Messaging fail – almost half of Pew survey respondents don’t know the ‘CO2 warms the atmosphere’ claim

People send me stuff.

In my Inbox today was a link to a Science Poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. The aim of the poll was to gauge American knowledge of science and it is a parallel poll to one conducted by telephone. Given the millions spent on global warming/climate change messaging, I was shocked to see the results of this question on Carbon Dioxide. Note what I circled in red.

pewpoll_Co2

Similarly, I thought far more people would get this grade school science question right. Only 20% did.

Pew_atmosphere

The choices for both of the questions were amazingly simple, and I thought these would score far higher in the general population. One has to wonder about the 24% of college graduates that also missed the CO2 question and the 69% that missed the Nitrogen question. I also wonder what percentage answered “Carbon Dioxide” as the primary gas of Earth’s atmosphere instead of Nitrogen.

I got 100% on the test by the way.

You can take it yourself here: http://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/science-knowledge/

See how your results compare with the 1,006 randomly sampled adults that took part in the Pew national telephone survey and review how you responded to each question.

For more findings from the survey, read “Public’s Knowledge of Science and Technology.”

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189 thoughts on “Messaging fail – almost half of Pew survey respondents don’t know the ‘CO2 warms the atmosphere’ claim

  1. Why should I think that ‘most scientists believe CO2 in the atmosphere causes the temperature to rise’?

    We have had increased amounts of CO2 over the last 15 years, but no atmosphere temperature rise. I would have thought that was good evidence that increasing CO2 does NOT cause temperature rise…?

  2. Fuzzy first question. Water vapor would be a better answer than CO2, but who’s counting. Maybe 42% were smarter than you think?

  3. Well that was easy. would be curious to see in a few days after all the WUWT’ers take the quiz how far we blow the bell curve on the test

  4. OK – so I tried this. It is very basic but covers a range of topics, so I guess it at least is an indication of the level of knowledge on science topics. The interesting thing is that a score of 100% puts one in the upper 7th percentile. This is BASIC stuff, and only 7% of respondents achieved a scope at or near 100%. This is a powerful indicator as to why the AGW propaganda machine has been so successful.

  5. Why would you be surprised Anthony? Look at some of the Man-on-the-Street interviews condicted by late night comedians. People cannot identify photos of the V. President and the Pope, some think Obamacare and the ACA are two Seperate things. These was a recent poll and people could not identify which political party the President was a member of. While these interviews might be funny, in reality they show we are in a very sad state. Gee, don’t over whelm the intelligence of the America people and expect them to identify the chemical components of the aphmospher. They have far too many other issues to contend with like which celebrity is have a baby. Remember, the USA is filled with ‘low Imformation’ (voters) people.

  6. I’ve seen more than one commenter elsewhere say “If you think Carbon Dioxide is so harmless why don’t you close your garage doors and stand in there with your car engine running!”. And that’s someone who was interested enough about the subject to read an article and comment on it. Most people aren’t even that interested. Most people haven’t deliberately ingested any science since school and just know it’s not for them.
    In a forum like this it’s easy to forget that even the layest person here – quite possibly me – is more interested and clued up on the subject than the vast majority of the population.
    That’s one reason that the CAGW farce has had such legs, most people know that they know nothing about the subject and assume that the “experts” know what they are talking about.

  7. Perhaps the respondents to the first question replied “Water vapour is the gas that most scientists say causes temperatures to rise.” So we don’t know how thick they really are unless we know their alternative answers.

  8. Too bad they missed the most important part about double-blind testing, i.e. that the half who doesn’t get the medicine doesn’t know they’re not getting it.
    -Frank (13/13)

  9. Well, Vince Causey, I think we can guess how uninformed they are if only 20% got the right answer to “Which gas makes up most of the Earth’s atmosphere?”

  10. Its not Carbon Dioxide that is causing the problems in the atmosphere. Any idiot knows that Global Warming is caused by CARBON. As in “We have to reduce our CARBON footprint”.

    /sarc

  11. Note with interest that women scored better than men on two medical questions, about drug testing procedure & antibiotic resistance. Shocking how few knew the composition of the atmosphere. The CO2 question was OK with me, since the alternatives weren’t GHGs, or at least not to the same extent. Water vapor wasn’t an option.

  12. Just try asking anyone ‘what is the % of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere?’ And then, ‘of that % how much is created by human activity?

    The highest answer I have received so far is 60%…

  13. Michael Moon says:
    October 8, 2013 at 8:36 am
    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    Dumb “quotes” misattributed to Einstein, Lincoln, et al really irritate me.
    BTW also 100%. A populace that can’t answer 80% of those very easy questions is in trouble.

  14. I took the test and scored 100% as well…does this skew the results since I am not American?

  15. Anthony

    The correct answer is not “CO2″ but water vapor. CO2 is a trivial GHG, only 3-4% the impact of H2O. I’m surprised at you. The makers of the survey are the true dummies.

    Bill

  16. Well this just shows how successful the fossil fuel industry investments in disinformation have been.
    All those checks to Anthony W, Tim B, Willis E, Steve M and Lord M have really paid off.

    Next thing we’ll get is some crap like cheap energy and energy independence from all the fracking etc. and dirty jobs and bad money form shipping coal.

    It’s obvious we have crossed the tipping point of Peak Truth and are plummeting into the abyss of
    our Fossil Fuel demise.

    All of our government and academic institutions simply could not compete with ruinous industry.

    Not even Obama could save us. And that is very disturbing. Right when I thought we were about to be rescued, poof, all is lost.

    Let me be the first to say Happy Thanksgiving.

  17. The writers of this survey didn’t seem to know that one of the questions didn’t even have the right answer as one of the options. I as a farmer have been watching the oil industry fracking the Viking formation for oil at least since the early 1980′s up here in Canada, and yes it is the same process. Every well drilled here (nearly all horizontal now) is and has always had to be fracked to get anything to come out of the hole. So the right answer should have been oil AND gas.

  18. I’m not at all surprised at the result of the CO2 question. It is a question primarily about the “consensus”, and thus is a political one. The question is fraught with assumptions, and is dishonest.

  19. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

    That is the actual Einstein quote. And yes, Eustace, Einstein really DID say that, so there is no mis-attribution, merely a slight misquote by Michael Moon, so I guess you don’t need to be so irritated.

  20. I absolutely CANNOT believe only 7% of the people taking this test morons got a 100%.

    7%??? Really?? I think my dog could have scored 100%, but she didn’t want to take it and I didn’t push her…

    It’s disgusting and frightening to realize just how terrible the US public school system has become.

    This was really depressing.

  21. Dodgy Geezer says:
    October 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I noticed this too. I’m married to a scientist (a real one) and I don’t think we have any idea what MOST scientists think about CO2 or how much it contributes to temperature rise. I think you’d have to have some one sit down and casually talk to every one of them without them knowing they are being surveyed to get straight answers and a valid result. In other words, the scientists surveyed would need to be blind to the study itself.

  22. Artwest – most people would say that is is carbon monoxide that is the gas to fear when you leave the car running in the garage. Since modern cars don’t produce it anymore, your question was trickier than you might have thought. It would probably get a worse score than the one about nitrogen. The right answer would be aspyxiation from lack of oxygen, which would kill you before the carbon dioxide rose to lethal levels.

  23. I suppose that does explain how so many people can be duped into thinking nitrogen inflating their tires is so much better, only mild advantage is that it has less moisture content, but a good extractor in the air line will take care of that too

  24. I got the question wrong about CO2 (didn’t answer). I can’t presume to know what most scientists think about CO2. Why would I care about what most scientists think? Are we done discovering things in Science?

