We’re not doing science right.

As if we needed someone to tell us about it, Science Daily informs us Americans that we’re failing at basic scientific literacy:

Despite its importance to economic growth, environmental protection, and global health and energy issues, scientific literacy is currently low among American adults. According to the national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences:

  • Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
  • Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
  • Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water.*
  • Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

(* The approximately correct answer range for this question was defined as anything between 65% and 75%. Only 15% of respondents answered this question with the exactly correct answer of 70%.)

Knowledge about some key scientific issues is also low. Despite the fact that access to fresh water is likely to be one of the most pressing environmental issues over the coming years, less than 1% of U.S. adults know what percent of the planet’s water is fresh (the correct answer is 3%). Nearly half didn’t even hazard a guess.

You can take a shot at the basic test yourself over yonder, bottom right of the page.

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