Sun Revolves Around Earth According to One in Four Americans


According to The National Science Foundation, one in four Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. The results were released from a 2012 survey whereby 2,000 people were asked various science questions. After analysis of the survey was completed, researchers concluded that 26 percent of Americans don’t know the basic rules of our solar system. Scientists describe the statistics as “frightening” and believe it emphasizes the importance of increasing funding in science programs in American schools.

These weren’t the only surprising findings, as the survey also found that 48 percent of those questioned believed that humans evolved from an earlier species of animals, relating to the evolution vs. creationism debate. Creationism and criticisms of evolution are still taught in some schools in America. It was noted that almost all public schools in America taught creationism until the late 19th century, and it is still hotly debated today on whether it should still be taught in classrooms. Another question in the survey was whether antibiotics kill viruses; 51 percent answered that no they do not. While this questions may not have to do with the knowledge of the earth revolving around the sun, it does means that half of the sample do not know the difference between viruses and bacteria or rather they simply do not know about one of the most common prescription medications used today. When questioned about how the universe began, 39 percent believed that the universe began from a massive explosion. The other 60 percent do not believe this, and while the survey did not divulge into what other answers they may have for how the universe came to be, it was estimated by a Gallop Poll that 46 percent of Americans believe in creationism. The survey also noted that less than 65 percent of Americans were aware that it is the father’s gene that determines the sex of the child – again, this is a basic biological fact that many would think most of the population should know.

So where does America stand compared to other countries? According to  the report “residents of other countries, including highly developed ones, appear to perform no better.” This particular survey is performed yearly and the results have not changed much since 1992, with an average of 5.6 correct answers on the nine question quiz. American policy-makers have claimed that they are making efforts to better educate youth, and thus future Americans, in the area of science. Knowing that the earth revolves around the sun should be a basic lesson taught in schools as it teaches the public how the earth operates in our solar system.When comparing the results between sexes, the researchers also found a difference in the performance of men and women. Men tend to answer 70 percent of answers correctly and women tend to answer 60 percent correctly, and the gap varies depending on the types of questions asked. Men answer correctly on the majority of physical science questions while women answer biology questions correctly more often than men.

Interestingly, the study found that many Americans answered based on what they believe in and not necessarily on their knowledge of the material. When asked if humans descended from another species, 48 percent did agree that the statement was true, but when added “according to the theory of evolution” to the beginning of the question, 72 percent answered true. The difference of 24 percent shows that many Americans may have the necessary knowledge but just simply do not believe in it. America is a multicultural country with different religious backgrounds that influence some of the answers on the survey. When stating that one in four Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth, it may be true but not for the reasons one would think. Nevertheless, when looking at the answers cumulatively, it is clear that an increase in funding for science education would not hurt.

By Lian Morrison


Discovery News
The Atlantic
10 News

13 Responses to "Sun Revolves Around Earth According to One in Four Americans"

  1. 2904   February 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Poor education in America is a deliberate policy to create unquestioning corporate worker fodder and keep wages low.

  2. Jerry Ross   February 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Teach the Controversy 😉

  3. Gramma Gertie   February 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    And perhaps one in four scientists doesn’t know that “one” is singular.

  4. Tony Morrison   February 16, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Not surprised with your article , I was thinking more like 1 out of 2 !!!!

  5. Ralph   February 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I think that one thing we can all agree on is that this is not the most well written article that has been presented lately. Perhaps there will be a little money left over for the liberal arts students as well.

    • HankW   February 25, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Oh! The Humanities!

  6. Will Apse   February 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Antibiotics do not kill viruses, as implied in your article. Seriously. They only kill bacteria.

    Also this is ungrammatical: ‘While this questions may’

    • Denise   February 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Excuse me please, but the article does not state as fact that antibiotics kill viruses. It simply asks those taking the survey if they believe antibiotics kill viruses. It was a test of knowledge whether erroneous or not.

    • ziggy   February 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      The article did not imply that antibiotics kill viruses, it was just not very clear what they meant by “half of the sample”. They meant the other 49% which did think that antibiotics kill viruses. And “Seriously.” is ungrammatical – it’s a fragment.

      • Will Apse   February 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

        Clarity is always important in any kind of writing. Leaving ambiguities and grammatical errors in such a holier than thou piece is not going to get you too many fans, lol.

  7. Donnie   February 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm


  8. Scott Cressi   February 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    In a related story 1 in 4 Americans is a complete moron.

    • janet   February 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      You are being generous. I would say 3 out of 4, and I live there.


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