  25. None of this surprises me, the poor scores on even the most basic of science questions I could have predicted from my time as an undergrad. I did the usual undergrad slave labor for the dept of physics, tutor, grade papers/tests, teach lab classes. I got talked into grading papers and doing office hours tutoring for Physics 101, which should have been labeled Physics For Those Too Stupid To Realize They Should Be In Biology For Their Science Class Requirement.

    The instructor wanted me to not just mark homework questions wrong or right, but to write little notes explaining why they were wrong, and whoo boy, what a complete load of utter nonsense they would right, showing that any and all abstract reasoning was beyond them. One question really stood out in my mind, it was a question why doesn’t the moon fall into the earth? They’d regurgitate the book answer, the moon is falling but it falls away from the straight line path it’d have without the earth’s gravity and was falling around the earth. Next question, why doesn’t the earth fall into the sun? Answers? It’s too big. It’s too far away. Absolutely no ability to understand the concept and realize it applies to every similar situation. Good lord.

    We had a course called Physics for Education Majors, and to be honest looking at the average student in that class it is no surprise to me education sucks in this country. It was a prime course for volunteering to be the lab guy for, as it usually had about 35 people, 1 or two guys, the rest girls, and out of the 33 at least 28 would be good looking to hot hot hot. And we used to joke the whole class had only one brain and they passed it around. It was funny then, but I should have realized that these were the kinds of people who were going to wind up as teachers, probably math/science ones, God Help Us should have been my thoughts back then.

  26. I haven’t checked the poll yet but a good question would be:
    Q. What is the most important greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere?

    Guardian – Grace Adams said:
    …. whether by replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy or by capturing CO2 (most important greenhouse gas) and storing it……

    http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/27339223

    IPCC – Climate Change 2007: Working Group I
    Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the second-most important one. “

  27. PeterB in Indianapolis says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:07 am
    “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” That is the actual Einstein quote. And yes, Eustace, Einstein really DID say that…

    As I would say to Michael Mann: “bring data, prove it, and show your work.” Nullius In Verba.

  28. Err…write not right above. Apparently I’m not above misteaks…

    BTW, on that elementary physics course, my mentor/prof talked me into it. It’s great, says he, you’ll learn a lot, and you get a copy of the book! What can I possibly learn from Phys 101 I crankily replied. Turns out he was absolutely right, if you can’t explain a concept simply and succinctly and get an ignorant and/or unintelligent person to grasp it, you yourself don’t understand it well. I learned a lot of basic physics in that course that I only thought I knew.

    Kind of like the story of Napoleon’s corporal. Napoleon would draft up his orders and then get the stupidest corporal in the army to listen to his orders for the upcoming battle. He would refine and rewrite his orders until this stupid, boneheaded corporal understood them and could relay them accurately. Smart man Napoleon, what good is it if only the smart guy understands when most of your army is not that smart or educated.

  29. Based on the choices, CO2 is the most correct answer, and it DOES cause “slight” warming, or rather, slightly insulates.

  30. Steve Oregon says:
    October 8, 2013 at 8:58 am
    “Not even Obama could save us. And that is very disturbing. Right when I thought we were about to be rescued, poof, all is lost. ”

    Steve, have you considered becoming a comedian? That’s actually pretty funny.

  31. Matt says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:27 am
    “Based on the choices, CO2 is the most correct answer, and it DOES cause “slight” warming, or rather, slightly insulates.”

    CO2 does not insulate. As opposed to, say N2, it transfers energy radiatively in the LWIR band. It absorbs photons and re-emits them.

  32. Eustace,

    Google is your friend. That quote is attributed to Einstein at Brainyquote, GoodReads, Quotationspage, Quotes4all, and many other websites. All of them attribute it as a real Einstein quote.

    So, you therefore have two choices:
    1. Disbelieve all of the popular quotations attributions on the internet
    2. Accept that Einstein actually said it.

    Choice 1 is certainly a valid choice, but when every source I can find claims that Einstein did actually say it, I tend to believe the “preponderance of the evidence”.

  33. I’m not at all surprised by this result. Anyone who teaches these topics knows how confused people are. And it really has little to do with the political issues. People just don’t pay attention to such details.

    When college students come into my astronomy class, I give them a test of various astronomy topics, including a question about global warming. Typically, only about 1/3 of students correctly identify CO2 as a possible cause of global warming. 2/3 believe it has something to do with ozone. This is the most common misconception by far. It’s fairly obvious that students have heard about the ozone hole problem and conflate it with other atmospheric “problems,” like global warming.

    At the end of the semester, the percentages have flipped, but nearly 1/3 still cling to the ozone-driver-of-global-warming idea. Some ideas just die hard.

  34. Entertaining. Fairly basic questions. Highlights the need for better education, allowing people to be more than sheeple.
    And, although climate changes, I can’t see that the authors of the survey have followed recent posts very carefully.
    Auto

  35. Eustace Cranch,

    Get up on the wrong side of the bed did we? How does one prove whether a quote is accurate or not, seeing as how nobody followed Einstein around with a tape recorder 24-7-365.25?

    Take a pill, buddy…

  36. i got 100% but the one question had no correct answer….the SUN makes the earth warmer NOT ANY greenhouse gas………..insulators only SLOW heat movement, without any atmosphere the earth would get VERY hot during daylight then very cold every night……..the slowing of the heat coming in and going out is why we are warmer in a comfortable range rather than being too hot in day and too cold at night……..there are MANY folks with advanced degrees today that could NOT pass an 8th grade science test from the 50′s!

  37. may be you get 100% but
    do you know what is the size of an electron or an atom?
    do you know exactly what a continent is?
    well i should say a blood cell carries oxygen, but i would not say anything of the kind what are blood cells for..and i don’t remember about other questions…
    quite disturbng to me the way questions are written..
    it is not about science it is about common knowledge.

  38. PeterB in Indianapolis says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

    And Einstein was right to have his doubts about the universe, as it has in fact been found not infinite.

    Michael Moon’s translation of the German was closer to the original:

    Zwei Dinge sind unendlich: das Universum und die menschliche Dummheit, aber bei dem Universum bin ich mir noch nicht ganz sicher.

    Eustace Cranch says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

    From Wikiquote:

    Two things are infinite: the universe and the human stupidity.

