One in four Americans is an idiot

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Magical Realist, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    3. Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth?

    Both and neither. Whether we answer one way or the other depends on our choice of reference frame. For most practical purposes, it's probably easiest to regard the Earth as fixed and to describe the motions of the Sun, Moon, planets and fixed stars in the sky. (Despite Copernicus, the Sun is still seen to rise every morning.)

    Physically we can say that both the Sun and the Earth go around their common center of gravity. (Given the differences in masses, I suppose that point might be inside the Sun, but not precisely at its geometrical center.)

    The Earth-Sun system in turn is moving around the center of our galaxy, which itself is moving in the larger universe.

    6. Lasers work by focusing sound waves. True or false?

    Acoustical lasers exist.

    I guess that technically, 'LASER' stands for 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation', so the sound analogue of that device should be called a 'SASER', but the term 'acoustical laser' is also used.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not by me. I see the horizon turn under.

    Seriously: once you've seen the horizon turn under the stars, the moon, the sun, it's quite difficult to see all that stuff rising in unison and moving without visible impetus in such perfect conjunction. Your mind rejects the complex and invisible, and forms the simple and observed event.

    But that has nothing to do with intelligence or idiocy.

    Sound is not normally referred to as radiation, and if you talk about amplifying sound using a laser everybody who knows what a laser is will think you are talking about using a laser to somehow manipulate sound waves via electromagnetic radiation made coherent - again, nothing about unfamiliarity with such vocabulary implies idiocy.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
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  5. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    Quite right, sculptor!

    The simplest explanation for the red shift is that it results from a sort of cosmic inflation, in the economic sense of inflation -- that is to say, a loss of value in a unit of measurement over time. Economists are used to working with the dualism of actual dollars and actual value. Both have their own reality; a varying rate of inflation translates one series of data to the other.

    So it is with the cosmos. The measuring rod of space (distance) itself is subject to inflation over time. Imagine, then, the galaxies against a sheet of cosmic graph paper that is slowly shrinking. The number of squares between two galaxies increases in proportion to how far apart they are. So it is that objects distant from the observer appear to be receding at a velocity proportionate to their distance (ignoring any small scale local movements).

    In our daily lives, we are used to measuring velocity as a ratio between distance and time. The effect of cosmic inflation is so small as to be not only negligible but unfathomable to the human mind. Psychologically, we find it impossible to take on board the idea that two static objects, if they are at a sufficient distance from one another, are getting further apart. But it is a fundamental property of physics that this is the case -- and it is not the only physical law that challenges our day-to-day sense of reality. The idea is at least within our comprehension.

    Occam’s razor compels us to prefer this simple explanation for the red shift over the quite unnecessarily complex (and to most people, barely comprehensible) theories currently in vogue with the scientific community, most of which involve the unsatisfactory notion of the early cosmos expanding faster than the speed of light at some stage.

    So there never was a what Fred Hoyle mockingly called a “big bang.” The cosmos is the same size it always was. Answer to question 7 is false. But I have no quarrel with anyone who says "don't know".
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  7. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

    So I was right when I said:

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    Pretty interesting about SASERS (sonic lasers too).
  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Good thing George isn't here to see his bubble burst but that isn't how averages work.
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member


    1. The Earth goes around the Sun and it takes a year to do so

    More disturbingly, in 2012 a majority of Democrats (51 percent) could not correctly answer both that the Earth goes around the Sun and that this takes a year. Republicans fare a bit better, with only 38 percent failing to get both correct.

    As with astrology questions [astrology is “not at all scientific”], conservative Republicans fare the best (67 percent correct on both questions), followed on this issue by Republicans overall (62 percent correct) and liberal Democrats (62 percent correct).

    At the bottom are non-liberal Democrats—conservative Democrats (27 percent correct) and moderate Democrats (44 percent correct).

    2. Humans evolved from other animals

    Because a rejection of evolution is mostly a belief, but is typically analyzed as a scientific knowledge question, the second version was designed instead to test the respondent’s knowledge of the theory of evolution. [According to the theory of evolution, human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.] The results were quite different.

    Overall, 71 percent of people agree that the theory of evolution involves humans evolving from earlier species, compared to only 48 percent believing in it. For Republicans the reversal is dramatic: on evolution only 32 percent of Republicans are believers, well below Independents (53 percent) and Democrats (53 percent). But in understanding the gist of evolution, Republicans (76 percent) are insignificantly ahead of Independents (71 percent) and slightly, but significantly ahead of Democrats (68 percent).

  10. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    If you have three smart friends, I guess you are the idiot.
  11. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    oh, please. the resident communist chimes in.
  12. Sylvester Registered Senior Member


  13. jabbaska Registered Member

    I do not have any empirical data to support my views besides the one I get from books, movies and games...

    I watched Borat with my wife yesterday night. I was not completely sober and I wanted to laugh a bit. Anyways, I am not sure if everything is an act or not, but what Borat does in that flick is showing how self-righteous americans are, the people themselves. Arrogant and self-centered. Maybe because they have a bit of everything in their country...not sure...I think it is this same self-righteousness that makes american people more prone to indocrination and consequentely stupidity (for lack of a better word). One can't generalize though

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