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So this is Pangea:

pangea

That the continents were once a connected land mass is scientific fact, and one that children learn in grade school.

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 7/27-30. Likely voters. MoE 2% (No trend lines)

Do you believe that America and Africa were once part of the same continent?

         Yes    No  Not Sure
All       42    26    32

Dem       51    16    33
Rep       24    47    29
Ind       44    23    33

Northeast 50    18    32
South     32    37    31
Midwest   46    22    32
West      43    24    33

White     35    30    35
Black     63    13    24
Latino    55    19    26
Other     56    19    25

It's sort of depressing that only 42 percent of Americans know this well-established, non-controversial bit of scientific fact. And while no group acquits itself extremely well, it is once again Republicans dragging down the numbers. Almost half refuse to believe in plate tectonics, and only a quarter have this basic bit of scientific knowledge under their belt.

And look at the racial breakdown -- despite the rantings of your typical racist, African Americans scored the best on this question, followed by "other" and "Latino". Whites lagged far behind, dragged down of course by their over-represented anti-science conservative component.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Reality (11+ / 0-)

      has a well-known liberal bias

      I haven't forgotten The Path to 9/11, Disney. You're still dead to me.

      by beemerr on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:20:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BREAK-IN (44+ / 0-)

      reminder that Devilstower had a must-read discussion of this on the front-page that very clearly says that how Kos is discussing this is inappropriate.

      Polling Science

      why would only 42% of Americans say that they believe in this extensively-documented, measurable, well-established theory?  Should we worry that America is hopelessly backward and mired in some kind of anti-science dark age?

      No. For one very good reason: both the question itself, and the presentation of the results are deeply flawed. Intentionally idiotic.

      The questions was written to press emotional hot buttons. It's not "were all the continents once merged into Pangea?" or "Was the North American continent once closer to Europe?" or simply "do you believe in continental drift?" It's were "America and Africa were once part of the same continent."  If you think that doesn't matter, I invite you to look at the regional breakdown of results -- that particular association of words "America" and "Africa," probably accounts for the 10% greater "No" vote in the same region where "Birtherism" is at its height.

      The question is also framed in terms of individual "belief" in a scientific theory. This gives the impression that data are of greater worth when they're more popular. It's the kind of wording that not only garners bad responses, it encourages bad interpretation of the results.

      •  thank you (14+ / 0-)

        for pointing that out. it's a poorly written poll question.

        (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

        by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:31:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Age? (10+ / 0-)

          I wish they'd break this survey down by age.  Plate tectonics are now taught in grade school, but a teacher I had in 1950 denied the obvious when I asked if Africa and South America had once been connected.  I still remember the large map on the front wall above her as she paused a moment and shook her head no.  It wasn't until the 60's that the geological and biological evidence became overwhelming.

          •  I had exactly the same experience in elem school (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, ybruti, A Siegel, MadMs, sulthernao

            I must be a few years younger than you, because my was probably in the late 50's.  But the fact is that if you're older than your mid- (or perhaps even early) 50's, this WASN'T taught to you in school, because by the time this theory became accepted as a fact, you were in high school, and the last time most Americans study any kind of earth science is in elementary or middle school.

            I kind of focused on the news about it when the theory became generally accepted scientifically because I'd always been convinced that Africa and South America HAD to have been connected, and that my teacher (who, while I liked most of my teachers, I never liked at all) was wrong.  I felt a great sense of vindication when I knew that, as an elementary school student, "my" theory (which my teacher had kind of pooh-poohed as ridiculous) was actually correct.  

            The sad fact is that even a lot of people who were in elementary school several years after this became well-accepted probably weren't taught it, because the only "scientific literature" to which many elementary school teachers have been exposed since college is whatever science textbook they're teaching from, and most school systems don't replace them every time a major new scientific advance is made.

          •  Even in the 70s this was a disputed theory (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ybruti

            it is only recently that plate tectonics is widely accepted.

          •  Ocean floor data collected in the 1950s (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ybruti, A Siegel

            led to the seafloor spreading hypothesis in the 1960s and caused geoscientists to take another look at continental drift.

            Wegener's theory of continental drift was rejected because he could not provide a credible mechanism.

            I love the theory of plate tectonics for the way it illustrates how scientific theories evolve as new information is uncovered.

            Developing the Theory

            Light is seen through a small hole.

            by houyhnhnm on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:01:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Correct Criticism (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a statistician who does some polling and analysis of surveys. TerryPinder is absolutely right, as is A Siegel.

          I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member--Groucho Marx.

          by DaveS002 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:03:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's a carefully written question meant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder

          to provoke head shaking and tsk-tsking among the edumacated. What's next, you think, will people believe the world is flat?

          Sherri Shepherd Thinks the World is Flat

        •  No it isn't. Stupid is as stupid does. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jett

          It doesn't matter whether you learned it in school or picked it up because you continued to learn, even as you aged. And it doesn't matter whether you got sucked through the racial trapdoor either.

          What it highlights is that 1.) some people are more easily fooled (i.e. stupid) by how facts (and lies) are worded, and 2.) all polls suck since they oversample land-line users willing to talk to a stranger during the day when others are working or at night when others have better things to do...and who are -- consequently and in general -- whiter, older and dumber.

      •  Thank you Adam for injecting science into this (14+ / 0-)

        discussion of ignorance of science.

        Science is not a collection of facts. It's a systematic way of searching for the truth by rejecting falsehoods.

        look for my DK Greenroots diary series Wednesday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:31:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ask "do you believe" and people go on red alert (3+ / 0-)

          Republicans especially. It becomes a "belief" survey. Which they'll hear as asking evolution in another way. Those that care will think it's chose God vs. Godless Science. With some racism thrown in.

          And for those that weren't taught tectonics, it could sound like a one of those joke email questions. Which might have had as many "strange but true" guesses of "yes" as people actually knowing.

          •  Yeah, but they're even theologically wrong. (0+ / 0-)

            This was one of the few concessions to science my fundy school made. Sort of. I can't remember the character, but he's in one of the long periods of "begat" between, I think, Noah and Jacob, and basically all it says about him is that the land was broken in his time.

            My fundy school explained that this was really when Pangaea broke up, despite the liberal atheist claim that the continental drift occurred over millions of years. As we all knew by that point, Earth was only six thousand years old.

            "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

            by Geiiga on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:05:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Your point is well made, but even so, the racial (7+ / 0-)

        component of the responses is a clear part of the subtext here.  What group is emotionally, if that's the direction you're steering for in quoting the above, most invested in denying the possibility of "Africa" and "America" being connected? Of course, as suggested, the "white" response is affected by the dumbass fundamentalist antiscience racist constituency, but that in itself is hardly surprising.

        Q: Why does Grover Norquist want to drown the government in a bathtub? A: So he can replace it.

        by Snarky McAngus on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And by the same token, which group is most ... (5+ / 0-)

          emotionally invested in having America (properly speaking, "the Americas," since "America" isn't even a continent) and Africa having been part of the same continent.

          I strongly suspect that blacks are no more likely than whites or Latinos to be aware of the existence of Pangaea, but that the connection of Africa and "America" (which both groups probably take to mean the present area of the United States, rather than the entire North American and South American continents) is simply something they WANT to believe, whereas racist whites DON'T want to believe it.  I'll bet that if the question were asked about Africa and "South America" (which were actually connected in the ancient geological past much more recently than North America was attached to either of them), the response might look very different.

          I think this says a lot more about the willingness of many Americans to let belief in what they WANT to believe trump scientific knowledge than it does about anything else.

          •  America/Americas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sulthernao

            Yes, it's silly to think that North and South America are one continent. Apparently that is taught in a number of countries, as I have gotten that from both Europeans and Latin Americans (sorry - memory not good enough to break it down better than that).

            And yet the same folks will tell you Europe and Asia are two. "Continent," it seems, has both a scientific and a social meaning, and they don't fully overlap.

            Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

            by tcorse on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:53:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  WANT to believe? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            I don't think it's a matter of blacks and latinos wanting to believe, and whites not wanting to believe it.

            It's more a matter of people being ignorant of facts or not.  As devilstower pointed out, this shouldn't be presented as a belief question.

            Do you believe that 3^4 is 81?  Do you believe that 2^2 = 5?

            In a survey, you will get some yes answers and some no answers to each question.  That won't indicate what people believe though, it will indicate whether or not they are ignorant of math.

            Then again, conservatives are masters of cognitive dissonance and refusing things they don't want to believe, even though they DO know it's true.  E.g., they know what Bush did, but they don't want to believe it, so they don't.

          •  That's a good point. You can "flip the script". (0+ / 0-)

            But there's an implication that there's an equal probability of either "group" allowing their beliefs to affect their perception.  It seems that not believing it is more an assertion of a religious explanation over a scientific one.  In this case, non-white respondents, even those that are religious, seem more willing to accept the science.  That's what I was aiming for.  I see that someone below also makes this point.

            Q: Why does Grover Norquist want to drown the government in a bathtub? A: So he can replace it.

            by Snarky McAngus on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:41:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Read Devilstower's discussion ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Snarky McAngus

          it really is tremendous. There is much to be drawn from this poll, even with its problems (intentional problems).  But, it is amazing to me that this is put up on the front page without any hint that there is a very serious discussion about it on the front page, just a few days earlier, and that it is a highly flawed (with reasons/purposefully) poll -- which is one of the things that makes it so interesting.

      •  "Believe in" is entirely inappropriate with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Athenocles, weebo

        respect to science in any case. It is a popular term indicating equivalence with little green men or afterlife for which there is no hard evidence with reproducible, hard scientific evidence.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:18:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe in science (0+ / 0-)

          I don't do it myself. I have studied the process.
          I believe it can determine the facts of continental
          drift.( A great question for scientists at The Edge
          website "What do you believe that you can't prove?")

          •  You should know the basics of the evidence for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Athenocles

            significant scientific thought whether you "do science" or not. On the subject at hand there is no reason anyone should be ignorant of some of the basics that have been well published in even the popular science magazines with cites of the more detailed journals.

            Now, we can push this right into the Occam's neverland of the Birther by getting into the belief necessary to not think all those scientists and journals are manufacturing that reported "evidence."

