We’re Number Dumb!

1 in 4 Americans unaware earth orbits sun.

The great thing about being American is that we may have no idea what’s going on, but we are still sure that it is our mission to tell you what to do and fix you if you don’t want to do it.

Here:  have a condom, a TV, or a gun.  That’s what *our* world orbits around.

  • bernadette1858

    As I understand it neither the geocentric nor the heliocentric theory has been “proved”. A theory is simply a tool. On the other hand the Bible indicates that Joshua asked God to stop the sun to lengthen the day. If the Bible says something but the world says something else that diminishes belief in the Bible, I’ll go with the Bible. You should not mock people who have not yet been indoctrinated by the “world” view. Indeed, I have been told that until someone can step outside of the universe and see the actual movement of something around something no one will know for certain which theory is correct. The only entity that is capable of doing that is God. He wrote the book and I’ll stick with the Bible until the Catholic Church decides otherwise.

    “Although its progress was slow, the heliocentric model eventually replaced the geocentric model. As new evidence appeared though, some began to question whether the Sun was actually the center of the universe. The Sun is not the geometric center of the planets’ orbits, and the center of gravity of the Solar System is not quite at the center of the Sun. What this means is that although children are taught in schools that heliocentrism is the correct model of the universe, astronomers use either view of the universe depending on what they are studying, and what theory makes their calculations easier.”

    Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/33113/heliocentric-model/#ixzz2uEZCPSE8

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      Coordinate systems are arbitrary. One can, indeed, make a geocentric system with Earth at the center of everything by definition. It makes things horribly complex in terms of mathematics compared to the alternates in most circumstances so we don’t do it. What’s been proven is that the math is simpler one way over the other. Heliocentrism wins to explain the solar system and the big bang to explain the universe.

      The Bible is not invalidated by heliocentrism. The problem that sensible churchmen had with Galileo was his insisting that he had the power to force them into an interpretation ahead of evidence actually proving his theory, something that today is considered inappropriate in modern scientific circles. So long as the Bible is not invalidated by a scientific theory, I think it is wise to go with the best scientific evidence available.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      A theory is simply a tool.

      No. In science, a theory has a concrete meaning separate from outside the scientific realm. It takes a considerable amount of proof, actually, for something to become a Theory.

      • missing

        right, but it is, in essence, still simply a model. a model supported by evidence yes, but a model nonetheless. It is fluid in that new and updated/improved research can cause it to be altered over time.
        It is only true until it is proven incorrect or obsolete by new evidence which is being gathered all the time.
        It is not something that one should put their faith into, is what i’m trying to say. It is merely useful, as a tool, as an adjective to describe the universe.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Don’t forget that mathematics is a different domain of knowledge from physics. One may create all sorts of models — no less than seven were in play in the early 1600s — but physically, there is only one reality. We can still use geocentric math for calculating satellite launches or (if we ever re-learn how to do it) moon trips. But unless we are going to dump all that “gravity” stuff, it’s hard to say with a straight face that the sun and the fixed stars circle the earth embedded in crystalline spheres.

          Recall that until the telescope was invented, no one considered the heavens to be a physical place about which discoveries could be made. Astronomy was a specialized branch of mathematics. (So was music/acoustics; which is why the quadrivium was arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.) For this reason, the Ptolemaic math model was not considered to be necessarily physically real. It was only a convenient mathematical fiction for predicting celestial events.

          Science consists in studying the quia or particulars of a problem in order to discover the propter quid or reason for them. That the earth runs elliptically around the sun (recte: center of gravity) can be explained by a principle of gravity (whether conceived as Newtonian “forces” or as Einsteinian space-time curvature). What propter quid is proposed to explain why the distant stars go in perfect circles around the earth?

          Hope this helps.

      • missing

        I would also like to offer a small correction: it does not take any amount of ‘proof’ to become a theory, but instead it takes evidence. It is a subtle difference, but evidence is not the same as proof.

    • freddy

      The Bible is not a science text. One can accept that God stopped the sun for Joshua, or the miracle at Fatima, while still accepting that science teaches that the earth orbits the sun. Science does not “diminish” belief in the Bible; it cannot.
      .
      The geocentric theory was not proven because it was wrong; the mathematics didn’t hold up with what was being observed through telescopes. The heliocentric theory was also not proven because further observation showed that the sun was only one of many suns in a galaxy full of solar systems in a universe full of galaxies.
      .
      However, to do basic orbital mechanics, the scientist has to start somewhere, and that’s where you’re getting the fact that astronomers use “either view of the universe.” Scientists are not using classical geo or helio centrism. Scientists are using the earth as a center-point in calculating orbital trajectories of objects in earth’s orbit. Scientists use the sun as a center-point to calculate trajectories of objects moving outside earth’s orbit, or going from one planet or satellite to another.
      .
      I would argue that the simple fact that we can launch an object from earth and land it on Mars using orbital mechanics as we currently understand them: that both the earth and Mars orbit the sun, shows that our understanding is correct.

    • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

      Framing the old geocentrism vs. heliocentrism debate as a case of religion vs. science is a modern false narrative. Prior to the Renaissance, geocentrism dominated because the best empirical research that could be done at the time backed it up. Even the prevailing philosophical reasons for defending geocentric models back then were mostly neoplatonist; not Christian.

    • Jared Clark

      I can only think of one Bible verse that can even appear to be geocentric, and that is the battle in Joshua where God holds the sun still.

      That fits under either model because there are two interpretations:

      1. It was a sun miracle, like a more practical version of the one at Fatima; therefore, it did not necessarily require changing anything about the pattern of the universe (just like the sun was not dancing for the whole daylit world at the time).

      2. God literally held the sun. If that is the case, then in order to keep the universe from falling out of whack, He’d hold all heavenly bodies (or, at least, everything in our solar system); otherwise, the miracle would have long, lasting effects on the order of the cosmos.

      Since #2 requires holding the sun, as Joshua says, and also everything else, it fits under either model and cannot be used as dogmatic argument against the prevailing scientific theory.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      “In the Gospel we do not read that the Lord said: ‘I send you the Holy Spirit so that He might teach you all about the course of the sun and the moon.’ The Lord wanted to make Christians, not astronomers. You learn at school all the useful things you need to know about nature.”
      – St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius, Contra Faustum manichaeum

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.” Sherlock Holmes. I would say I have to agree.

    • Nick Corrado

      Hah, I was thinking of the same thing.

    • Raymond

      This was not intended to be a positive trait for Mr. Holmes.

      • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

        I think his point that memory is finite is valid. There are great swathes of things I don’t know, and don’t even realize I don’t know, and I’m okay with that. There are also great swathes of things I know exceptionally well.

        Heliocentrism isn’t one of those facts that commands much mental space, so it’s something we should know not because it’s useful (it’s not) but because it tells us about our universe. In my case, I need to know it because I teach and write about church history.

        BTW, “Sherlock” (the series) turned this line around and had a solution hinging on this very point in order to show Holmes the use of the information.

  • Dave G.

    The good news is that 33% of those people said that science needs more government funding. And 90% said that the benefits of science outweigh any potential dangers of science (which I suppose means scientific discovery). So it looks like the survey conducted by the National Science Foundation found that we need more science education and discovery, and fortunately many of those who don’t know anything about science agree.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’m very wary of articles like this, which can’t even be bothered to link to the study or poll which is purportedly referenced. Among other things, the wording of the questions is very important.

    I know there’s a push for more science education in the assumption that it will produce more scientists and engineers, which presumably will further scientific and technological progress. One of the professional organizations to which I belong has a regular column about the need for more STEM courses, and these ever earlier in school.

    Personally I am very interested in an education which encourages the formation of scientists and engineers. I am not at all convinced that the mechanical paradigm of “more science courses = more scientists” provides that education, much less the desired result.

    • Andy

      I agree – more science courses + more scientists is false – I took all science courses available in high school, I began college a chemistry/physics major. I am now a special educator and professor of special education, and I know many people like me.

  • kmk

    Most Americans I know are very generous, as well.

    Having lived as a “Eurobrat” for most of my teen years, I looked down upon my ignorant American college classmates initially as a young adult–but when the stuff hits the fan, in the military (I was in the Army and saw the generosity myself), or in general (we are surrounded by generous efforts, both locally and large scale, of raising money or volunteering for other people, aren’t we all?!), there is no other culture on the planet (besides the Vatican : ) ) which responds so generously when others are in trouble.

    Yes, we are slowly sliding downhill, and notice I am not mentioning exceptionalism or anything at all political or educational, but if I am going down, I will go down fighting and sacrificing with my peeps.

    • Dave G.

      That was nice of you to say. I’m so used to people speaking negatively about Americans, I was waiting for the punchline.

      • kmk

        Nope, it’s the truth–you see it around you, don’t you? Even if some or even most of it is misguided, people are willing to help each other here.

        I’d dearly love to see Bavaria again, but not live there forever. At least here we are able to educate our children ourselves if we want them to know geography–my children will not be snatched away during our homeschooling day.

    • SM

      Great point, I have found this is very true as well. I studied abroad in Europe during college and everyone was baffled that my American classmates and I were eager to find places to volunteer. The concept of working for others without pay seemed insane to them. This was my experience at least.

  • R. Howell

    The actual study can be found here:

    http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/content/chapter-7/c07.pdf

    The question about the earth and sun is on page 22.
    Couple of things to note. It is not clear from the table (though perhaps explained somewhere in the body) whether everyone answered the question. It says 74% of respondents gave the correct answer, but I’m not sure if 26% gave the wrong answer. Another thing: everyone did badly. No other country or region got over 90% right on any question. The EU got only 66% right on the question about whether the earth revolves around the sun.


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