“Shocking Percentage of Americans Don’t Know This Basic Fact.” That’s Huffington Post’s breathless headline about the latest National Science Foundation survey of attitudes about and knowledge of science and technology.
The “basic fact” in question is that the Earth orbits around the sun, but 26 percent of Americans think the sun orbits around the earth.
If you actually read the NSF report, you’ll find that we aren’t as ignorant as the headline would lead you to believe. 34 percent of those surveyed in the European Union got the answer wrong.
Still, the report makes clear we have a long way to go, especially if we’re serious about focusing on science, technology, engineering and math as our path to success in the 21st century. 42 percent of Americans think astrology is sort of or very scientific.