            So, no, I have not personally done the magnetic orientation of land rock samples. I have watched the chart of magnetic striations unfold crossing the ridge system. So, yes, I do have a certain level of belief that large numbers of other people publishing so that their work can be reproduced, challenged, confirmed or destroyed are not sitting around making stuff up. Beyond that belief is not a factor. The evidence is published in peer reviewed journals and summed up in more popular science publications. You do not simply have to believe in plate tectonics or evolution as a leap of faith.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:23:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pelagicray, Athenocles

              I think there are lots of reasons why people could be ignorant on this issue / arena.  Reality is that we live in a scientifically illiterate society. Thus, if this were expressed as a "knowledge" rather than "belief" question, I would think that honest answering would have a good percentage (1/3rd? 1/2?  ???) answering "I don't know" / "unsure".

              •  Probably correct and a better way to put the (0+ / 0-)

                question. The whole usage of "belief" in such polls on science is problematic and to some extent fuels the idea scientific theory is just another "belief system" rather than an evidence based, ever modifiable best model of reality.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 10:11:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  "BELIEVE" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        Unfortunately, Americans, even smart ones, still confuse opinion or belief and knowledge.  Science is not a matter of belief but of the testing of hypotheses and accumulating data or evidence to prove or disprove the hypothesis.  The question in this case asked them if they "believe" that Pangea existed.  Unfortunately too many Americans are willing to accept things on faith, although they refuse to accept scientific evidence.  

      •  that's the beauty of this question... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Snarky McAngus

        ...it's like a test for subconsious racism.

        of course there are more republicans who believe in pangea than this poll finds, but they weren't able to get past their instant revulsion to the word AFRICA long enough to realize what the question was really asking about.

        "I don't think they're going to be any more successful in 2010" -Yes On 8 co-manager

        by jethropalerobber on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 03:42:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for prodding me to read Devilstower's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        original diary.  I misread your point you were making here above.  It's a good indictment of Gallup's propaganda.

        Q: Why does Grover Norquist want to drown the government in a bathtub? A: So he can replace it.

        by Snarky McAngus on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:55:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They were part of the same at least twice (7+ / 0-)

      Pangea wasn't the first supercontinent. It had happened at least once before though these days most geologists agree that it's happened over and over and will happen again.

  •  I assume this correlates well (18+ / 0-)

    with acceptance of the theory of evolution.

    A friend of mine used to have a bumper sticker reading 'Reunite Gondwanaland". Maybe we just need to convince the neocons that there's oil there...

    -dms

    "Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how" -- Jane Austen predicts blogging

    by dmsilev on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:18:45 AM PDT

    •  ... and global warming, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaolin, sulthernao, QuestionAuthority

      and WMD, and torture, and prayer in school, and guns in bars, and ...  

      stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

      by Mother Mags on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:26:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't help but notice the racial undertone (13+ / 0-)

      I want to know how many whites answered "no", because they don't like the thought of admitting that in the past their precious 'white America' used to be one and the same with 'black Africa'.

    •  When the time came to name my reggae band (4+ / 0-)

      "Gondwana" was, like, such the best band name.  Ever.  And yes, I got pictures of it my socialist European 4th grade class.

    •  Scientific knowledge is weak in this country (13+ / 0-)

      The influence of the creationsists is certainly key to that, but anti-intellectualism has other, deeper roots to it. Anti-elitism, for one.

      I sometimes ask my students (college) if they know what  plastic is made out of. Silence is the usual response. I've stumped a few highly educated adults on this too - such as my fellow professors. Yes, I'm in a history department, but still. We just fall down on teaching science. It's not good, not good at all.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:45:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same here (7+ / 0-)

        I teach geography in college basic level and I have a heart attack every day

        Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

        by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:48:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You should try 7th graders (7+ / 0-)

          "What's the capital of Africa, Mr B.?"

          I have also taught Science at the middle school level and  the most difficult part of the process is dealing with the scientific illiteracy of the parents.  Occassionally one objects to evolution and other scientific theories but I'm happy to say that my county and state, Florida, give full backing to teacching science by the standards and not the bible.  Still it's hard to teach children how to use their minds when all too often parents refuse to.

          Always grateful to wake up alive.

          by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:56:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I tried (4+ / 0-)

            Believe me, couldn't take it. My utmost respect for any human herder aka  middle school teacher

            Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

            by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:05:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Physics (6+ / 0-)

            GED students have to study many interesting topics for their test in science.  One day when the class was turning to a chapter labeled physics, a new student exclaimed to me: "Physics! I thought this was a science class."

            •  Math! I thought this was a science class. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ybruti

              Chemistry!  I thought this was a biology class.
              Biology!  I thought this was an environmental science class.

              I've heard it all.  It's all good. Adolescents love to argue and the ability to argue is essential to the development of scientific thinking.

              Light is seen through a small hole.

              by houyhnhnm on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:11:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ice ages.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Iberian, Subo03

            My kids had a hard time believing me that three ice ages have come and gone because they had not "learned that" in their seventh grade science class.

            I remember being taught that the continents were once one and about the ice ages... of course that was 40 years ago...

            when did the ice ages instruction drop?

            •  It didn't (0+ / 0-)

              It's still part of Earth Science, somethng we start teacheing here in Florida in the 6th grade.  I also touch upon it in Geography in 6th and 7th grade as part of the concepts of Climate and creation of landforms such as the Great Lakes.

              Always grateful to wake up alive.

              by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:51:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks Subo03... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Subo03

                I'm glad someone is still learning facts.. my kids are under the impression that humans cause global warming because the glaciers are melting... I can understand their thought process since they have not been taught about the previous ice ages melting long before humans were on this planet...

                •  Humans do contribute to climate change (0+ / 0-)

                  How could they not?  The one thing that humans all do is transofrm energy, usually kinetic energy into heat and there are about 6 billion of us.  Is it the only cause?  Probably not but is is the one cause we can do something about.  The closer we can get himan acttivity to neutral effect, the better we;ll be able to adapt to those chages that are out of our control.

                  Always grateful to wake up alive.

                  by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:05:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Take hope, Iberian (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Iberian, houyhnhnm

          My kids had a basic grasp of science up to the basics of Relativity, Quantum Theory, geology, biology, physics, etc. by the time the entered college.

          Some of us are active parents that care about what is real.

          "...Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." Richard Feynman

          by QuestionAuthority on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:08:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  How many cannot take a blank world map and write (5+ / 0-)

          in "Pacific Ocean" or even "North America" accurately?

          This is one of my pet peeves. I can somewhat understand someone not being up on the geology and magnetic evidence showing connections between features on opposite sides of oceans. Even then anyone by now should know that plate tectonics is well supported by hard evidence.

          Geography is no such thing. There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing the general layout of our world and naming that layout in long used layman's terms. None. Zero. I think I would support a voting literacy test that requires finding yourself on a map and naming the major features!

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:29:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not thought (0+ / 0-)

            Geography is one of those things that have to be learned by memorization and that has been erased from education. World geography per se has maybe a couple of moths, if that, dedicated in present 1-12 grade instruction. When I get the students I can tell you half of them, or more, could not name and identify more than one ocean, give you accurately more than 3 to 5 world capitals, most still confuse continent-country-nation-state... They are a little better on US  geography though, because they were thought a little more of it.

             

            By the way I like you geographic handle :)

            Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

            by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:13:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do we still teach "germ theory" or is it all left (0+ / 0-)

              to happenstance and maybe they will or will not think disease is caused by bad vapors, evil spirits or hexes?

              Raising voters for one of the world powers (maybe not long) and they cant find their own ass on a globe or map!

              I know, I know. I have family teaching and they do a great job in good systems and still far too much "teach to the test" and colleagues not taking opportunities to work valuable lessons into the plan. Of course eliminating subjects that challenged parents fundamentalist belief system tended to be thought of as not quite basic. I remember a school board meeting back in the 70s down south in which a "pastor and flock" railed against anything beyond "read'n, ritin and rithmitic" that was all a true godly American needed to know. Fortunately there were enough of us "newcomers" around to stop that idiocy for a time.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:07:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Too often geography is taught (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jett, Iberian

            with fill-in-the-blank worksheets and word searches rather than actually working with globes.  If I can squeeze it in (It's not in the curriculum guide) I try to have my 11th and 12th grade environmental science students do some globe work -- finding coordinates of cities, finding distance on a great circle, etc. It's a favorite activity and one most students have not done before. They've circled latidtude and longitude in a word search, maybe, but the words don't really have any meaning for them.

            Light is seen through a small hole.

            by houyhnhnm on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:21:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  With "whiteboards" and Google Earth this is truly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jett

              sad. I know a grade school teacher that used the two to work geography into another lesson. After some more opportunities some of the class was reporting exploring the globe at home.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:56:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whiteboards are found in affluent communities (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jett, Iberian

                and private schools, whose students probably do fine in geography on standardized tests, if by "whiteboard" you mean something like an interactive "smart board"  My urban school district does not have whiteboards or LCD projectors or even computers available to more than a few teachers.

                There's nothing wrong with good old-fashioned globes.  I think working with globes may be preferable to virtual worksheets.  It's good for kids to have to put their arms around the earth.

                Light is seen through a small hole.

                by houyhnhnm on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, we have them, and students do not do quite (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jett, Iberian

                  "fine" in geographic knowledge from what I hear. They may pass tests.

                  No, there is nothing wrong with an old fashioned globe unless it too is a sign of affluence. For a time many years ago I was stuck down south in a school system starved by that "private academy" nonsense after integration. The area had lots of "outsiders" and "newcomers" and had better than average schools. I went absolutely ballistic when I asked one of my kids why they weren't shown this on the classroom globe while I was showing it on our globe at home. "Oh, the teacher doesn't check the globe out much." I found the school had two, locked in a supply room, requiring prearranged check out to use! My being ballistic and even offering to finance some globes had no effect. They were a "luxury" and "not necessary for insturction" I found. The "3 R" crowd was pretty loud in the area quarreling about evolution and library books with fair frequency.

                  My kids did not suffer too much as they got the extras at home. Others? Not so well. This thing of county-by-county, state-by-state decision on the education foundation for a 21st Century nation hoping to stay competitive is a fools game and a fundamental flaw in our founding concept. Our Constitution is a wonderful thing. It does have a few downsides and the fear, realistic in my view, that there is great danger in opening it to modernization is a contributing factor.

                  The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                  by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:01:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  It's appalling. I teach college as well..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pescadero Bill, Iberian

          I don't know how my students get so far into the system.

          Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

          by Benito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:10:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  W ran on anti-intellecualism. Recall the debates (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QuestionAuthority

        against Gore?  W would rebut every budget question, social security, etc. by repeating "fuzzy math, fuzzy math."  The man was saying he was to stupid too figure it out himself and too stupid to have someone else do it and brief him.  Who'd you rather have a beer with?  Alcoholic Good Ol'Boy W or Wonky Boring Al Gore?

        "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin

        by duckhunter on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:01:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hate to tell you this, but a lot of history ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sulthernao

        teaching is very weak, too.  Way too much of it is rote memorization of facts that are promptly forgotten right after the exam, and I suspect that over-reliance on standardized testing has only intensified that.  

        There is amazing scientific AND historical illiteracy.  My virtual apoplexy every time somebody announces that the Constitution "only considered blacks 3/5 of a man" happens way too often, and while the response is sometimes that the that compromise should never have been agreed to, it's frequently absolute amazement at the fact that this was a compromise between the the pro-slavery forces who wanted to count slaves as a full person, and anti-slavery forces who didn't want to count them at all, and that free blacks were ALWAYS counted as a full person.

    •  It correlates with asshattery (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray

      What I find telling in these numbers is that in every crosstab but two, "Not sure" beats out "No".

      Republicans and southerners are not only wrong about everything, but insist on being certain of the correctness of their wrong opinions.  I suspect this has a little to do with the fundamentalist mindset, for which being certain about your unsubstantiated beliefs is regarded as a moral virtue.

      Then again, a high proportion of African Americans are evangelical Christians, and yet they display twice the humility about their opinions (taking "Not sure" minus "No" as   a measure of humility) that whites do, a score of 11 versus a score of 5. So I'm reduced to the conjecture in my subject line.

  •  And yet every oil-drilling geologist I've met (11+ / 0-)

    is a Republican.

  •  What's the breakdown by age? (17+ / 0-)

    Plate tectonics is relatively new - older people would not have been taught this in school.  And Republicans are skewed to towards the older demographic.

    •  there are more cross tabs at the link... (7+ / 0-)

                 yes     No  Not sure
      18-29    48    20   32
      30-44    40    28   32
      45-59    43    24   33
      60+      39    30   31

      ...just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government. -the opposition

      by gooners on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:23:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not seeing a big age impact. (5+ / 0-)

        Interesting. I think the whole plate tectonics continents moving around and volcanoes and stuff... I think that's beyond what you learn in school -- it's now part of common culture, part of a common wisdom in a well that only some choose to drink from.

        Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

        by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:25:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do: (0+ / 0-)

          18-29 = More Democrats
          30-44 = More Republicans
          45-59 = More Democrats
          60+ = More Republicans

          I keep seeing this partisan pattern in a lot of polls. Young people are more liberal, the group after (Reaganites???) are more conservative, the group after is more liberal and old people are conservative.

          •  There was an opinion piece in the (0+ / 0-)

            Washington Post some time ago that noted the dumbing down was not general. The author noted a period in the 1970s when education really failed. I wish I could find the thing again because it was an interesting idea I wanted to cross check. The contention was that it is the forty somes now most likely to have been failed, they know that and are resentful. Does "gooners" table reflect that with the dip in "Yes" for 30-40?

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:32:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaolin, gooners

        Missed that... thanks.

        So there is a trend, but that could be accounted for by change in racial composition, most likely.

      •  Hmm, the McCain Voting Age Block (4+ / 0-)

        I hope you youngsters take one lesson from this age breakdown and the voting & other age breakdowns of the past couple years.

        Cut us boomers at least a little slack for failing to win so many fights against the Greatest Generation. Obama didn't win them over either.

        This statistic should illuminate. It wasn't purely because of goofy street theater.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

        That's shocking to me, because I'm 60, and very few people my age or older would have been exposed to this in school (basically, only those who took earth science courses in college), since it wasn't generally accepted when we were in elementary school.  But I can't imagine that ANYBODY under age 45 or sp who went to a public or a decent private or religious school wasn't exposed to it.

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      McCain's peer group was certainly in their formative years prior to the existence of continental drift. <snark>

      Green Tech. It's the right path to the future. Even GOPers should get that.

      by stork on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:52:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heathen! (21+ / 0-)

    We all know that the continents were separated by the Great Flood.

    Actually, an interesting factoid:  The speed of continental drift is almost exactly the same speed that your fingernails grow.

    Many people have no concept of what 200,000,000 years means...but if your fingernails grew for that length of time, they would cross the Atlantic.

  •  But the earth is only 5900 years old! Snark! (12+ / 0-)

    "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." -Joseph Stalin

    by Taxmancometh on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:20:25 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    It is very constructive, if also depressing, to see a survey of this nature -- one that is relevant to the political turmoil, yet not in the middle of the fray.

  •  Southern Whites left behind again ! nt. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, Cartoon Peril, sulthernao
    •  pssss .... stay very quiet about that (4+ / 0-)

      we're not supposed to "bash" any, uh ... "particular regions" per a few diaries back.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Southern White, sometimes teach Science (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Unmuzzled, ginatx, sulthernao

      You'd be surprised to find out how many of us do actually think.

      Always grateful to wake up alive.

      by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:00:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But you SHOULDN'T be surprised to find out (3+ / 0-)

        how many of us do actually "think."

        And did my IQ rise when I moved to and lived in NYC and Boston and got my Ivy League degree and then did it drop when I returned to Texas to build my business and be with my extended family? Should Harvard ask for its degree back, and should I be embarrassed? Am I a fraud? Am I an embarrassment to my nation and to the progressive movement? Why do I feel like some people want me to be?

        Should colleges and universities just stop admitting people from the south (leave them to southern colleges and universities only)? You know, maybe we got separate-but-equal all wrong, maybe it should be regional and not racial. Or maybe we just got segregation all wrong.

        Bashing the south is not a joke. It is not something to snicker about. It is breathtakingly offensive, ignorant, rude, and absolutely stultifying to any true progressive seeking to build a lasting majority.

        Disgusting. And on this site no less. Disgusting.

        Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

        by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:07:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you on this (3+ / 0-)

          I truncated my words too much.  As a Southern white, sometimes Science teacher I too find the South bashing offensive.  My post was meant to urge others not to generalize and give the South the closer, less biased look it deserves.  Anyone who thinks there is a shortage of ignorance and superstition outside of the South needs to take a closer look at their own region.

          Always grateful to wake up alive.

          by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:16:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  it is disgusting.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TX Unmuzzled

          all the southern bashing on here. I was raised and live in Tennessee and we were taught about pangea in grade school. we had excellent science courses all throughout school as a matter of fact.  My 7 year old daughter could explain pangea to you.  Not all white people in the south are ignorant, racist, mouth-breathing idiots.  I have a large circle of friends who are progressive liberals, we are involved in enviromental causes, we volunteer with many charitys, we are active in local politics and all of us have high level jobs after recieving college degrees.  Assuming someone is a racist jerk moron just because they are from or live in the south is just as bad as being a racist jerk moron.  

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Temptress of the Sun on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:40:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I love that the black/hispanics communities (11+ / 0-)

    are aware of this fact!  They should put this question on one of those idiotic standardized tests, eliminate some of that racial bias we all know exists on those tests.

    Pat Buchanan and Jeff Sessions are gonna go do that crack cocaine thing now.

    by dlh77489 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:20:49 AM PDT

  •  Anti-Intelligence (4+ / 0-)

    They are no better than the crazies waiting for 76 virgins after a successful suicide mission.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:20:55 AM PDT

    •  Ignorance not = to Homicidal Delusion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority

      Even racist belief by itself is not equal to homicidal delusion. (Violent racism is of course.)

      Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

      by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Killing Abortion Doctors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QuestionAuthority

        is part of their schtick - and it's homicidal delusion.

        Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

        by dpc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:30:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read past the headline. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          QuestionAuthority

          Even racist belief by itself is not equal to homicidal delusion. (Violent racism is of course.)

          It's showing up on my screen but maybe it's not on others. I know I posted it...

          Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

          by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:32:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm Not Convinced (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            that suicide bombers are operating from a position of racism - simply ignorance. I equate their ignorance based on a fundamental religion with that of the extreme in America whose ignorance is also based in a set of fundamental religious beliefs which deny truth.

            Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

            by dpc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:34:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone recreate a picture of Pangea with (4+ / 0-)

    the "countr" of Africa missing? We need a place for our friendly GOPosaur to live!

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:21:38 AM PDT

  •  Lets stamp out the scourge of republicanism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled

    a mind is a terrible thing to be wasted
    will you not please do your part and donate !

    "In Switzerland, only nonprofit insurers may participate."

    by indycam on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:21:46 AM PDT

    •  Who will pay taxes to fund (0+ / 0-)

      your bloated government?

      I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

      by uhswhut on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:21:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you thinking its the republicans (0+ / 0-)

        who pay the taxes in America ?

        "In Switzerland, only nonprofit insurers may participate."

        by indycam on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:41:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Federal income taxes? (0+ / 0-)

          Yes.  Alot of democrats in the 2 lowest quintiles of taxpayers who have virtually no tax liability.

          I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

          by uhswhut on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 04:35:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is English a language you are familiar with ? (0+ / 0-)

            "In Switzerland, only nonprofit insurers may participate."

            by indycam on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 05:58:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I answered your question. (0+ / 0-)

              In regards to Federal personal income tax, Republicans pay more.  Having to resort to questioning my intelligence.  Nice!  If you have data showing that democrats pay a higher percentage than republicans I would love to see it.  Unlike those of you on the left, I'm willing to admit I'm wrong and will gladly do so.  Let's see your data.

              I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

              by uhswhut on Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 10:02:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  These people's ugliness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    is only superceded by their arrogance - the arrogance that says they don't have to work to understand stuff - like the rest of us do.

  •  Bring out the Jews, motherfucker. (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, sulthernao
    Hidden by:
    Cartoon Peril

    Sure, we've got Lieberman and Perle, but we'll kick all your asses as Pangea. The loser gets Winehouse.

    "After two years of episodic fits and starts, I finally got past the first three paragraphs."

    by GussieFN on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:22:07 AM PDT

  •  The Republicans (7+ / 0-)

    are still looking for Eden on the map -- other stuff is confusing.