    As discussed in this entry from The Quote Investigator, the earliest published attribution of a similar quote to Einstein seems to have been in Gestalt therapist Frederick S. Perls’ 1969 book Gestalt Theory Verbatim, where he wrote on p. 33: “As Albert Einstein once said to me: ‘Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.’ But what is much more widespread than the actual stupidity is the playing stupid, turning off your ear, not listening, not seeing.” Perls also offered another variant in his 1972 book In and Out the Garbage Pail, where he mentioned a meeting with Einstein and on p. 52 quoted him saying: “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.” However, Perls had given yet another variant of this quote in an earlier book, Ego, Hunger, and Aggression: a Revision of Freud’s Theory and Method (originally published 1942, although the Quote Investigator only checked that the quote appeared in the 1947 edition), where he attributed it not to Einstein but to a “great astronomer”, writing: “As modern times promote hasty eating to a large extent, it is not surprising to learn that a great astronomer said: ‘Two things are infinite, as far as we know – the universe and human stupidity.’ To-day we know that this statement is not quite correct. Einstein has proved that the universe is limited.” So, the later attributions in 1969 and 1972 may have been a case of faulty memory, or of intentionally trying to increase the authority of the quote by attributing it to Einstein. The quote itself may be a variant of a similar quote attributed even earlier to the philosopher Ernest Renan, found for example in The Public: Volume 18 from 1915, which says on p. 1126: “He quotes the saying of Renan: it isn’t the stars that give him an idea of infinity; it is man’s stupidity.” (other examples of similar attributions to Renan can be found on this google books search.) Renan was French so this is presumably intended as a translation, but different sources give different versions of the supposed original French quote, such as “La bêtise humaine est la seule chose qui donne une idée de l’infini” (found for example in Réflexions sur la vie, 1895-1898 by Remy de Gourmont from 1903, p. 103, along with several other early sources as seen in this search) and “Ce n’est pas l’immensité de la voûte étoilée qui peut donner le plus complétement l’idée de l’infini, mais bien la bêtise humaine!” (found in Broad views, Volume 2 from 1904, p. 465). Since these variants have not been found in Renan’s own writings, they may represent false attributions as well. They may also be variants of an even older saying; for example, the 1880 book Des vers by Guy de Maupassant includes on p. 9 a quote from a letter by Gustave Flaubert where Flaubert writes “Cependant, qui sait? La terre a des limites, mais la bêtise humaine est infinie!” which translates to “But who knows? The earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is infinite!” Similarly the 1887 book Melanges by Jules-Paul Tardivel includes on p. 273 a piece said to have been written in 1880 in which he writes “Aujourd’hui je sais qu’il n’y a pas de limites à la bêtise humaine, qu’elle est infinie” which translates to “today I know that there is no limit to human stupidity, it is infinite.”
    Variant: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Earliest version located is in Technocracy digest: Issues 287-314 from 1988, p. 76.

  39. I am shocked at the result… 100% myself. Honestly I could see getting one or two of the questions wrong if you did not ‘get’ the question and then kicking yourself. But still these are all basic factoids that anyone who has an 8th grade education should know…

  40. I only got 12/13 :(

    Since it is impossible to CO2 to heat the atmosphere since is already a combustion product, I figured the correct answer must be hydrogen fusion in the sun is what scientists ‘believe’ warms the Earth.

    Survey says I’m wrong.

    Maybe they should ask some real scientists, or word their questions better.

  41. One of the reasons I follow this site is for self improvement as my scientific knowledge is truly pathetic. So go easy, guys, on those who scored less than 100% but are here reading and learning. And yes, I got 100% but admit I probably would have answered oxygen instead of nitrogen if I hadn’t read Anthony’s lead in.

  42. According to this survey it ranks me as a 7%’er. I have been ranked as a 1%’er in another catagory. Some will know what this means.

    By the way, in this simple ‘exam’ I got 13 of 13 correct.

  43. Don’t know what I was expecting but the test was very, very simple. Did I take the right one – 13 questions? Got them all but if that puts me in the top 7% it doesn’t speak well for the education systems in UK or USA. I’m in my 60s and grammar school educated.

  44. Bill Taylor says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:41 am

    The universe is big but not infinite. It has been observed to extend about 46 billion light-years in radius, & is expanding at an apparently accelerating rate, after beginning its expansion from a dense singularity some 13.7 Ba. If the emerging multiverse hypothesis is ever shown valid, then all the proposed universes together might be infinite.

  45. What’s more worrying is that 2% managed to 0 or 1 correct and another 3% only 2 correct. You have to work hard to zero in a multiple choice test !

    I dread to think what happens when you give these people a voting slip.

    They say that elections are decided by about 5% who change their allegiance. I guess they’ve just identified the 5%

    Explains why, when a country goes to the polls, they always seem to get the answer wrong.

  46. milodon…….we need to change the words then……UNIverse means ALL that exists, IF there are other “verses” that some call multiverses then indeed they would still be part of the SINGLE UNIverse…….we need to STOP saying there is a single universe………BUT i have enough sense to know there IS a single universe and it is INFINITE……..we havent been to the edge to see that we would see MORE stuff……….the claims about a big bang are SILLY in my opinion.

  47. “The content of scientific theory itself offers no moral foundation for the personal conduct of life.”

    —Albert Einstein – From “Science and God: A Dialogue”. In Forum and Century 83 (1930), 373

    The climatologists, Malthusians, and quite a few others should have paid a lot more attention to Einstein apparently.

  48. What’s notable about the survey is that the question asked was “What gas do most scientists believe causes temperatures in the atmosphere to rise?” instead of “what gas causes temperatures in the atmosphere to rise?”, implying this is only a belief not proven science fact.

  49. I did the quiz and got them all right, but for some reason it said I didn’t answer this question:

    Which is the better way to determine whether a new drug is effective in treating a disease? If a scientist has a group of 1,000 volunteers with the disease to study, should she…

    I said give the drug to half. The other have would be the control.Booo hooooo. :(

  50. I don’t believe this quiz indicates stupidity, it indicates ignorance. That’s a huge difference. Most people who take the quiz have normal IQ’s. They’re not stupid. And ignorance can be remedied for those willing to learn.

    Those who condemn the human race for stupidity, violence, etc. always seem to carve out an exception for themselves.

  51. Amazed at how few respondents knew that Fracking releases natural gas. Where have they been whilst U.S. gas prices plummeted over the last five years?

  52. We could quibble about the formatting of some the questions, wrap many of them in qualifications and conditions, but for what they were trying to assess the questions as written were probably as good as they could do.

    Most of those answers, I’d say 10 of ‘em, SHOULD be common knowledge. Most are pretty straightforward.

    N2 predominant in the atmosphere though my 7yo daughter answered ‘oxygen’ when I asked her that question the other day and my guess is that the wrong answers were probably 75% oxygen (people making what they consider logical guess in absence of knowledge) and 25% CO2 (people who only retain what they hear in the media in the last week)

    I need to figure out some way to demonstrate to her what would happen if the atmosphere WERE mostly oxygen.

  53. Bill Taylor says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    The term “universe” has a specific meaning. There is no need to change it. That it is one universe doesn’t mean that it has to be infinite or is the only such structure.

    The Big Bang is not a silly claim but a well-supported scientific theory, not just an hypothesis. The relevant evidence collected to date supports the theory & no observations or data have yet shown it false.

    But if you have a better, less silly explanation for the cosmic background microwave radiation at 3 K, please by all means present it here. You could revolutionize astrophysics & cosmology.

  54. Bill Taylor says:
    “I got 100% but the one question had no correct answer….the SUN makes the earth warmer NOT ANY greenhouse gas………..insulators only SLOW heat movement, without any atmosphere the earth would get VERY hot during daylight then very cold every night…”

    So you should have answered correctly as I did: Hydrogen.

    You deliberately gave a false answer because your pride was more important than the truth , despicable.

    ;)

  55. “I got 100%, and I’ve been dead for 25 years….” That is from my grandfather, a Paleontologist.

    And yes, he is rolling over in his urn.

  56. More evidence of the extremely sad state of American public education. Wrote about three aspects, the cost/ results OCED comparison elephant in the room (contextual perspective), the class size reduction teachers union myth (truthiness and selection bias), and the no child left behind multiple state test scams ( characterization, move the goalposts) as three examples in The Arts of Truth. Does not bode well for future American competitiveness.

