Results of a survey carried out in 2012 were presented this Friday, which revealed that 1 in every 4 Americans still believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth. The survey was carried out by the National Science Foundation and involved around 2,200 participants. The survey is carried out every two years to keep track of the educational development and progress of the country.
Science has always evolved based on what humans know about the observable universe. Theories and facts today might not have been accepted centuries ago. It is a universally accepted and proven fact that the planets in the solar system revolve around the Sun in a fixed axis. Scientists and the general public a few centuries ago however believed the opposite to be true. According to them it was the Sun that revolved around the Earth. It was only with the deductions and experiments of Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and many others that the misconception was cleared. The theory that the planets revolve around the Sun collectively came to be known as Heliocentricism.
Is the Earth flat and does the Earth revolve around the Sun are considered to be two of the most basic scientific questions. Answers to both of them have now been universally accepted. Studies from the National Science Foundation however stated that out of the 2,200 participants, only 75 percent knew the correct answer as to whether the Earth revolves around the Sun. The participants were given a series of 9 questions that tested their knowledge of basic science and astronomy. The average score for the tests was 6.5. The tests also revealed that around 39 percent of the participants believed that the universe began with an explosion, while 48 percent believed that human beings evolved from an earlier species of animals. While all of these facts are indeed surprising, the most astonishing find has to be that 1 in every 4 Americans firmly believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and not the other way around.
The complete details of the survey have yet to be revealed. The National Science Foundation will present the final detailed report to President Obama and various other law makers. This brings to question the decisions those law makers will make regarding the educational development of the country keeping in mind results from the survey.
The results of the survey according to some were not completely black and white. 30 percent of the participants believed that the government should increase their funding in the field of science. Almost 90 percent believed that the advantages to science greatly outweigh the possible threats and 90 percent expressed their interest in learning more about the scientific and medical discoveries.
How the President and law makers react to the report remains to be seen. It is quite possible that amendments to the current educational standards will be made. The same quiz was taken with European participants where only 66 percent knew the correct answer to the question. The result that 1 in every 4 Americans believes the Sun revolves around the Earth might not be surprising for some as the 2,200 participants actually performed better than the Europeans who took the same quiz.
By Hammad Ali