  •  While you use this poll to say... (4+ / 0-)

    Ha, ha, look how dumb the GOP is, that's a bit inconsistent with you later excusing how dumb white people are.  If you're going to laugh at the GOP, you should also laugh at white people.

    I would hope that this poll would be used for a broader point - the media needs to stop polling every damn question in the universe.  While ask the audience is a great strategy on who wants to be a millionaire, it's not a good way to set national policy.

  •  A possible defense of those (8+ / 0-)

    that say "unsure" is that...they may very well have just forgotten about their geology after a while.

    I know there are some subjects where I'm like "well, I don't remember anymore"

    At least it's only 26% that say no.

  •  There is an element of race in this. (8+ / 0-)

    I too was surprised by the sharp difference in the racial breakdown. But African Americans mostly agreed that "America" and "Africa" were once part of the same continent. That brought to mind that there is probably a cultural predisposition (uh ya think?) on this question. In other words, African Americans don't have a problem with the concept that all nations were once physically one.

    Others, well not so much.

    I think the outcome would have been different in some way had the question been about "America" and "Europe." (I don't suspect the correct answer ratio would be any lower for African Americans however. But I bet you'd see more correct answers from Whites.)

    Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

    by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:22:20 AM PDT

  •  How come not linking (9+ / 0-)

    to Devilstower's magnificent discussion of the whys and wherefores of this poll?

    And, why are you discussing this in one of the ways that he explains is dangerous?  "Believe" rather a question of "know".

    And, from his discussion, important is that twice as many people say yes to the facts -- and a good one-third, honestly, choose the "I don't know." Reality is that Americans are science illiterate -- good that a share recognize and state when they don't know something.

  •  Stop Contiental Drift! (5+ / 0-)

    This looks a little like the "Is Obama a U.S. citizen?" polling.

    There seems to be a chunk of the American public that clings to vestiges of white supremacist thinking, in many cases without even realizing it.  

    Stuck Between Stations : Thoughts from a bottomless pool of useless information.

    by Answer Guy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:23:04 AM PDT

  •  Interesting: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    I wonder if White american's inability to hold onto this fact comes from the fact that this land of privledge is mostly for the White Europeans, and kept pristine for them by Manifest destiny.

    If you think that America was once part of a large continent, not special in any sort of way, your unique little landmass no longer is unique, and you are no longer special.

    I also wonder if it goes the other way, since minorties have been considered "others" in popular culture, to know that all continents were the same helps coping with the kind of separation you have to deal with.

  •  the question itself is designed to be confusing (8+ / 0-)

    it says America, when in reality it should say North America. And the "Not Sure" column indicates a lot of "dude, wait, what?"

    However, that also speaks more to our general ignorance of geography. Americans suck at that. I was able to ascertain exactly what was meant by the question, but then again I was a geography major.

    (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

    by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:24:34 AM PDT

    •  especially since a lot of people think Africa.... (5+ / 0-)

      is a country, and most people use "America" to mean "United States". It sounds like they're asking if the country of the United States and the country of Africa were once on the same continent.

      But, yeah, it is still measuring stupid.

      ...just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government. -the opposition

      by gooners on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point. Goes to FeetAdmiral's point re WTF? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder

      The "WTF?" effect and so answering "not sure." When being asked a technical question with culturally-charged terms ("America", not a continent or even technically a name of a nation vs. "Africa", a technical continent...).

      Good catch. Interesting stuff. I like the point earlier, sorry I can't scroll right now, who said this says more about media and polling than the public.

      Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

      by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:36:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "America" is OK (0+ / 0-)

      Both N and S America were connected to Africa. The point of Brazil fits nicely with Nigeria and Cameroon.

      Maybe "the Americas" would be better.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:37:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Shouldn't that be South America? (0+ / 0-)

      The shorelines of Africa and South America obviously fit together.

  •  Science? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Why science is the tool of the devil! The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. I saw that in a movie so it must be true!

    But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. (1776)

    by banjolele on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:25:32 AM PDT

  •  I'm LOVING these polls! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, cybersaur

    You got a lot of mileage out of the last one, on the birthers!

    This is really good, scientific evidence of what we all know.  It is easier to be a Republican if you are either wilfully ignorant or stupid.  I think it would be a lot of fun to test Republican ignorance on a range of issues, and to try to get more media attention.

    "The red is going out. It's getting more bluer."

    by ivorybill on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:25:43 AM PDT

    •  me too (4+ / 0-)

      it's fascinating.

      It would be interesting to know whether people believe:

      That the earth is round

      That the earth goes around the sun

      That stars are as big as the sun but really far away

      That matter is made of atoms

      That once giant ice sheets covered much of North
      America.

      That bodily tissue is made up of cells.

      etc.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:43:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Part of the problem IMHO (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elektra

        ...is that many people confuse the words "belief" and "know." They are not equivalent.

        "...Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." Richard Feynman

        by QuestionAuthority on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:50:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you know? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          QuestionAuthority

          Or do you just believe that to be the case?
          I understand what you're saying, but ultimately, it all comes down to belief. You do not and cannot have direct knowledge of the truth. For example, you might claim to know we landed on the moon, but really, don't you just believe it?
          The two may not be technically equivalent, but it is easy to make arguments that muddy their perceived differences.

          George Bush and Dick Cheney are murderers.

          by cybersaur on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:09:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  British Observer story from 2005 (0+ / 0-)

        On the seventh day, America went to court

        Deals mainly with the Dover court battle about intelligent design. But at the end:

        1 adult American in five believes that the Sun revolves around Earth, according to one study carried out last summer.

        They don´t link to the study though. So no idea if it´s accurate.

  •  Can the rest of us secede? Please? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    These kind of shocking numbers are related, mostly, to religion. These GOP white conservative, evngelical sheeple really deserve their own country, no?

    Hey! Let's publicize a make-believe Rapture, and send them  someplace else.  With the right PR, they would fall for that crap, hook line and sermon.

    Given their truly pathetic math scores and failure to apply rational thinking, we could easily convince several million of those morans, maroons, and morons that 144,000  is really close to 2,000,000 or so.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:26:12 AM PDT

    •  If you want to cut off almost all economic growth (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal, QuestionAuthority

      go ahead.

      The "cut them loose" nonsense is as nonsensical and offensive as those who talk about "flyover country."

      How can we have even a united party or front if you don't think there's anything or ANYONE redeemable in an entire geography.

      Thank you for some basic dignity not to mention searing insight, Dr. Dean. Thank you for our Congressional majority and the presidency and the mandate, Dr. Dean. 50-states indeed.

      If you think regionalism is so well-advised, study the current Republican party, and don't tell me the south is all Republican because among voters it mostly tops out at 60% in any state, and many of the greatest cities are way way deep deep blue, including Houston.

      Republicans are on the wane her in Texas and other "southern" and obviously "southwestern" states.

      Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

      by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:41:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because, many in the south are not redeemable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssgbryan, QuestionAuthority

        Their faith excludes rational thinking. They start the brain washing, rinsing, and washing again at an early age. They then force kids to be reborn live on the 700 club, after which they celebate their teen daughters' vaginas with purity bowels. Maybe not all, but enough to make a mass deportation quite enticing.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:47:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is so offensive, so wrong, I'd ban you. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cardinal

          If I could. Wow. WOW! You MUST be drunk this morning. You get a pass for now I guess, we all have bad days.

          Let me restate your words thusly:

          [Ragheads'] faith excludes rational thinking. They start the brain washing, rinsing, and washing again at an early age. They then force kids to be [suicide bombers], after which they [circumcise] their teen daughters' vaginas [and pray for 77 virgins in the afterlife]. Maybe not all, but enough to make a mass [extinction] quite enticing.

          Bad bad bad bad day. Wow.

          Talk about a diary about IGNORANCE. Disgusting. Disgusting.

          Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

          by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:55:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  TX, please show where any fact I state (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ssgbryan

            is incorrect.

            Does the 700 Club show 5 and 6 yr olds being "reborn?" You betcha.

            Is that a form of brain washing? praise be.

            Are Purity Balls an effort to force abstinence policies on teens, even though they are shown to be abject failures? (Even worse, purity ball participants have been shown to have a higher incidence of unwanted pregnancies, and worse a far higher rate of STDs than their contemporaries who don't pledge their vaginas to daddyums.

            The same people who fight evolution on religious grounds, ignore basic biology, physics, chemistry, geology, and other sciences. They are S C A R Y, especially because they have such control over their children's ejukashun.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:21:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you attribute these things (0+ / 0-)

              to a large majority of the Southern population and I have a hard time believing that a large majority of Southerners are fundies.

              I'll give you that Southerners are religious but being religious automatically doesn't make one a fundamentalist.

              (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

              by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:26:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  what's the difference? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, agnostic

                Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

                by Benito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:18:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i'm an atheist (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  agnostic

                  but i take my own family as an example.

                  my grandmother is religious, but she will stand up to any preacher who goes off on a fundamentalist gay marriage tangent. She took one pastor to task over The DaVinci Code and Harry Potter, and then left the church never to return.

                  my aunt (her daughter) is a fundamentalist. pro-life, anti-gay marriage, talks in tongues, and gets into the culture war arguments. Forbids her grandkids from seeing Harry Potter. Thankfully, not a Republican.

                  (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

                  by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:38:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  not all fundies are southerners, and (0+ / 0-)

                not all southerners are fundies.

                but the two sets sure seem to overlap quite a bit.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:15:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  i'm hoping you meant purity balls (0+ / 0-)

          (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

          by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:11:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Do you think that the southerners you hate (0+ / 0-)

      would even care?  Tried to leave once if you recall.  Not all conservative southern whites are religious fundamentalists.  Its also a mistake to blame pathetic math scores on the WASPs alone.  There is a large democrat voting block in most southern states that does nothing to bring up our "pathetic" math scores.  32% in my state.

      I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

      by uhswhut on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where's Antartica? nt (0+ / 0-)

    A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends. - Baltasar Gracian

    by desiderata on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:26:17 AM PDT

  •  Is this anti-science or racist? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled, science, sethyeah

    White, Southern Republicans don't believe American and Africa were once part of the same continent. Hmmm. What if you asked the question differently, say it they believe America and Europe were once part of the same continent?

    Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

    by loblolly on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:26:47 AM PDT

  •  yay for Pangaea! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethyeah

    but one has to wonder, what is it with whites that seems to make them slow in the uptake of scientific things?