  57. The only actual survey I could find is the OISM Petition, which required scientists to physically co-sign their names to this statement:

    The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    Therefore, Pew is wrong when they claim to speak for a ‘majority’ of scientists. Views opposing the OISM statement are only held by a relatively small clique of mostly grant-paid scientists.

  58. I got 100% right and I lived 150 years ago having redefined the meaning of “Before Present” – Marcott.

  59. Bill Yarber says: Anthony The correct answer is not “CO2″ but water vapor.

    No… for PEW research only a dummy would not know that their ‘correct answer’ has to be CO2.

    Like others already said , this was way too easy. Being in the top 7% for this is like points for getting your name and age correct, (a la Bob T. above)

  60. I’m willing to guess that WUWT readers will pretty much get 100% on this thing. My message was You scored better than 93% of the public and the same as 7%.

    They could have toughened it up. “The ‘hockey stick’ graph is (a) an advertisement for the National Hockey League, (b) an accurate representation of why we are all doomed to die, roasting in our own juices, (c) a fabrication as proven by Steve McIntyre and others, or (d) huh?

  61. Dismal.
    The only way to influence opinion on CAGW and probably everything else is through money (and possibly sex!).

  62. Greg says:
    October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

    You’re right; I was wrong. The question didn’t say “gas in the atmosphere”, but “temperature in the atmosphere”, so radiation produced through H fusion is more correct than CO2. Badly worded question.

  63. JEM says:
    October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am.

    When I were a lad, we conducted an experiment at school which involved putting a candle in a bell-jar and CAREFULLY introducing some oxygen into the jar. The result was satisfyingly convincing.

  64. Bill, please note the ;) at the end (it’s a wink, means : joke).

    BTW your response that my comment is unworthy of a response, is unworthy of a response . ;)

  65. The fact that the survey “climaxes” with a subjective question about CO2 after 12 straight-forward science facts would suggest it has a point. It is not at all clear that “most scientists believe” CO2 causes the atmosphere to warm up. Once again, governmental climatism has so thoroughly dictated what scientists are supposed to believe – and enforced this belief through the sycophantic patronage system – that it isn’t possible to conclude what the majority of scientists believe. I still think a majority of scientists are being conservatively silent on this issue.

    The question is both leading and mis-leading. Pew does that. .

  66. in high school physical science class we got oxygen and hydrogen from water then put a glowing ember into each container, in the oxygen it flamed up brightly, in the hydrogen it made a popping sound from its tiny explosion.

  67. @dodgy geezer -
    It’s more than 17 years, it’s 80 years since the peak of modern temps in the 1930s (despite 40% more CO2 since then), 800 years since the peak of temps in the Medieval Warming Period, 1900 years since the peak of temps in the Roman Climate Optimum, 3500 years since the peak of temps in the Hittite-Minoan-Mycenean warm period, and 4700 years since the peak of temps in ancient Egypt. I should think this would REALLY be enough to prove the lack of any link between atmospheric CO2 and temps.

  68. Chad Wozniak says:
    October 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

    And about 126,000 years since warmth during the Eemian Interglacial peaked at 8 ± 4 K above the mean of the past millennium over Greenland.

    The present interglacial has been cooling since the end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum about 5000 years ago, with the Minoan Warm Period c. 3300 YBP possibly equaling HCO warmth. The massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet quit retreating around 3000 years ago. The Modern Warm Period still hasn’t equaled the Medieval, Roman or Minoan peak warmths, so the past & current decades are far from “unprecedented”.

  69. Ok so I took the test. 13 out of 13 as I would expect most others from here also got.

    I’m not from the US. I’d be disappointed if anyone who had studied general science ( not branched into a specific field of study as happens later ) in a UK high school ( that’s 12-16 here.) got any of those questions wrong. It’s fundamental stuff.

    I’m astounded at how few, in relation to the total poll, managed the top result. Astounded. It really is kid’s stuff.

  70. A good example of having to provide the wrong answer in order to give the “correct” answer. I tell students that the art of test taking involves determining what the teacher wants you to answer even if the teacher happens to be wrong.

    This question is really about what scientists “believe” (Faith based teaching), not about which constituent gasses have the most effect on atmospheric temperature. That would be: gasses H2O, CO2, CH4 in descending order. Faith based teaching, harrumph!

  71. Ah, remember when we used to say “It’s worse than we thought!” as a joke? Now this is what has become of a society which grew great on its scientific understanding.

    Would the last person to leave the Western world please turn out the lights? – It’s on that whitish plastic plate thing on the wall near the door, you see the bit in the middle? – Press that to make it move and the lights’ll go off. Thanks.

  72. I think people are getting ‘dumber’ rapidly …. and it’s in-part due to the changing media culture. In the past, if you wanted to watch TV, you had few choices and had to watch the evening news because there was nothing else on. So, even as slanted as the news could be, a lot more people learned something each day. Now with so many entertainment choices, the vast majority of the ignorant masses NEVER watch any hard news or education programming. They only choose base entertainment shows, movies, computer games, and internet drivel. Combine this effect with reduced reading levels, poor schools, and constant social networking by kids and it leads to where we are and are going …..

  73. I don’t mean to be mean or anything……
    But shouldn’t we all be deliberately answering the questions wrong?

    I say go there and be wrong.
    Be as wrong as you can be., Be 100% wrong. .
    For the sake of being right be wrong.

  74. O Olson says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    …I noticed this too. I’m married to a scientist (a real one) and I don’t think we have any idea what MOST scientists think about CO2 or how much it contributes to temperature rise…

    I have an even bigger problem with the original question. I don’t think that there are such people as ‘scientists’. or at least not in the way most people do. I think that ‘science’ is all about using ‘the scientific method’, and that anyone who does this is ‘being a scientist’ while they are doing it. So anyone using the ‘hypothesis/experiment/prediction’ process is a ‘scientist’.

    Most of us will do this at some point in our lives – for instance, dropping a pin in order to have a better idea where the first one went. Some people are paid to investigate natural phenomena using this technique as a job – I would tend to call these people ‘Researchers’.

    This enables me to completely avoid a major issue with modern democracy – the idea that there are certain people who, by virtue of their qualifications, are allowed to hold opinions on technical subjects and tell other people what to think.

  75. dodgy, that was great, indeed people that claim co2 drives the climate are be definition NOT scientists…..also great point scientist is NOT a job, as you said anybody can practice scientific method, no credentials needed.

  76. Margaret Smith says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

    > Don’t know what I was expecting but the test was very, very simple. … I’m in my 60s and grammar school educated.

    Perhaps grammar schools were better in the 1950s. Plus, we had Mr. Wizard on Saturday TVin the States.

  77. OK I got 100% too.
    There are two disturbing conclusions one can draw from the poll results:
    1) a large percentage of the population is made up of dopes.
    2) They vote.

  78. I got 100% too. never went to university.
    I want the finest PhD’s known to humanity and I want them NOW!

  79. The actions taken on CO2 policy will always be driven by people who for the most part don’t know or care. The science doesn’t matter because most will not look at the science. That is why alarmists focus on propagating the consensus myth. We’re all guilty to some degree of believing what we’re told without checking.

    Has anyone checked to make sure Jupiter is closer to the sun than Saturn? But we teach it because we believe it has been checked and verified by scientists.

    Busting the consensus myth is the only way to sway the majority of people who will never check the science.

  80. I don’t care what “most scientists believe”. The game is about what a single scientist can prove. Therefore I am not going to take such a flawed test.

