Dumb Things Americans Believe

1282600870143Many were surprised at a week-old poll showing that twenty percent of Americans believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. But the stupidity of our populace extends to many areas of life. Thus, Newsweek took the opportunity to make a list of some of the dumbest things that Americans believe. For example, twenty-one percent of Americans believe in witches, and twenty percent are sure that the sun revolves around the earth.

Didn’t we clear this one up in the 16th century? Copernicus be damned, 20 percent of Americans were still sure in 1999 that the sun revolved around the Earth. Gallup, the pollster that conducted the study, gamely tried to dress it up by celebrating the fact that “four out of five Americans know Earth revolves around the sun,” but we’re not buying.

  • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

    Not that I am excusing most of this list, but asking a Wiccan whether witchcraft is real is identical to asking a Christian is prayer is real. Somehow, I imagine that more Americans believe in prayer than witchcraft, but it would be insensitive to suggest that is a ridiculous belief, right?

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      You nailed it. Belief in the supernatural or fantastic is completely acceptable and normative…as long as the supernatural in question is popular religious myth…not anything heretical.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Doesn't take a big leap of faith after reading that articles points to associate many of the foolish beliefs with the same chunk of American society. Let's see Obama's Muslim, evolution is wrong, freedom of religion only applies to big religions that we like, WMD's were in Saddam's possession while he collaborated on 9/11, and a general lack of knowledge about science or geography….hmmm…could it be that ass backward near total ignorance goes hand in hand with tent revival politics and snake handling religion? Evidence weighs heavily in my favor on this one.

    • Gloves?

      I did read in college once that essentially, education breeds liberalism. Could that be why radical conservatives want to end public schooling?

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        Well…in theory…its more about the belief that privatization moves everything into the marketplace…but the side effect is that the level playing field and commonality of experience that binds as fellow Americans and equal citizens suddenly dies out, replaced by religious indoctrination or whatever no-longer-neutral theme guides a school's charter.

        But I agree…with the exception of those who study only for the sake of furthering beliefs they already hold, the broader one's education gets, the more likely one is to become 'liberal'…at least in the sense that many different viewpoints may hold varying amounts of merit instead of blind obedience to a single creed.

      • Gianova

        Experience breeds conservatism.

        • Gemmarama

          perhaps YOUR experience does…

        • Honuman

          then why do so many conservatives believe in the magical man in the sky who will take care of them when they die? Is that experience related? didn't think so.

        • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

          Only if you learn nothing from that experience.

        • connie dobbs

          Experience without learning breeds conservativism.

    • Haystack

      You start to see why some people thought democracy was a bad idea.

  • oman28

    The truth is the belief, for the believer.
    I believe in esp and astrology (not horoscopes).
    Guess that makes me dumber tha the average american

    • Crow_t_nelson

      actually, it puts you on par… ! superstition is just as good as ESP, horoscopes and astrology, and you got two.. ANY poll could cast you as representative of more than half of the population of the US… Then again ANY poll could do the same of any member of any group, provided the right questions were asked…

      I got a question.. Who are more likely to answer these sorts of polls… People who want to represent their actual views? People who want attention(from whom they're being polled by)? I suppose it depends on how you're asked..

      I know who doesn't answer these polls… People who really matter in society (ie. Too busy/just don't care); and those who refuse to answer stupid polls over the phone/at the Mall/on the Net. The latter make up most of the population is my guess (cross referenced with those who don't care)… How do you guys feel about that opinion?

      • oman28

        You can throw religion in line one too. It's all true to the believer.
        I have scant regard for polls and the 'one in five someones think something' type statistics they produce.If you ask the right demographic the right question in the right way you will get the desired result.
        Then the statistic becomes valid proof to support the belief which makes the belief true.

  • Kirkpatrickshelly

    What?! Really? How embarrassing!

  • Alchemist11

    I doubt that 20% in 99' believed the Sun orbits the Earth. Maybe the guys taking the poll were looking for stupid looking people to ask? I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if true though. I did just have to argue with someone that our solar system is in the Milky Way Galaxy and that there are many billion galaxies as far as we can tell. He was arguing that the Milkyway is the Universe… not a stupid person either, just badly informed.