    Ici s´arrète la loi.

    by marsanges on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:27:13 AM PDT

  •  It looks like the 1980s Afrocentrism boom... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooners

    ...among African-Americans has had a salutary effect.  

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:01 AM PDT

  •  Money well spent (0+ / 0-)
    Instead of educating people, let's fund a survey to belittle them. Mission accomplished!

    Not a Democrat, nor a Republican. This libertarian is a free-thinker.

    by emn316 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:43 AM PDT

  •  As a scientist, these numbers are like a (7+ / 0-)

    slap in the face.

    "I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see, I never studied law." -Bugs Bunny

    by KroneckerD on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:46 AM PDT

    •  we have to talk (6+ / 0-)

      not only amongst ourselves. continually with everyone we can get to talk with in the general public. thats rare enough. One of the good things is the opening up of universities for external, mostly older aged folks with time and money on their hands, to let them study if they wish, and get grades on their 80th. These people have famileies and grandchildren. They are the best distributors of an open mindset we could wish for.  

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:33:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It has ever been thus... (6+ / 0-)

      People never understand the science of the day.  It's important that some people do, and that decisionmakers do. A good friend of mine is a biologist and I keep telling him that if he really manages to get 10% of his undergrads to think and love science, he's done a great service.

      It's sad, but scientific literacy reached a certain level in Victorian England, when it was entertaining and fashionable... but even then there was so much ignorance and misapplication of science.  It worries me that we seem to be going backwards in the US.  

      "The red is going out. It's getting more bluer."

      by ivorybill on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not to mention as an educated adult... (2+ / 0-)

      I'm horrified, but not surprised. After all, we lived in SW MO for several years. Frightening place to be for the well-educated at times...

      We raised our kids to be critical thinkers and worked hard to ensure they would understand and appreciate what science has done for the human race. They both are working on Master's degrees in their fields. I think we can give ourselves a true "Mission Accomplished."

      "...Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." Richard Feynman

      by QuestionAuthority on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:55:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  God put Indians in North America (6+ / 0-)

    to kill all the dinosaurs and watch over the place until it was sufficiently isolated from the other icky continents for the creation of the United States.

    My hypothesis has not been sufficiently disproven! Therefore it should be taught in schools.

    I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. - Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC

    by Marinesquire on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:28:49 AM PDT

  •  the question is somewhat misleading (8+ / 0-)

    i know all about pangaea, gondwanaland, rodinia, and a few others. yet when i saw this question, i was inclined to answer "no" because i did not believe that [north] america and africa ever formed a single continent by themselves.

    so it is possible that the phrasing of the question may be missing some individuals who otherwise know about the history of plate tectonics.

    freedom isn't free, but it isn't dumb either.

    by astro on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:30:28 AM PDT

  •  Once Republicans were crew cut... (4+ / 0-)

    ...wore white shirts with pen holders and a slide rule and believed in science.

    Now they've devolved into some kind of primitive tribe with strange rituals and beliefs.

    As you all know a number of lifeboats left the TITANIC half empty because of the chaos that prevailed when the ship was abandoned.

    In the same fashion, the Republicans are going to drag this country down with them, no matter what Obama, we or anyone else does.

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:31:59 AM PDT

  •  You should do a poll (6+ / 0-)

    where you ask a lot of basic questions.

    "what element is the primary component of water"

    1. hydrogen
    1. oxygen
    1. carbon
    1. nitrogen

    "President Lincoln was the __ President of the United states:"

    1. 2nd
    1. 5th
    1. 16th
    1. 22nd

    "How long does it take light to reach the earth from the sun?"

    1. instantaneously
    1. 5 seconds
    1. 8 minutes
    1. 3 hours

    etc.

  •  Oh please continue polling questions like this. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, ivorybill, mightymouse, sethyeah

    It's just absolutely amazing to have polling data showing the ignorance of the American electorate.  Maybe that sounds elitist, but I am not exactly sure why I should listen to someone about roving squads of Medicare assassins when that person doesn't know about Pangea.

    "We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."-FDR

    by electricgrendel on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:35:30 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't assume all schoolchildren learn (4+ / 0-)

    about this. People over 70, for instance, may have had fundamentally different textbooks as children than you or I.

    In addition, we do have a problem in this country of teaching such important scientific and other information in the elementary schools. By the time I got to high school, I took biology and chemistry, but no geology. That would have been an elective at most schools, if available at all.

    The same problem exists for the history of European/Indian interaction on the continent. In many districts, local history and the history of native Americans is nothing but a brief, anonymous unit in a high school american history course. It's in elementary school that children learn a lot more about the original europeans who arrived, and the Indian tribes in their area, etc.  

    So by the time they get to high school, details are forgotten, and the high school is more interested in core subject areas that are tested. This leaves many people utterly ignorant of the violence of the initial north american conquest, for example (a teacher wouldn't even be allowed to tell children what actually happened with the conquistadors - that's X-rated stuff). In the town where I went to high school, the massacre of 180 native Americans in the 19th century is a huge piece of local history - but not even taught in the schools, because it's too violent for elementary school, and by high school, there is no local history class.

    •  That's a very good point. (3+ / 0-)

      The only thing I remember about how utterly violent the conquistadors were was my Western History teacher explained that being on horseback was a tactical advantage because the person riding the horse had a sword and was head level with someone standing upright.

      Now- I'm fairly certain that's not true, but the sentiment behind it gave me a tiny clue as how vicious that conquest was.

      "We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."-FDR

      by electricgrendel on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:44:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's one of many factors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        electricgrendel

        but if you want to seriously freak yourself out, look up the conquest of Cuba. Extermination is the only word for it.

        •  Yeah. I took a Latino literature class in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          decembersue

          college and the professor that taught the class was a fiery and completely upfront Latina.  She had no qualms in informing the lily white students about the realities of the conquests of the peoples of the Caribbean and Central and South America.  It was also important to understand the history that lead so many different groups of people to write the literature that they did.

          "We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."-FDR

          by electricgrendel on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:36:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Indeed, Pangea is a scientific fact... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, sethyeah

    ...that little drawing? Not so much.

    Daily Kos is doing pretty well if they can afford to commission polls of likely voters on this "issue".  Not sure what it proves other than there are a lot of ignorant people in this country.  But we knew that from watching TV this week, didn't we.

    Oh, and it makes us feel smarter to know other people are so dumb.

    Sigh.

    "....they say that what you mock, will surely overtake you, and you become the monster, so the monster will not break you..." -U2 Peace on Earth

    by The Navigator on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:36:23 AM PDT

  •  Fine my me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethyeah

    Makes it easier for our kids to compete with their kids for jobs,

    Memo to right wing hate mongers: I am a Second Amendment liberal.

    by RandySF on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:38:00 AM PDT

  •  It's kind of stupid to ridicule (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, ginatx, sethyeah

    others for their lack of scientific knowledge while at the same time evidencing a lack of even the most rudimentary understanding of what the hell you're talking about:

    That the continents were once a connected land mass is scientific fact

    No it's not. It's a theory. Here's a text from one of those Grade 5 curricula to which you refer:

    Scientist for hundreds of years have tried to figure out why the earth's continents are shaped and positioned on the earth as they are now. In the 1700's scientists thought that a series of major natural disasters, like floods and volcanic eruptions, caused the continents to drastically change.

    In the 1800's scientists thought that gradual changes in earth's crust as well as natural disasters shaped the earth's continents to create their current shape.

    In the early 1900's a new theory was developed. This theory was the theory of continental drift. The theory of continental drift begins about 200 to 225 million years ago with the super-continent Pangea. The theory of Pangea is the idea that all the continents were once joined together as one giant super-continent, which eventually started to split apart and create the smaller, spread out, continents that we have now.

    http://www.uvm.edu/...

    Get your facts straight before you start making fun of the ignorance of others . . .

    •  actually it is fact (4+ / 0-)

      confirmed by the same geologic structues (and fossils) being found on widely different continents. Also, magnetic stiping and subduction of the continental plates is all confirmation of the theory, thus, it's fact.

      brush up on your plate tectonics.

      (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

      by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:45:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are no "laws" in science. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethyeah, QuestionAuthority

        I was schooled on that on this site earlier this year. It's a theory because we can't go back and witness it and we can't recreate it in some "disposable Earth" galactic lab.

        Hence, I think it's fair to say it is not a "fact," but a widely and universally accepted tenet.

        Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

        by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:48:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know what "laws" have to do with this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethyeah, QuestionAuthority

          There are facts and there are theories. It was alleged that plate tectonics is a fact, when it's actually a theory. If you can't tell the difference between a fact and a theory you have no business making fun of other people for their lack of scientific knowledge.

          •  "Laws" and "Facts" get falsely equated. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            QuestionAuthority

            Sheesh.

            Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Barbara Jordan, Lloyd Bentsen, Jim Hightower, Dan Rather, Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, LBJ

            by TX Unmuzzled on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You are technically correct (0+ / 0-)

            However, you need to account for the difference between how the average English speaker uses the word "theory" and how a scientist uses it.

            A true scientific theory is so fundamentally grounded in evidence and fact that for all practical purposes, it can be considered a "law." For example, the "Law" of gravity, the "Laws" of thermodynamics. Plate tectonics is almost to that point, as it would take a lot of well-grounded evidence to overturn it.

            When the average person uses "theory," they usually mean what a scientist would call a "hypothesis."

            Big difference.

            "...Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." Richard Feynman

            by QuestionAuthority on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:03:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Follow your own freakin' link (3+ / 0-)

        From the wikipedia link that you yourself provided:

        Plate tectonics (from the Greek τέκτων; tektōn, meaning "builder" or "mason") describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere. The theory builds on the older concepts of continental drift, developed during the first decades of the 20th century by Alfred Wegener, and seafloor spreading, developed in the 1960s.

        •  and yet, like gravity ,evolution and relativity (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cloud9ine, QuestionAuthority

          the theory is easily observed and confirmed.

          in fact you can watch it in action if you're willing to sit long enough in Iceland.

          theory, yes, but the definition of theory states

          1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.  
          1. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
          1. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.  
          1. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.  
          1. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
          1. contemplation or speculation.
          1. guess or conjecture.

          there's nothing conjectural about plate tectonics, so it falls under #1 of the word theory.