  81. Very interesting. I also “scored better than 93% of the public and the same as 7%” (13/13).

    I see that women/female respondents generally did better by a few points on the medically focused questions, perhaps due to their greater traditional role as caregivers. Men generally scored higher on all non-medical questions. Also, college grads always scored the same or higher than those with some college, who always scored as high or higher than those with a high school education or less. I guess that suggests that our level of education actually does something for us with regard to scientific knowledge. Does it make us more receptive to continued development and retention of our knowledge, as opposed to “whut we larned in skul”

    The bad thing is that this was not a very challenging test…

    A few commenters challenge the first question, and rightly so. But you have to work within the limits of the Pew Trust’s options provided and with the understanding that they, themselves, (and consultants) have been drinking the Kool Aid for a long time.

    @ Frank: You said: “Too bad they missed the most important part about double-blind testing, i.e. that the half who doesn’t get the medicine doesn’t know they’re not getting it.” There is another very important piece missing: Those who actually administer the drug in a classic “double-blind test” also do not know who receives the medicine versus the placebo.

  82. BTW: Pew may be tracking where the respondents entered the poll from. This sort of thing is not necessarily accurate or valid.

    I got 13/13. I should; I scored 800/800 on the GRE Natural Sciences section, a little tougher exam.

  83. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Many of the people I encounter at social gathering are highly educated. Many sincerely believe that Global Warming will lead to the extinction of life on earth in the next 100 years.

    In the past, when people would ask me what I thought of global warming, I would go into a long explanation of why I thought the theory was flawed. But this only got people angry.

    Lately, when people ask me my opinion I say, “I think equilibrium climate sensitivity is somewhere between 1 and 2. What do you think it is?”

    Silence.

    Usually followed by, “what’s equilibrium climate sensitivity?”

    At this point I’ll ask, “how can you have an opinion if you don’t know what equilibrium climate sensitivity is?”

    The answer is always that someone else has told them what to think.

  84. 13/13. Sure, there are some problems with some of the questions. But, overall, it is concerning that those willing to go ahead and take the quiz are not doing so well; 50th percentile is 7 or 8 correct.

    The quiz was on science and technology. Of those two, continental plate tectonics is probably “science,” rather than “technology.”

    We observe plates moving very small distances (meters at most) over a limited number of years (decades at most).
    It is extrapolation, not scientific hypothesis testing, that supports the theory that continents move great distances over millions of years.

    Science depends upon observable, dis-provable observations of an a priori hypothesis.

    We have never observed this happening, so it is outside the realm of proof by science.

    The more we measure the continents moving, sublimation of plates, etc., the more evidence we have to support that theory, but the support is based in a convincing theory supported by limited observations and some good reasoning, not by scientific testing. We will have to wait those millions of years for that.

    This is one of a few leading mistaken notions about what science is and what it does and does not do. A hypothesis about the distant, un-observable past has about the same status as do climate models: sure, they are scientific-y but they are not scientifically tested hypotheses.

  85. milodonharlani says:
    October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am
    (snip)
    But if you have a better, less silly explanation for the cosmic background microwave radiation at 3 K, please by all means present it here. You could revolutionize astrophysics & cosmology.
    Reply;
    Helium does not freeze, but forms a super fluid (very high surface tension, stronger than earths gravity) at ~3K, and covers as much surface area as possible on small free floating particles, out on the edges of heliopauses on all stars that are in areas with ambient radiational pressures below 2K. Any incoming radiant energy that strikes these surface films of super fluid liquid helium that as a result, temporarily vaporizes it, when it re-condenses back out at ~3K it generates a heat on condensation photon emission at ~3K. being the second most abundant element in the universe, it results in the even spread of this re-emitted ~3K background emission, with the expected slightly higher levels along the edges of local galaxies that is viewable.

  86. I intended to write a sharp pithy sentence on the “scientists believe” contradiction, but I see that Berényi Péter put it perfectly:

    ‘I don’t care what “most scientists believe”. The game is about what a single scientist can prove.’

  87. ty Richard, my answer would have been it is simply part of the natural physical processes of the universe……..rather strange to me to think it is some kind of echo from an event almost 14 billion years ago as the other poster claims.

  88. I hate to be the devil’s advocate (ok, no I don’t) but I’m far more optimistic about the results of this test then most people. Think about this; the highest average score achieved on each of the thirteen questions was (with the exception of 2 questions) for the questions that did not involve political agendas. The highest average score, 83%, was for question 5 concerning sunscreen and ultraviolet. The next highest was question 8 concerning the purpose behind red blood cells: that scored at 78%. Questions 4 and 9 were a tie at 77%, and these two concerned the more sophisticated issues of continental drift and antibiotic overuse.

    Three of the five lowest scoring questions, out of the 13, involved fracking (51%), CO2 and temperature (58%), and nitrogen percentage of the atmosphere (20%). Think about this. These are the three issues, out of the thirteen, that get the constant drumbeat from the press, the political mechanism, and the environmentalists. And they’re the three in which people are most ill informed. Of these three the nitrogen issue might seem like an outlier, but as a constituent of the atmosphere (and thus ‘seen’ as climate), I don’t think it is.

    Now, question 2 involving electrons and atoms (47%), and question 3 involving lasers (48%), may knock my theory out. But, as the IPCC, is want to say; the overwhelming available evidence suggests a discernible political influence on the world’s human mental system. So, outside of political pollution, it appears that, in the balance, people can do just fine. I’d say this evidence should recommend an 80% reduction in political pollution by the year 2050.

    I got all 13 right and I just have a high school education.

  89. Anybody notice that women scored better than men on two questions: the antibiotics question and the drug test question.

  90. I took the test some weeks ago. When I got to that warming question the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got pissed. The I remembered that CO2 does indeed warm the Earth significantly however, now that the absorption bands are nearly saturated it can’t do much of anything additional, even w/ a concentration doubling. So, I relaxed and finished the simplistic test…100%

    I wonder what the mean score is of bloggers here vs. SkS, Of deniers, luke warmers, believers?
    Algore?

  91. By pointing to this test/survey… Are you not skewing the results badly, by sending waves of science savvy people – to the test. GK

  92. Of course every freedom loving American should be worried by the lack of knowledge among their fellow countryman but what’s even more worrying, at least to me, is their preparedness to blindly sign petitions to ban CO2, the use of oil, natural gas, shale gas, HO2, guns, you name it.
    The next thing they sign up to is to ban freedom.

    A very, very dangerous development.

  93. Richard Holle says:
    October 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

    “Any incoming radiant energy that strikes these surface films of super fluid liquid helium that as a result, temporarily vaporizes it, when it re-condenses back out at ~3K it generates a heat on condensation photon emission at ~3K. ”

    I do not know if your explanation is the correct one — but I must admit, it is certainly a very interesting approach. I now have something new to think about!

  94. @ G Karst: people who take the survey now are merely compared to/with/against those who took the “random survey,” so the results will not be skewed.

    However, I wonder if they are capturing the results with the intent to do something else with them. Of course, anyone taking the survey now is most definitely not not a part of a randomized sample, do what they could do is limited.

  95. For those of you who say Hydrogen GAS is what most scientists say warm the earth… I’ll give you that it’s hydrogren fusion, but I don’t believe that anybody actually believes that Hydrogen is in a gaseous state in the core. (I believe that a fusion process involving hydrogen Plasma is the correct answer to that question).

