Sunday, December 21, 2008

54 Million

"More than one in five Americans" is often the beginning of a grim statement about the current state of things, and this recent poll result is no exception:

As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun, or does the sun revolve around the earth?

Earth revolves around the sun 79%

Sun revolves around the earth 18%

No opinion 3%
No opinion? For every one-hundred people we pass on the street here in the USA, three have no opinion on the earth-sun relationship? They go back and forth on the question and never quite settle on one side or the other before the train of thought is interrupted, or the complexities become too much and the matter has to be deferred? They still feel there are a few more sources to check?

18% works out to around 54 million people -- 54 million people who made it all the way to adulthood and developed the ability to answer questions over the telephone, but have somehow missed the earth-orbits-sun factoid. Or maybe got the factoid but also got instructions from a preacher who warned that believing in reality will land them in a place of hot fire and bitey lizards, so best to pretend that reality is something other than it is. God will be fooled by this pretense and will send the abstemious souls to the ultimate vacation destination, after which they can, presumably, forthrightly acknowledge the earth-orbits-sun factoid.

Neat.

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