          (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

          by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whatever definition of "theory" it falls (0+ / 0-)

            under, it's not a "fact", and to make fun of other people while claiming that it is a fact is just ignorant.

            In any event, it terms of whether it falls into the first or second definition of "theory", I would think that relativity and gravity would be more the first, and evolution and plate tectonics the second because they are explanations for past events that can't be captured in an experiment or an equation, whereas relatively and gravity can be tested in real time.

            It doesn't really matter though; the first definition of "theory" is not "scientific fact".

            •  ahem (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              QuestionAuthority

              again, brush up on plate tectonics.

              the theory explains why we can directly observe the following:

              1. Seafloor spreading (and Iceland spreading)
              1. Subduction (we all should have received a lot of info on this after the Indian Ocean tsunami)
              1. why we have mountains
              1. and earthquakes, even intraplate earthquakes.

              (+0.12, -3.33) agree w/ me or go to redstate. i'm snarking. too many aren't.

              by terrypinder on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:13:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure all of those are facts (0+ / 0-)

                and then we have a theory that attempts to explain. Kos posits the theory as a fact and all that I'm saying is that it is not. Based on our theories and the evidence that we have available, we think that there was once a super-continent made up of all existing land masses, but we do not know this to be true for a fact.

            •  It's a fact (0+ / 0-)

              You're conflating the scientific terminology used to describe it with whether or not it actually happened. It is technically true to call Plate Tectonics a "theory", but regardless of the semantics used, if Pangea once existed and drifted apart, then that is a fact.

              George Bush and Dick Cheney are murderers.

              by cybersaur on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:25:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure, if it in fact did exist and drift apart (0+ / 0-)

                then it's a fact. That's a tautology. though, and the "fact" is that we don't know for sure that it did exist, we just think it did based on our theory of plate tectonics and the available evidence.

        •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti, terrypinder

          This is a lot like discussions about evolution.

          Evolution:

          Deniers: Evolution is not a fact!  It's just a theory.

          Scientists: Evolution is a fact. It can be observed today. The theory explains how it happens.

          Plate tectonics:

          pragprogress (quoting [ik] Wikipedia: Plate tectonics is not a fact!  It's just a theory.

          Scientists: Plate tectonics is a fact. It can be observed today. The theory explains how it happens.

          There's no question that crustal plates move on the Earth's surface.  It is an observable fact; not a theory.  The theory comes in when we try to explain how and why this fact happens.  As with the theory of natural selection, plate tectonics represents our best explanation of the "why" and "how."

          •  True (0+ / 0-)

            if the question was, "do continents move on the Earth's surface", then I would agree that it's a fact.

            But if the question is "Was there once a supercontinent made up of all of the current continents, i.e. Pangea", then the answer is that it's a theory.

            •  I think it is more accurate to describe it (0+ / 0-)

              As a predictive outcome of a theory, based on observed fact (ranging from a remarkable congruence of shape to similarity in very old rocks between formerly adjacent parts of the two continents).

              •  I don't really understand that (0+ / 0-)

                I would just say that based on the observed facts as you state them, there is a theory that there was once a super-continent made up of all of the existing continents. A "predictive outcome of a theory" sounds to me like something that could be observed in real time in an experiment.

                •  It can be (0+ / 0-)

                  For example, one might predict that if the continents once were connected, there should be similar rocks on the two continents in predictable positions considering the geometry of the continents and the hypothesized age of their split.

                  Later examination of deep rock cores and outcrops of old rocks on both continents showed that to be the case. In other words, it was predicted that this would be the case, and once someone looked into it the predictions turned out to be accurate.  

                  Running the clock backward, a prediction of plate tectonics is that all the continents once were connected, given things such as continental shape, the location and shape of rifts and mid-oceanic ridges, the location of subduction zones, rock types, paleontology, terrestrial ecology, and the ongoing movement of continental plates that we can observe and measure today.  It was a predictive outcome: a prediction of how things very likely were in the past.  

    •  Buddy, to let you down easy... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority, elektra

      A theory is an assertion with proof, very close to a fact.

      The word you are thinking of is hypothesis. Putting 'theory' in bold does not make it a hypothesis.

      •  No it's not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QuestionAuthority

        In science there are facts that are observable either in nature, or through experience, and then there are theories by which we explain those facts. Plate tectonics is still a theory, no matter how you cut it. I don't know what hypothesis has to do with it. I didn't call it a hypothesis and neither did the diarist.

        •  Plate tectonics is a theory (0+ / 0-)

          You seem to think a theory is a hypothesis.

          A theory is a a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world.

          Does "well-substantiated" sound like "fact". If not, we are done here.

          •  If you want to use your own dictionary (0+ / 0-)

            then I guess we are done. In the dictionary used by the rest of us, a theory is not the same thing as a fact, no matter how well-substantiated it is. In fact, if you look above in the comments to my original post, you'll see that in some definitions, theory is in fact defined in opposition to fact.

        •  I love when people say 'just a theory' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          Like someone said downstream, so is gravity, magnetism, electricity etc.

        •  Our terminology is irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          It doesn't matter how we describe it. If our theory is correct then it is a fact. Just because we refer to something as a scientific theory doesn't mean it isn't a fact. Hell, if science didn't exist at all it would still be a fact that the continents are moving and were once part of a single land mass.

          George Bush and Dick Cheney are murderers.

          by cybersaur on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:31:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is a fact that continents are moving (0+ / 0-)

            because we have observed that. That they were all once part of a super-continent that looked like the map of Pangea is a theory. It may have been the case, but we don't know for that for a fact because we weren't there.

    •  Gravity is also a theory (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      astro

      Theories can be proved, they become facts but do not stop to be called theories.

      Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

      by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:03:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gravity is a law (0+ / 0-)

        Scientific Laws are basically hteories that nobody argues about any more, such as Newton's Laws of Motion.

        Always grateful to wake up alive.

        by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:10:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, but is a law a fact? (0+ / 0-)
          •  Facts are descriptions of phenomena (0+ / 0-)

            They're the building blocks of hypotheses, theories and laws.  
            When the facts don't fit, new testing is required and maybe a new hypothesis, theory or law arises to replace the old.

            Always grateful to wake up alive.

            by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:19:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That sounds right to me (0+ / 0-)

              So, again, Pangea is a theory that explains facts, i.e. the observed phenomena that continents move, that some species that can't fly are found on more than one continent, etc. But it's still the theory to explain a set of facts, and it's not a fact.

              •  that's pretty much the Scientific method (0+ / 0-)

                Scientists observe, form a hypothesis, test it and create a theory or disprove the hypothesis and go on to form a new one.  Theories that stand the test of time become Laws.  That may not be textbook definition but it's pretty mch what happens.

                Always grateful to wake up alive.

                by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:47:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                  So we have hypotheses, theories and laws, none of which are facts.

                  •  A fact is a description of phenomena (0+ / 0-)

                    It is a sentence that describes what we sense.  "The apple falls"  that's a fact.  Water becomes a solid when it's cold.  That's a fact.  A theory proposes that water becomes a solid because it's molecules slow down, or a gas when it's molecules speed up.  Those are even covered by Newton's Laws of Motion.  A hypothesis states If I___ then ___. It's a test.  "If I apply heat to water it will boil and turn to gas."  I turn on the stove, test it and prove the hypothesis.  The facts, i.e., the water disappears, supports my hypothesis.  So when fundamentalists say, "Evolution is not a fact, it's a theory."  they are right.  It's higher than a fact.  The facts support the theory.  Evolution is not a fact, it's a reality.  The more we understand it, the closer it becomes to being a Scientific Law.

                    Always grateful to wake up alive.

                    by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:03:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  No they don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago

        As long as they're still called theories, they are not facts.

        •  Please read this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Subo03

          Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

          by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:18:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good link (0+ / 0-)

            If there are hypotheses, theories and facts in science, and scientific literature consistently refers to Pangea as a theory, then why is it correct to state that it's a scientific fact? According to your link the three concepts are relatively distinct, even in the scientific context.

            •  It's complicated (0+ / 0-)

              Because we are arguing about language not science. Right now you poll geologists and geographers and you will get a 99% saying that  plate tectonics theory, the main theory from where Pangea derives, is right, that Pangea, with one shape or another happened.

              The problem lies more with the original Wegener's theory of Continental drift, part's of it now disproven and parts assumed by the new theory.The Plate tectonics theory was not fully developed until the end of the 1960s, very short time in scientific minds and that adds to the confusion. With what we know now we assume that Pangea existed, the geological, biological and fossil records sustain that argument, but we are not completely sure, maybe never be, of the shame and movement of it and other super continents.

              Great visual link to the basic of the facts in favor of the theory

              Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

              by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:03:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Now we're getting somewhere (0+ / 0-)

                Everything you said above makes perfect sense to me. In the end, however, your link talks about facts in support of a theory, that theory being plate tectonics and Pangea and the facts being other things.

          •  excellent link (0+ / 0-)

            It all boils down to literacy.  Scientific, historical and mathematical literacy.  In my experience as a teacher all too may abandon it before it bears fruit.

            Always grateful to wake up alive.

            by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:17:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  bull (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          The atomic theory is called a theory.

          The Copernican theory is called a theory.

          They are also facts.  The words (in science) are not mutually exclusive.  

          •  If the words are not mutually exclusive (0+ / 0-)

            then why have different words? Why not just call everything, whether it's observed or not, whether it's the product of logic and deduction or not, whether it's been tested or not, a theoryfact?

            •  the english language, alas (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Subo03

              is not always logical.  Scientists refer to the theories of relativity, evolution, atoms and the Copernican theory, even though those are facts.  

              They refer to Newton's Law, even though it is, in fact, wrong.  So "laws" can be true or false.  Some theories (phlogiston theory) are wrong, and some (atomic theory) are right--the word "theory", by itself, says nothing about truth or falsehood.

              Even the flat earth theory, which is clearly wrong (but still qualifies as a scientific theory), is useful -- you use it every time you drive your car.

            •  gravity as law and gravitational force as theory (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              QuestionAuthority, Subo03

              Gravity is a fact.  However, the mechanism by which gravity "works" is a theory, and one that has evolved since Newton.  You don't need to understand the theory to get the "fact" of gravity.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              Evolution is much the same.  It is a fact, but the mechanism by which evolution works is explained by a body of theories.  