  96. TheLastDemocrat says:
    October 8, 2013 at 11:22 am
    Reply; There are local lunar/earth tidal bulge effects in the crust as well as the oceans and the atmosphere. As the moon moves in its declinational component daily, it passes over different sections of mid ocean ridges and their associated micro cracks which ooze small seeps of liquid magma into the small gaps that form in the limited areas where the moon is almost directly overhead. The result is a small seepage of magma that fills and solidifies between the plate edges in different places every day.

    Then by the same mechanism that (if you have ever had a wrench slip while working in confined quarters and gotten a small slice on a knuckle, that forms a scab for several days) every time you bend that knuckle the scab cracks open and re-heals adding to the size of the resultant scab. By the end of the day you need to soak the wound in warm water to soften the build up scab and debris in order to be able to straighten your finger all the way, when extended.

    In ocean ridges this small continual tiny set of moving wedges, ends up being the “push” component of the “push/pull slab driving effects” that make the resultant movement. Analyzing the micro quake data along the ocean ridges and other plate boundaries, shows a robust correlation to the Lunar earth effect tidal bulges, that move with the moons declination.

  97. A lot of folks are hung up on that CO2 question.

    Look, even most of us agree that CO2 is, independently of any other factors, a greenhouse gas. A weak one that comprises only a tiny percentage of the atmosphere, but a greenhouse gas.

    As is always the case in Test-Taking 101, you pick the best answer presented.

    The question is very general – it does not talk about harmful warming, or the only or even predominant cause of warming, just that some gas contributes to warming and most of us would agree with that.

    Most of us might also argue that it’s not the BEST answer in the spectrum of possible phenomena, but it’s the only correct answer in the list (unless you’re gonna get oblique and talk about hydrogen fueling solar activity, etc.)

  98. @Berényi Péter,

    You have a very common misconception. Scientists aren’t in the business of proving anything. They are in the business of FALSIFYING things. Even the oldest and dearest scientific “Laws” are never said to be truly proven. They are merely the best approximation of reality that we have.

    If a scientist ever believes he has truly proved something, he has ceased to be a scientist.

  99. The question on the composition of the atmosphere was a multiple choice with 4 options. Random chance would lead to a 25% correct rate on that one. The 12% rate reported for the demographic with the least education is significantly less than random, and indicates they have been taught the wrong answer.

  100. MattB says: @ October 8, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Well that was easy. would be curious to see in a few days after all the WUWT’ers take the quiz how far we blow the bell curve on the test.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Anthony just blew their statistics out of the water.

  101. From the results summary for a 13/13 score – “You scored better than 93% of the public and the same as 7%”

    So when you score 13/13 you are not in alignment with the 93% public consensus – you are in the 7% category (sceptic). This confirms John Cook’s research results …………………

    Robert Thomson

  102. tadchem – I believe what you see there is that group has not been taught anything about the composition of air, or hasn’t retained it, but they’ve picked up somewhere the notion that oxygen is required for animal life (including us) so they figure air must be mostly oxygen.

  103. Actually I would propose that you can immediately dimiss any statement which says “most scientists believe” as a pathetic appeal to authority. For any given subject, most scientists will not be experts in that field. The majority of scientists are not experts in climate – so their opinion has little value. It would be like asking what most doctors think about a treatment for a rare form of cancer. A doctor might have some good ideas… but there are experts in every field, and their value comes in what they know *outside* of what the generalists know…

  104. tmonroe – you are absolutely right, but you learn to save that attitude toward test questions until you’ve gotten into the schools and programs you want to get into, right ;)

  105. Well Anthony, what did they expect when they shortened CARBON dioxide to “Your CARBON foot print”

    Remember 50% of the population has an IQ under 100 and they VOTE! (As long as their Community Organizer remembers to send around the bus to pick them up and carefully instructs them on how to vote and bribes them with candy or…)

  106. Greg says: October 8, 2013 at 9:52 am
    I dread to think what happens when you give these people a voting slip.

    __________________________________

    You get Obama and Blair.

  107. R. de Haan says: October 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    Hell, it’s even worse. The average adult American is even dumber that the average human
    _________________________________

    But not as dumb as the output of the average madrassa, where the boys spend the first 7 years of their education reciting the Koran.

    This deliberate and institutional lowering of education standards, to produce automaton cannon-fodder, is truly horrifying. When I were a lad (sic) I imagined we would have bases on Mars by now, and everyone would have the education of the best UK grammar schools. But the politics and appeasement of the political left has ensured that we have regressed back into an educational Dark Age.

  108. Most people believe trees grow out of the ground into the air rather than into the ground from the air.

  109. OK, 100% here too.

    Shouldn’t the Question on CO2 read:

    Of the following, which gas do most scientists say has a warming effect in the atmosphere?

    I do not believe that most scientists agree that atmospheric CO2 is the primary cause of “global warming”.

  110. Don’t wish to sound arrogant but that was a frighteningly trivial quiz. Skewed question about CO2 warming, but we’ll let that pass. Apparently I scored better than 93% of co-respondents by answering all questions correctly. Now that’s depressing.

  111. What do you expect when half the population is below average intelligence ?
    Half of Americans also believe aliens have abducted humans.
    (median is roughly equal to mean for IQ)

  112. You answered 13 of 13 questions correctly. If we could just get journalists to take this test and then eliminate all of them that don’t score 100%.

  113. PEW TRUST if ever there was an oxymoron. . . .
    100% here ,and i am probably the least educated person posting on this thread. left uk high school at 16,physics education to “o” level in 1986.either the last or penultimate year of “o” levels.

  114. If people agree with you, but for the wrong reason (in this case, the problem is likely due to being American public school graduates, that is, they’re dumber than a bag of rocks), is that a good thing?

    Are the liberals starting to believe maybe they shot themselves in the foot by dumbing down education so much that only 58% identified CO2 as the alleged cause of global warming? It would be interesting to know that those same people believe about AGW. I can see the spin already — “d-word-ers” ignorant of basic science!

  115. Ok mostly easy but the nitrogen question is not something that a lot of ‘normal’ folks know. How much of all you learned in 7th or 8th grade to you actually remember, especially things you don’t use or haven’t thought of for 30 years? I’m sure I could dig up a few things that would stump all of you from Jr. Hi.

  116. For those who didn’t notice, the results shown are only for those 1006 people who took the test by phone. Note also that 1% got all wrong answers. The low scores could be in part due to difficulty taking the multiple-choice test verbally.

    Funny thing: when I initially took the test I got 100%. I then clicked the link to further discussion of test results (http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/22/publics-knowledge-of-science-and-technology/) and it appeared there was a different test. When I saw I was taking the same test again I whipped through the questions ASAP and got one wrong answer. I figured I’d just gone too fast and didn’t look to see which question that was.

    I then had my partner take the test. Looking over her shoulder I could see she missed only one question. But at the end of the test it showed two wrong answers. Looks like a glitch somewhere.

  117. I also noted that the correct answer isn’t CO2 but H2O, and wondered if that could lead to come incorrect answers, but neither H20 nor “Other” were options. However, hydrogen was one of the options, and I think a case can be made for it. Thinks about it. (But I don’t think that’s why so many got it wrong. I think they had no clue and guessed)

  118. “I think all of mankind’s problems would be completely eliminated if we were to eradicate all sources of carbon in the environment”. — Ima Misanthrope

  119. Max Hugoson on October 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    You suggest they would blend in? Even if it’s bad here, most people don’t perform as bad as those who participate like in Jay Leno’s surveys. Only the red/brown/green crowd …

  120. I thuink Question #12 : ‘”What gas do most scientists believe causes temperatures in the atmosphere to rise?” is a Science Current Events question, not a strictly scientific question, so gets a pass. The correct answer, in that sense, is CO2.