    • Haystack

      Well, you might want to check out this French “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” clip, where a guy gets that question:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmLwnSXNpFU&p=BD

      He polls the audience, and the audience gets it wrong, too. *g*

      It's France, but it does show that a lot of people in 1st world countries can still get that wrong.

  • wonder

    Actually, heliocentrism was never proven, it is just a preferred method of cosmology. Einstein and hawking both admitted that geocentrism is a valid theory even though they both did not believe in it. Galileo recanted his belief in heliocentrsim under no duress two years before his death. Look it up.

    • connie dobbs

      You're right, heliocentrism has fallen way to Sagittarius A* centrism, at least as far as our local galaxy goes. In grander cosmology, there's no accepted “center” of the universe, unless you reduce spacetime to one point at the singularity. If you're talking the solar system itself, then general relativity explains that with no muss nor fuss, as it explains precession, decay, and our ability to stick objects all over the solar system with a minimum. Of course, not everyone believes in general relativity, but those people are only fooling themselves – they also don't believe that we've put any space probes up – or landed on the moon.

      Look at what I did! I showed how stupid you are by pointing out the facts, instead of what someone (whose mental and physical faculties were, btw, failing rapidly; he was already blind and suffering from acute pain) who died 400 years ago said on his deathbed – which may or may not have ever happened. To Illustrate the power of idiots to believe stupid things, the occultist Aleister Crowley died all alone in a boarding home. His last words were “i am perplexed”. The two sentences are mutually exclusive, but both are accepted as “truth”.

      You're one of those people who put “Internet, The” as a bibliographical source, aren't you? It's fine to be “skeptical”, and encouraged, even! but being an idiot who believes the sun revolves around the earth means you're not really playing with a full deck. Also, you likely work at mcdonalds.

  • Arcocelli

    It seems no one has caught the irony of this being posted on Disinfo, which frequently has posts regarding all kinds of zany shit that people who read this site whole heartedly believe in. Definitely a “pot calls the kettle black” moment.

    • oman28

      Actually if you read my original comment you will find that I was making exactly that point. I read the article and found that there were things in it that I believe in. Hence I must be as 'dumb' as the people the article refers to.

  • connie dobbs

    You’re right, heliocentrism has fallen way to Sagittarius A* centrism, at least as far as our local galaxy goes. In grander cosmology, there’s no accepted “center” of the universe, unless you reduce spacetime to one point at the singularity. If you’re talking the solar system itself, then general relativity explains that with no muss nor fuss, as it explains precession, decay, and our ability to stick objects all over the solar system with a minimum. Of course, not everyone believes in general relativity, but those people are only fooling themselves – they also don’t believe that we’ve put any space probes up – or landed on the moon.

    Look at what I did! I showed how stupid you are by pointing out the facts, instead of what someone (whose mental and physical faculties were, btw, failing rapidly; he was already blind and suffering from acute pain) who died 400 years ago said on his deathbed – which may or may not have ever happened. To Illustrate the power of idiots to believe stupid things, the occultist Aleister Crowley died all alone in a boarding home. His last words were “i am perplexed”. The two sentences are mutually exclusive, but both are accepted as “truth”.

    You’re one of those people who put “Internet, The” as a bibliographical source, aren’t you? It’s fine to be “skeptical”, and encouraged, even! but being an idiot who believes the sun revolves around the earth means you’re not really playing with a full deck. Also, you likely work at mcdonalds.

  • Sudzbuddie

    bunch of know it alls in here huh. think you know something… no one knows anything but a bunch of bullshit handed down from a bunch of bullshit ers! and the way you people talk is unnecessary!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ANK56BGOA27PXHKIJQB47QILXY DanielL

      The way we talk?

      Ah, I see… that would be what we like to refer to as “English”. You know, the language that we invented?

      Never mind, I’ll take exception and use smaller words and grunts next time, so that you can keep up.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ANK56BGOA27PXHKIJQB47QILXY DanielL

    The way we talk?

    Ah, I see… that would be what we like to refer to as “English”. You know, the language that we invented?

    Never mind, I’ll take exception and use smaller words and grunts next time, so that you can keep up.

  • Guest

    100% of American can see obama is an African negro

21