              Fact and theory are not mutually exclusive, but they refer to different aspects of a phenomenon.

        •  That's not true (0+ / 0-)

          If the theory is correct then it is a fact!

          George Bush and Dick Cheney are murderers.

          by cybersaur on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:36:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  the silly "theory v. law" argument... (4+ / 0-)

      ...drives a lot of the anti-evolution blather. the terms arose by historical accident, with many renaissance scientists calling their findings "laws" but most modern scientists more accurately calling them "theories."

      what really drives the anti-evolutionists bonkers is the fact (yes, fact) that the "theory" of evolution is more complete and accurate than the "law" of gravity.

      freedom isn't free, but it isn't dumb either.

      by astro on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:21:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Kos had called plate tectonics a "law" (0+ / 0-)

        then I would have no issue. And I agree that between evolution and gravity, we probably more evidence for evolution than for gravity. But neither I would think could be called a "fact".

      •  Laws are theories nobody argues about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QuestionAuthority

        Taht's why Newton gets more respect than Darwin.  Nobody falls up.  The more facts that support the Theory of Evolution the closer it will become law.  Fundamentalists are right.  The Theory of Evolution is not a fact.  Facts create hypotheses and support or debunk theories.  It's simple Scientific method.  They divorce themselves from reasonat the very start.  It's no wonder they cannot come to a rational conclusion.

        Always grateful to wake up alive.

        by Subo03 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:12:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All within... (2+ / 0-)

    ...the last 6000 years, right?

    Oh, there you are, Perry. -Phineas -SLB-

    by boran2 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:40:05 AM PDT

  •  Most "ancient Earth" maps annoy me (2+ / 0-)

    because they show continental shelves and modern continental boundaries, but all too rarely the continents as the looked then.

    There were way more inland and shallow continental seas than plots like this usually show.

    I forget the name of the wonderful coffee table book I have that shows the whole deal.

  •  I just stomped my feet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    I just stomped my feet on my floor.  The floor was solid, not wavy.  Continental drift is obviously a liberal godless myth.  This is only a slight exaggeration of what I was taught in a Christian school in the south.  

    That being said, I would like to see a poll where Africa is replaced by Europe.

  •  The willful ignorance (3+ / 0-)

    of many Americans is deeply disturbing to me.

    Don't bet against us!

    by BDsTrinity on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:41:59 AM PDT

  •  I also object to the form of the question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, Norm in Chicago, Subo03

    People don't (shouldn't) think about scientific theories in terms of belief. The preponderance of evidence may show such and such a thing, and we can accept it as established in that sense. But it is religion, not science that concerns itself with "belief".

    So, depending on how picky of a mood I was in, I might well have answered "no" to the question, even though I certainly understand that the preponderance of evidence supports the theory, such as biological and genetic relatedness of species that are widely separated geographically plus evidence about the existence of and the behavior of faults. This kind of thing simply isn't in the domain of believing or not believing, to me.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  Not so my picky friend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority

      Webster's Dictionary disagrees with you.  "Belief" is defined as:

      Conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

      The point Kos made was that there is an irrefutable body of scientific evidence that Pangea existed.  A considerable percentage of Republicans don't believe that....despite the evidence to the contrary.

      If you wish to consult the dictionary yourself on this point, here is the link:

      Mirriam Webster Online: Belief

      •  If it is "irrefutable" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TealVeal, QuestionAuthority

        then it is not scientific.

        I'm making a distinction that I think is important, and one for which the dictionary is not the best source.

        For example, Merriam Webster defines "faith" as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". Under that definition, one could as well as "Do you have faith in scientific principle X", which is absurd.

        The essence of science is refutability, falsifiability. That's how science progresses.

        In fact, I was just reading an article this morning that contains several interesting examples of major scientific theoretical advances made during our lifetimes that were later disconfirmed or modified (the article is in French, sorry).

        Greg Shenaut

        •  This is semantics (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          QuestionAuthority

          And debating the meaning of the world 'belief' misses the point. Indeed, the choice of that word highlights exactly what we should be concerned with.

          There is a great deal of scientific consensus that continental drift is real. So much so that it is expected that an educated layman should know this and, regardless of question wording, answer appropriately. For instance - do you believe that George Washington was our first President?

          Awful wording that suggests that answering no may be appropriate because it's implied it is an unsubstantiated idea...but the point is that everyone should know it is not. Putting the word 'belief' in there gives people wiggle room to express their own bias/belief on a subject there otherwise wouldn't be any on. It allows them to say what they really think.

          Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

          by Benito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:37:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, exactly, it is semantics (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Benito

            Semantics is the study of meaning, and in this case, the meaning of the word "belief" used in the question detracted from the usefulness of the poll. Are you suggesting that meaning is not relevant to the construction of questions in a poll?

            I would have preferred the simpler, "Were the land masses of today's America and Africa once contiguous?"*

            Or "Was George Washington our first president?"

            The wiggle room is already there, since one of the choices was "I'm not sure".

            Greg Shenaut

            *Incorporating what other comments have said about the cultural aspects of the word "continent"

            •  usefulness of the poll (0+ / 0-)

              At least in my mind.....

              Wasn't to accurately measure public knowledge of or acceptance of a scientific fact, but to elicit evidence of an ideological bias against 'science' itself.

              Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

              by Benito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:57:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Stop home schooling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dunvegan, QuestionAuthority

    A) Is a crime against the kids and no other civilized  nation allows parents to pretend they can teach from English to history to math and geography form 1st grade to high school level. Home schooling is wrong

    B)Set an enforce a real science standard, and do not allow graduates from religious schools or home schooling or private institutions in general, to access real education or validated degrees if they don't pass the bar
    (Not to say that all religious schools are bad, I went to a catholic school and was tough evolution and science in general including Geography).

    C)Focusing nearly exclusively in Math and English has been and will be a disaster. Creating a natural science class were everything is put in a pot is promoting mediocre knowledge at best.

    D) Get better teachers, schools and standards particularly in the first 5 grades. Also teach  world history and world geography and science in those grades.

    Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

    by Iberian on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:46:15 AM PDT

  •  once again, it's religion (3+ / 0-)

    For the most part, this is a religious thing.  You can see it by the numbers in the South.

    Science comepetes with religious beliefs more often than not, and these folks will always go with religion over everything else.

    I keep hoping society will evolve past that nonsense.  It's gaining ground and moving in the right direction, but way too slow for my taste.  But, there's not much that can be done about it, so I'm just resigning myself to having to put up with it...

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:47:14 AM PDT

  •  I Didn't Know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Until we started watching The Day The Earth Was Made, or whatever the title of it is.  It's a fascinating series.

    When you see the map above, it should be absolutely obvious we were once together.  It goes together like a puzzle.

  •  it amuses me that minorities know that scientific (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooners, BDsTrinity

    fact better than whites, especially blacks, which implied what i always believed

    "ignorance is directly proportional to the rate at which the fact personally affect you"

    Johnosahon's LAW.

  •  Guess lots and lots of children got left behind. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooners, sethyeah, QuestionAuthority

    Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. George Carlin

    by temptxan on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:50:58 AM PDT

  •  Seperate but unequal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority
  •  Raw data? (0+ / 0-)

    Is the raw data available? I teach research methods and would like to look at crosstabs by other independent variables - e.g., religion - if they were measured.

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:54:57 AM PDT

  •  It aint so! The baby Jesus tells me so!!! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation. George Carlin

    by gereiztkind on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:54:59 AM PDT

  •  Ignorant, fundamentalist, evangelical, whites... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, QuestionAuthority

    Are the biggest threat to our continued survival and prosperity.

    Democracy doesn't work well when stupid is either a majority or a big enough minority to block anything from getting done.

  •  In 6000 years, you think the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    continents moved so far apart?

    That is not valid based on current rates of movement. I see their point. ;)

  •  It would not surprise me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, jmknapp, QuestionAuthority

    if the results of the response from whites was due not just to an anti-science attitude, but also to racism.  This propensity to classify nonwhite people as "other" might make them antipathetic towards the fact that the place where black people come from and the place where they live were once the same continent.  (Of course, there were no people anywhere at the time that Pangea existed, but the Fundamentalists wouldn't recognize that as a fact either.)

    -5.13,-5.64; EVERYTHING is an approximation! -Hans A. Bethe

    by gizmo59 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:56:14 AM PDT

  •  Good Book - "Short History of Nearly Everything" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BDsTrinity, QuestionAuthority

    I am reading this book now.  For non-scientists, it is a wide-ranging, but quick survey of scientific history in a number of fields. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to remember a bit of grade school science.  

  •  Animated Map? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, QuestionAuthority

    Is there an animation anywhere that shows the Earth's surface, from the earliest known arrangement through today, developing through its forms? Continents floating around the oceans, rising and falling, riding their tectonic plates? With a timeline, and preferably a pause button?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:15 AM PDT

  •  Very enlightening poll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, QuestionAuthority

    I wonder how white Repubs feel about the great heliocentrism hoax?

  •  So in other words... GOP doesn't get the drift ? (4+ / 0-)

    pahrump-pum, try the veal.

    "It's just amazing what people will do to get out of being the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee."

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:03:07 AM PDT

  •  {{{GROAN!}}} (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    ... only 42 percent of Americans know this well-established, non-controversial bit of scientific fact.

    Shoot me now. How does our species keep from killing itself off in some gigantic act of teh stupid?

    Or is this manufactured mob violence we're seeing bussed in around the country the start of some sort of mega-violence?

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary." -Handmaid's Tale

    by Cenobyte on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:03:12 AM PDT

  •  Oh, hell's-a-poppin'... (0+ / 0-)

    the scores are better than they deserve to be on this question, because (drum-roll) the Bible supports the idea of one continent that "was divided in Peleg's day" (Genesis 10:25).

    Quite apart from the Africa-America potential for racist interpretation, it would have been a more telling survey of scientific knowledge had some aspect of  time been part of it, as in "do you believe that all continents were one land mass {n} millions of years ago?"

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:06:36 AM PDT

  •  Why, why, why, why if this is (3+ / 0-)

    dkos' own polling, or done for us, do we continue to frame this question in terms of "belief."

    I do not believe that America and Africa were once part of the same continent.  This is a scientific fact that I know about.