  121. “… they know nothing about the subject and assume that the “experts” know what they are talking about.” — artwest

    That’s really the whole problem there. If you assume they don’t know, you ask for experiments and other proofs. If you assume they do know, you end up buying beachfront property in Arizona.

    But that doesn’t mean anyone should take a stand on anything, let alone everything. As you long as you don’t care what the experts say about what you don’t care about, then who cares? The problem is when you do care about what the experts blather on about in a subject you don’t care to know. Nitrogen? Doesn’t pay the bills. Fireball Earth? My Word! I’ll save money on my heating bill! We’re doomed!

  122. Go Home says:
    October 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    ” I was doing fine until the demographic part of the test.”

    Same here. According to my Ferengi wife, I’d fit right in with a bunch of 1,000-year-old Vulcan geezers on a nite out at the local Klingon Komedy Klub. Those were tough questions at the end, eh?

  123. JEM says (October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am ) “… I need to figure out some way to demonstrate to her what would happen if the atmosphere WERE mostly oxygen.”

    Tell her the story of the Apollo 1 fire. where we lost space veterans Gus Grissom and Ed White and their rookie crew-mate Roger Chaffee. Quoting from an article in Time Magazine: “… A frayed wire to Grissom’s left let fly a spark, one that would have been entirely harmless at sea level pressure in an ordinary nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere. In the high-pressure, 100% oxygen environment of the Apollo spacecraft, it was like dropping a match in gasoline.” (http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2044930,00.html)

  124. Anthony Watts wrote: “Given the millions spent on global warming/climate change messaging, I was shocked to see the results of this question on Carbon Dioxide.”

    Dear Anthony, you didn’t say _why_ you were shocked. It looks, to me, like over half of respondents gave the approved reply. If you can fool half the people, that’s enough, isn’t it?

  125. The aim of the poll was to gauge American knowledge of science and it is a parallel poll to one conducted by telephone.

    Uhhhh … ummmm … WHO has one of those nowadays?

    A ‘landline’, a “twisted pair” phone? … I’ve never been called on my cellphone (which I like a lot of people have exclusively b/c of cost) for a ‘survey’.

    So, who is it they are actually calling?

    .

  126. All other age groups averaged 8.4 correct answers each. The 65+ group averaged 6.5, only 50%, pretty bad for a multiple choice test. Come on guys, I just turned 70 and was able to do 13/13 and I’m an artist, not a scientist. Must have been a lot of 90+ year olds – they did bad on the laser question with 27% correct on a true/false – sound waves? They did worse on the nitrogen question with only 14% correct???

  127. 100% for me too. The only question which gave me pause was the one about the Chemical Reaction. It seemed like sugar dissolving could be as well. But hell, I’m just a high school dropout who finally later got his diploma, and went to some community college, so what do I know…

  128. Richard Holle says:
    October 8, 2013 at 11:27 am
    Helium does not freeze, but forms a super fluid (very high surface tension, stronger than earths gravity) at ~3K, and covers as much surface area as possible on small free floating particles, out on the edges of heliopauses on all stars that are in areas with ambient radiational pressures below 2K. Any incoming radiant energy that strikes these surface films of super fluid liquid helium that as a result, temporarily vaporizes it, when it re-condenses back out at ~3K it generates a heat on condensation photon emission at ~3K. being the second most abundant element in the universe, it results in the even spread of this re-emitted ~3K background emission, with the expected slightly higher levels along the edges of local galaxies that is viewable.

    Interesting hypothesis, but how would Helium re-condensing TO ~3K produce a spectrum that approximates black-body radiation at 3K?

  129. “One has to wonder about the 24% of college graduates that also missed the CO2 question and the 69% that missed the Nitrogen question.”

    No wonder to it. They are getting more indoctrination, be it from the educational system or the media, than science education. So more of them “know” the “right answer” to CO2 than air content of nitrogen.

  130. Steve intones, “tipping point of Peak Truth”. Great stuff, Steve. Have we ever heard truth from the government?

    Severian: When in engineering school, we would sometimes hang out in the education building, leering through open classroom doors at the female legs on display on the front rows. We didn’t have those modesty desks, then. Most engineering majors were male, and most education majors were female.

  131. Eustace Cranch says:
    October 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

    “I don’t believe this quiz indicates stupidity, it indicates ignorance. That’s a huge difference.Most people who take the quiz have normal IQ’s. They’re not stupid. And ignorance can be remedied for those willing to learn.”

    Regarding ‘ignorance’ or ‘stupidity’, given relative environment, I doubt any creature could truly be called ‘stupid’. But to paraphrase that which might well be the next President of the USA, what difference does it make? If a new religion decides to erase the effort of hundreds of generations to lessen our ignorance and make our existence a little better than the purely animal state we just so recently crawled out of merely for the political expedience of control and power, the stupidity of this group to dumb down it’s own population for the sake of control (birds clipping the wings of their own chicks?) gives the same result as if those hundreds of generations of effort had never occured.
    Try Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’, Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ or even the movie ‘Idiocracy’ for glimpse of the future the Fabians fawn for.

    “And ignorance can be remedied for those willing to learn.” Not in systems that limit access to information and ignore Freedom of Information laws. Remember, if there where no Internet as it exist at this moment, we would not be having this discussion. The media doesn’t want it and the education system doesn’t want it.

  132. Other questions are somewhat faulty- the electron field for most atoms is bigger than the hydrogen atom. An Electron have a lower rest mass than any atom. Sunscreens are mostly designed to protect against ultraviolent but also infrared. You can’t possibly be definitive about the movement of the continents continuing since we know next to nothing even the area just below the crust so can’t say it will continue. For 10 you have to chemical versus physical reaction- everything involving the electron fields of molecules and atoms is really chemical- chemists don’t bother the chemical/physical distinction.

  133. Since most scientists don’t believe CO2 warms the atmosphere there’s not much sense in someone claiming most scientists do.

    Very
    VERY few people

    believe CO2 warms the atmosphere.

    Everybody who follows the story knows CO2 is the primary coolant of the upper atmosphere, helping kick back nearly half the sun’s total energy.

    They also know since a lot gets past the upper atmosphere, there’s a great deal of sunlight kicked back by CO2 in the lower atmosphere just as it is, above.

    There used to be a picture of somebody shooting a light into a plexiglass box filled with CO2.

    The more CO2, the MORE LIGHT BLOCKED until with ENOUGH CO2, NO LIGHT GOT THROUGH in the infrared.

    That means CO2 cools the atmosphere.

    You can’t keep more energy OUT: thus cooling

    than you keep IN

    and have WARMING.

  134. So, 76% of college grads get the CO2 question and only 31% of college grads get the N2 question (I took it @ n=1004). WOW.

  135. My education is high school or less, but I am same as 7% of the people who took the test (100%). Does that make me a scientist?

  136. At first I was surprised at the poor showing of the older generation. Most of those I finished school with would have got 12 or 13 right.

    Then I remembered we were only about 10% of our year that finished high school. Most left ar 15 or before. Taking that into consideration, us oldies did pretty well.

  137. “You scored better than 93% of the public and the same as 7%.”

    Not surprising.

    The beginning of the movie idiocracy was a documentary.

  138. Ha ha. I got 100% too, but the best part of that survey is the breakdown in results by question and gender.

    Men scored better on 11 of the 13 questions, with women scoring bette ron the two questions that dealt with drugs.

