born of a virgin, while only 61 percent believe the Earth’s temperature has been warming. Even worse, only 40 percent of the Americans who concede that climate change is happening will admit that it’s primarily due to man-made activity.

This simply boggles the mind given the only examples of virgin birth ever documented have been mainly confined to some species of reptiles, never mammals. Yet people willingly buy into that hogswill. And yet anthropogenic global warming which has been firmly documented, is dismissed by nearly two fifths of 'Muricans. Something is seriously wrong with American brains here or their education - maybe both!

2) 77 percent of Americans believe in angels.

Incredibly, an AP/GFK poll in 2011 found that more than three out of four Americans believed angels literally exist, but also found that more than four out of 10 of those who never attend religious services believe it.  A poll taken five years earlier found that 81 percent of Americans believe in angels, essentially meaning the number had gone unchanged.
Let us grasp here that angels are defined as supernatural beings which means they are invisible as well as immaterial. When asked for evidence of the existence of angels people often cite some unusual or exceptional remembrance or personal anecdote - but never hard direct evidence. 
3) 55 percent of Americans believe that the Founding Fathers established this country as a Christian nation in the Constitution.

This figure comes from a First Amendment Center survey taken in 2007. These Americans really need to read Thomas Jefferson’s rewriting of the New Testament, which he felt perfected Jesus Christ’s teachings by removing all theological and supernatural elements from his life story. They may also wish to read the Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11:

Article 11 of Treaty of Tripoli :

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries"


4) 1 in 4 Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth.

This incredible finding comes from a National Science Foundation (NSF)  study conducted earlier last year. Oddly, or maybe not,  this statistic and the figure for non-acceptance of man-made climate change are, sadly, about the same—bear in mind that, whereas evolution and the Big Bang theory are relatively new to our collective consciousness, Copernicus and Galileo cracked our solar system’s biggest secret roughly five centuries ago. It would be no less ludicrous for one in four Americans to believe that the Earth is flat.  Again, this shows a major deficiency in Americans' science education, and explains why they do much worse than other nations on mathematics and physics tests administered over the years.

5 ) Only 60 percent of Americans believe in evolution.

According to a 2013 Pew Research poll, 33 percent of Americans believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” Among those who believe in evolution, 32 percent believe that modern organisms evolved through natural selection, while 24 percent believe that evolution occurred through the direct intervention of God. By comparison, 97 percent of scientists believe in evolution.

Let us also understand that there is no such thing as "God -directed evolution". Asserting such in order to try to render faith compatible with science is like trying to square the circle. The key point is that evolution requires no outside, external agent in order to enable speciation, diversity. Natural selection and mutation are sufficient drivers for the process. 

6) 51 percent of Americans don’t trust the Big Bang theory.

This refers to the scientific theory explaining the origin of the universe, namely its original rapid and violent expansion. .According to an AP/GFK poll from earlier last year, slightly more than half of all Americans were either “not too confident” or “not at all confident” that the Big Bang happened. This same survey also found that only 27 percent believe the Earth to be 4.5 billion years old, which is the consensus figure among scientists.

The Big Bang finding is actually not that surprising given the basis of the theory inheres in thermal physics, kinematics and most Americans haven't even taken a course in basic high school physics. So their "lack of confidence" is actually a justified lack of confidence in their own knowledge of physics with the ability to apply principles to unfamiliar theories or conditions. 

7) Only 44 percent of Americans are confident that vaccines don’t cause autism.

According to a University of Chicago study taken last year, 20 percent of Americans believe “vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders,” while another 36 percent weren’t sure enough to agree or disagree with that statement.  If Americans knew more, of course, they'd be aware that autism is more plausibly traced to toxins in the environment, such as present in pesticides - than in any vaccine component. (The main suspect in vaccines, thimerosal, is no longer present. 

8) 48 percent of Americans think the Civil War was about states’ rights, while only 38 percent of Americans believe it was over slavery.

While the 2011 Pew Research survey that yielded this statistic might lead you to believe that there is legitimate debate over the cause of the Civil War, there really isn’t: Over 90 percent of historians with graduate degrees accept that it was prompted by opposition to the election of Abraham Lincoln on the grounds that he would prohibit the expansion of slavery into the Western territories. Although the Southern states argued that they had a legal right to secede because of their sovereignty as states in a federal union, it was their opposition to Lincoln’s policies on slavery that incited them to leave the Union.

Apart from that there really is no such thing as 'States' rights".  States have prerogatives, not rights, because states exist as governmental entities not as persons-individuals. Prof. Garry Wills (‘A Necessary Evil: A History Of American Distrust of Government’, Simon & Schuster, 1999) further reinforces this point in his chapter ‘Constitutional Myths’(p. 108). He notes that citizens alone possess rights, which neither the states nor the federal government share. Both the latter retain powers and prerogatives, but not rights. Hence, the subtext is that rights can only accrue to human individuals.  As he puts it (ibid.)

“The states have no natural rights. Their powers are artificial, not natural – they are things made by contract.”

Can we possibly reduce the level of American dopiness?  One would like to believe so, but so long as a fractured, fragmented media exists - what many have called "media Balkanization"- it is not likely to happen. The chronically ignorant will still gravitate to those media outlets that merely confirm their already skewed, unfounded beliefs and unless we return to the Fairness Doctrine (eliminated during the Reagan era) there is no chance of a corrective. They will remain ensconced in those bastardized niches and the rest of us - in the fact-based realm - will have to contend with them and do our best to educate them when and where possible.

This divergence might be tolerable except that the entrenched ignorance and misconceptions (such as #8 above) also translates into voting. This means the more ignorance -based voters we have the worse this country will become . This was only recently manifested in the atrocious finding that 59% of Americans support some form of torture and a large bunch actually believed they were defending freedom by going to see (or buy online) the god-awful muck 'The Interview'.

Thomas Jefferson once noted in his Notes on Virginia that the "people are the only safe depositories" of governance, truth and rectitude, but this is contingent on the "improvement of their minds."  If that mental improvement and acuity isn't evident in a populace  then their government is likely to degenerate and become corrupted since the people (as supposed guardians) have become so inept and uneducated as to leave their governance to the  power-hungry "rulers" alone.  Yet this is what appears to be happening in this country. Polls taken, such as after the series of Snowden data releases, and now after the CIA torture report, indicate that too many Americans have become sheep and ceased to be wary citizens. They have thereby left the fight to the rest of us who are 'on' 24/7 and perceive how the country is declining at a horrific rate. 

No one said citizenship was easy, or automatic. But, that just means one has to be aware that this honorable calling has - in the last 30 or so years- been driven to the sidelines by the "consumer". But consumers are not citizens, they are more akin to cattle - as noted by Erik Larson in his terrific book, The Naked Consumer.  Larson noted how consumer monitors in stores regularly referred to shoppers as "grazing like cattle"(p. 167).

One thing is clear: If you are like cattle, dumb, numb and not long for the meat grinder - you can't be doing your duty as a citizen. You are more an exploitable, brainwashable puppet. Sadly, the more such puppets are germinated the more rapid will be our nation's decline.

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