    I save my believing for things way bigger than this.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:06:40 AM PDT

    •  I think it's a good way to phrase it (0+ / 0-)

      because it gives people the wiggle room to say what they really think on a subject there otherwise wouldn't be any debate on.

      The question:

      "Is there scientific evidence supporting the theory of continental drift, yes/no/don't know?
       
        May foster more 'don't know' responses because if you are unsure and don't want to feel stupid in the face of authority (science) you'll say don't know as opposed to no. In this case, pleading ignorance is psychologically safer than admitting ideological bias which you really do have. But when you state it in terms of belief - you give the ideological bias safe haven to come out. I.E. - well, since we're talking about beliefs, then, no I don't believe in continental drift. What's missing here is the reason why they say no - my guess would be religious belief systems but that's a supposition until we get data that indicates that.

      The question isn't really about basic knowledge, its about triggering a hidden bias that otherwise might be kept hidden. And it's the bias which is important.

      Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

      by Benito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:49:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Non-controversial? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    If you're a Creationist, you would deny this.  Why?  Well, obviously continental drift takes A LONG TIME.  Millions of years.  The Bible is pretty specific in parts about the geographic layout of the ME.  Since the ME looks pretty much as it did back then, there is no possible way that everything could have been smooshed together.  QED.

    [Journalism] is media agnostic. - Kos

    by RichM on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:07:16 AM PDT

  •  The world isn't flat?!?........... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Sounds like another left-wing conspiracy to me. I'll have to ask Rep. "Mr. Science" Imhoff about this, he's up on all that stuff.

    Seriously, my favorite T-shirt of all time, was an embroidered T from the Cinncy gift shop my little girl work in. They pronounced it pan-jay-a and the front was a multicolor depiction of the unified land mass. I greatly miss the conversations it inspired with perfect strangers.

    IGTNT...Honor the Fallen...Respect Their Loved Ones.

    by geez53 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:08:12 AM PDT

  •  The evidence isn't dead bones... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    ...it's live earthquake faults.

    One of them goes through Sarah Palin's turf, literally.  It last manifested itself very publicly in 1960 (is that the exact date?) (I assume there have been earthquakes there since then, too); it was a 9.0-on-the-Richter-scale earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in the US.  And don't forget all those volcanos in Alaska that the Republicans don't want to monitor, the ones underneath the principal air routes between the U.S. east coast and Asia.  Plate tectonics manifests itself quite visibly and audibly.

  •  Interesting. However, I do wish banning the words (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority, marleycat

    "believe in" when associated with science could be accomplished. There is no "believe in plate tectonics" as there is sound evidence. In science, if and when new evidence causes a part of the scientific theory, the model based on test and evidence, to be discarded is still not a change in belief, it is adjustment to better fit with evidence.

    The constant use of "believe in" plate tectonics or evolution or big bang or any other evidence based scientific theories as we now know them is misleading. It is careless use of terms that opens the door to hard science and the evidence backing it to being just another "opinion" or "belief" to the general public.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:11:53 AM PDT

  •  I always preferred Gondwanaland (0+ / 0-)

    "Yours for Humanity" Abby Kelley

    by Abby Kelleyite on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:15:35 AM PDT

  •  Hate to say it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    but a wise man once said many of these folks find comforting clinging to guns and religion. They know better but they feel safer and more accepted at the church than at a science museum.

  •  Your survey is flawed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    You are not taking into the account that the earth is less than 20,000 years old.

    This means the Republicans are right and all of the scientists, Blacks, Latio's and others that answered differently are wrong and will burn in eternal hell fire

    ....snark

  •  The Know Nothing Party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Self-imposed ignorance is their measure of solidarity. The key to their king-dumb. Really. Corporate America wants it's orcs dumb, angry and well armed (and working for next to nothing).
    It's disturbing.

    the center is always empty

    by anothergreenbus on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:21:34 AM PDT

  •  There were never any dinosaurs, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    just dinosaur bones in the ground.  That's how God made the Earth 6000 years ago.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:28:29 AM PDT

  •  Republicans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, QuestionAuthority

    take pride in their stupidity and the rest of us pay the price for it.

  •  Connected doesn't mean the same continent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subo03

    Europe and Asia are a connected land mass, but they're not the same continent.  You can walk from Europe to Africa.  They're also separate continents.

    So if a question asks if America and Africa were once the same continent, the answer is no.  America and Africa have remained on their respective continental plates, and are separate continents, whether they're joined together or not.

    It's a badly worded question, and No is the correct answer for the way it's worded.  Being part of the same land mass is not being the same continent.

  •  A notable geologic feature of New Jersey, (4+ / 0-)

    the Watchung Mountains (don't laugh, Mountain Staters) is a series of 3 "fissure eruptions": long, narrow lava flows, twisted and fractured into dramatic cliffs. We're kinda proud of them.

    The other half of this formation is in Morocco. I find that fascinating.

  •  Breaking on Fox News! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    The Earth is flat!

    Seriously, it's just a matter of time before the flat earthers get their day.  It will be the next "controversy."  Well, some people say it's flat, so it, therefore, must be "controversial", regardless of what the evidence says.

  •  Re-unite Gondwanaland (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Local classical music station used to give this away on bumper stickers.

    This planet needs a lot more kids who think taking a lawnmower apart is more fun than playing a videogame.

    by rjnerd on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:32:23 AM PDT

  •  Begging Your Pardon - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    But if a large portion of Republicans are also Creationists, then it only follows that they would not accept plate tectonics since it cannot fit easily into a 6326 year framework.

    They are, at least, consistent.

  •  Jesusland? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    I don't see Jesusland on this map.  It must be a fake!

    "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..." - Elvis

    by Gearhead on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:35:56 AM PDT

  •  Obama was born in Pangea in 1961 /nt (4+ / 0-)
  •  Repubs are the ones with the "Creationist Museum" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Let them put their own concept of the Early World in it, with "The United States of America" created on the 8th day.

    "I should have been a pair of ragged claws.." T.S. Eliot

    by collardgreens on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:39:34 AM PDT

  •  How'd they move so far in 6,000 years? (2+ / 0-)

    LOL

  •  Why do you hate baby jesus? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    The "choice" offered by capital is illusory. If you cannot afford the choice, you don't have the freedom to choose.

    by high bitrate on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:48:18 AM PDT

  •  I'm laughing at the following, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority
    but seriously, how did so many of our fellow Americans get so frakking stupid?

    Sherri Shepherd isn't sure whether the Earth is flat:

    Michael Savage, et al, having to get shot in the foot before the actually believed that getting shot in the foot would hurt.

    That sad, sad PTA meeting some months back, where fundamentalists became angry when someone mentioned that the moon doesn't generate its own glow.

    How did it get this bad?

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary." -Handmaid's Tale

    by Cenobyte on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:00:30 AM PDT

  •  The question is badly stated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Essephreak

    You see it in the numbers you posted.
    'America' is not a geologically defined land mass. So by stating a scientific question with the first land mass defined by a 'political' descriptor, the second land mass, 'Africa', also takes on a political framework.
    The knee-jerk reaction reveals more about how people perceived the question than it does about their understanding of scientific beliefs.

    To be honest, I suspect that the numbers wouldn't be radically different if the question were framed properly, but this poll result is typical of the kind of innate bias that's frequently a part of the intention of the poll.
    Not quite a push poll, but close.

  •  This goes along with the dinosaurs and (0+ / 0-)

    humans coexisting.  Nobody moves such large furniture in 2000 years!  It can't fit, so it can't be true.

    It took me three hours to figure out FU meant Felix Unger! -O. Madison In honor of kos' Saturday hate mail-a-palooza

    by Meggie on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:11:04 AM PDT

  •  NSF Survey on Scientific literacy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    As part of their regular Science and Engineering Indicators report, the National Science Foundation surveys on scientific literacy every few years:

    "True or False: The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future. "

    80% got this one correct (PDF Link), so I'm a bit surprised the Pangea question did so poorly.  People remember continental drift but don't realize this means they were all together once?

  •  I just need to know, (0+ / 0-)

    based on all the various poll results showing, well, anything, how am I, as a native southerner raised by southerners, who has lived most of my life in the south, able to remember to breath, much less have the ability to feed myself and manage to function on even the most basic single-cell level? I'm constantly being proved guilty-by-association of being a likely dipshit on every topic. The suck of it all is that it's really like that down here! I wore being "southern" as a badge of honor when I was a child, but now, in my mid-forties, it's become a fucking burden.

    Sometimes I sits and I thinks; sometimes I just sits. - Archy

    by Captain Sham on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:32:43 AM PDT

  •  That There Science Stuff Hain't Important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    Reading hain't got no goddamn use in life.  Book learnin' don't keep the fire burnin'!  Now git out there and cut some firewood so your ma kin cook up some vittles.  Hear me, boy?!

  •  Our 4th grade teacher never mentioned... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    continental drift, but every day, as my attention wandered, I would notice the map on the front wall of the classroom, and how the coastlines of Africa and South America seemed like they would fit together if moved closer.

    What a relief when plate tectonics finally provided an explanation for what that map had taught.

  •  Young-Earth creationists are fine with Pangaea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    That's very odd because many young-earth creation "scientists" acknowledge the existence of Pangaea and assert that the breakup happened during the Great Flood.

    It's another good example of how biblical literalists are not only ignorant of basic science, they're ignorant of the basic framework of their own bizarre belief systems.

    Evil(tm) Evolutionist

  •  America is scientifically illiterate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    How are we supposed to compete with the rest of the world if the average citizen doesn't know or believe basic scientific facts.

    No wonder there's so many anti-global warming people in the world. People just don't understand science, which is to the detriment of us all.

  •  Gee, why do people make fun of the South again? (0+ / 0-)

    I just can't figure it out.

  •  It's taught today but (0+ / 0-)

    it probably wasn't widely taught until the 80's, which means after a lot of current adults were in school.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:09:17 AM PDT

  •  "Africa is a continent?" S.Palin n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Overall the GOP isn't dumber than others (0+ / 0-)

    I recall reading that the higher one's education level, the more likely one is to be a Republican.  This is true until the absolute top rung at the Doctorate level when all of a sudden people become Democrats again (limousine liberals?).  Yes, all evidence says the continents were once together, but suspicion, illogic, ignorance, etc. are spread out all over.  We need to try to show courtesy when possible and try to educate people.

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