  139. O Olson says:
    October 8, 2013 at 9:02 am

    “The writers of this survey didn’t seem to know that one of the questions didn’t even have the right answer as one of the options.”
    —————————-
    cloa5132013 says:
    October 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    “Other questions are somewhat faulty- “
    ——————————–

    John another says:
    October 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    “… for the political expedience of control and power, the stupidity of this group to dumb down it’s own population for the sake of control… glimpse of the future the Fabians fawn for.”
    ____________________________________

    Consider that the poll is presented by Pew Research Center, which doesn’t have a non- political bone in its underpinnings. The only reason Pew designed this poll was to determine how “the message” must be adjusted in order to maintain control (of us peons.)

    On the bright side, the design of several of the questions could indicate that the researchers aren’t very smart and are victims of their own propaganda. On the other hand, Pew might be way ahead of us and the real research will come from their perusal of blogs.
    Where did I put that tin foil…

  140. RE: “The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future. Is this statement…

    You correctly answered “True””

    The correct answer is actually false. Continents do not move their locations. They have no volition. Continents are moved by forces

    The question should state “Earth’s continents have been moved for millions of years and will continue to be moved in the future.”

  141. wonder if its possible they themselves didn’t believe it (that co2 causes all that crap) and did not want to add validity to the poll?

  142. Gail Combs says:

    October 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Well Anthony, what did they expect when they shortened CARBON dioxide to “Your CARBON foot print”

    Remember 50% of the population has an IQ under 100 and they VOTE! (As long as their Community Organizer remembers to send around the bus to pick them up and carefully instructs them on how to vote and bribes them with candy or…)

    I didn’t get any candy Gail, where’s the candy?

  143. Bill Taylor – What Ben is saying is the continents don’t move on their own.
    The question should be phrased correctly

  144. milodonharlani said @ October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

    The Big Bang is not a silly claim but a well-supported scientific theory, not just an hypothesis. The relevant evidence collected to date supports the theory & no observations or data have yet shown it false.

    But if you have a better, less silly explanation for the cosmic background microwave radiation at 3 K, please by all means present it here. You could revolutionize astrophysics & cosmology.

    Sir Arthur Eddington estimated the CBR at ~3K from his measurements of starlight in 1926. In 1946 George Gamow estimated CBR to be 50K based on what was later to be called Big Bang Theory. I’d say that observations of a CBR at 3K falsified, rather than confirmed Gamow’s BBT prediction.

    I, too scored 100% on the test.

    As for those who claimed to have got their gender correct, the genders are: masculine, feminine and neuter. The terms male and female are sexes, not genders.

  145. Joe Crawford says:
    October 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    JEM says (October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am ) “… I need to figure out some way to demonstrate to her what would happen if the atmosphere WERE mostly oxygen.”

    Tell her the story of the Apollo 1 fire. where we lost space veterans Gus Grissom and Ed White and their rookie crew-mate Roger Chaffee. Quoting from an article in Time Magazine: “… A frayed wire to Grissom’s left let fly a spark, one that would have been entirely harmless at sea level pressure in an ordinary nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere. In the high-pressure, 100% oxygen environment of the Apollo spacecraft, it was like dropping a match in gasoline.” (http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2044930,00.html)

    =========================================

    By the way, Oxygen does not burn!

    Second, if you drop a lit match into gasoline that is in a container that contains no Oxygen, the match simply goes out; goes out just like dropping it into a container of water.

  146. Gene Selkov said @ October 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    That remark about gender was pompous enough, the Pompous Git! Rock on!

    There’s no point adopting the pseudonym unless it is wielded with great wielding ;-)

    The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Ed) only partially agrees with your link. There is no reference to the use of the word as a synonym for sex. The feminists introduced gender as a euphemism for sex (in the 1970s if memory serves). See pp. 427-8. Indeed, there are some languages that possess two genders: animate and inanimate. Presumably the animate would correspond to male and the inanimate female… Feminism can take one down strange trains of thought :-)

    • The Pompous Git says: “Feminism can take one down strange trains of thought”

      So strange I would not have imagined the real intent behind the choice of this word in surveys, had this conversation not occurred.

      Incidentally, I had been processing a survey of surgical residents when this thread erupted. The category where they stated their sex is called Gender. I guess you can’t blow against the wind. It will always be Gender in surveys.

      The French wiki explains why, in a rather more straightforward way compared to its English counterpart:

      http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_(sciences_sociales)

      > L’utilisation scientifique du mot, dans le contexte des rôles sociaux des femmes et des hommes, date de son emploi par John Money en 1955 et a été popularisé par le mouvement féministe dans les années 1970 et a progressivement remplacé l’usage du mot « sexe » dans les sciences sociales3.

      See, the category reported in my survey is not biological. It is a “social role”. How strange is that?
      I wouldn’t have guessed from data values, which are “male” and “female”.

      The English wiki tells a similar story, a bit differently (it’s always fun to compare national wikis):

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

      Also note an over-developed section on etymology there. Beats the Oxford Dictionary by a mile! (just as well, for the Oxford Dictionary doesn’t claim to be an etymology source)

      In German, there is hardly any difference between the two meanings, and the same word is used for both. I guess we would not be having this discussion if not for the Anglo-Roman version of feminism.

  147. @ Gene Selkov

    How many sexes in your survey? I recall a friend attempting to integrate several government databases some years gone. The different databases did not agree on what that number should be; some had 2, some 3 and one had 4! This latter had the usual male, female, neuter, and “not stated” for those offended by the question.

    Apropos the French and their prissiness on matters sexual, Stephen Hawking was considerably amused at their responses to (and translations) of his papers on hairy black holes and smooth black holes. Who would have thought that astrophysical terminology was not suitable for polite conversation? :-)

    • @ The Pompous Git:

      It was simply inhumane to subject the sensitive French public to dirty insinuations about the unmentionable place that Hawking pulls his theories from. But for the offended ones, there is a powerful antidote:

      (apologies to those who have already seen Stephen Crothers talk about black holes — The Git was not here the last time we had a chat about bad ideas)

      ~~~~~~

      In my survey, there are only three sexes: male, female, and “not stated”, with a surprisingly large number of “not stated” for a rather small (and anonymous) survey it is. They report race — another politically incorrect thing — much better than sex. This outcome essentially renders the sex factor useless for the purposes of the survey.

  148. I’m native Finn and my education is that I’ve been book’d 8 years in bublic school wich does not mean, that i’ve been there. Still I got 100% right. What proofs that school is not only place, where one can learn things. :) Forgive my bad english, I have learn it from movies.

  149. I think the average human should have been expected to get 13/13 from UNPROMPTED answers, and almost 100% should have got 13/13 when they had the correct answer given to them in a multiple choice format. Wonder what the scores would have been in open answer format? “What is the role of red blood cells?” “What is the most prevalent gas in the atmosphere?” Good grief – nearly a quarter got wrong the “true or false” on plate tectonics!

    The thing that struck me is that the next time a 20-something activist lectures you on fracking, the odds are 2/3 that they don’t know what it is! Only 35% knew (even with the answer staring them in the face) that it is extraction of NG, and not diamonds (FFS!).

    And yet in AUS we had govt by Twitter for the past 3 years. Disgraceful.

  150. Pedantically if scientists believe the gas causes temperatures to rise they are inept. The gas traps the heat but it does not cause anything itself. how can anyone truly judge responses when the questions are sloppily phrased?

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