To be fair, judging from the rampant narcissism that’s taken hold of much of American culture, many in the survey, which I suspect included Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, were amazed to find that the earth did not circle around them.
It’s the greatest of ironies that at a time in history when the tide of information available has never been higher, somehow the level of the informed is at the opposite low ebb. It’s as if people were dying of hunger while sitting in a Red Lobster.
The biggest factor in this existing information/misinformed paradox is the acceptance of the widely adopted teaching philosophy propogated by liberal educators of “there is no wrong answer, only different interpretations.” This ensures that children are not traumatized by giving a wrong answer to a question in school. Kids are allowed to progress through their formative years without having to endure the shame of being wrong but instead gently consoled that there is an alternate ‘better’ answer. We know that letter grades have even been eliminated since that would be discriminatory and hurtful to the young egos. If the kids feel educated, that’s enough. And spelling doesn’t count.
There is the old chestnut that the reason that little Johnny thinks 2 plus 2 equals 4 is not because of arithmetic logic but rather because the teacher told him it was. If kids aren’t taught basics at a young age, they default to parroting their teachers for their ‘facts’.
Fast forward to their post teen years when the biggest information sources are their peers, TV and of course the Internet. Peers may be an iffy source of knowledge, but TV and the Internet are inviolable. If it’s viewed on YouTube a million times, “liked” on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter or depicted on Saturday Night Live, then it must be true.
Of course it doesn’t help that high profile personalities are spouting bumper sticker science as hard facts. If for example, Eva Longoria, noted scientist and part time actress says that climate change is real, then it must be real. If Sean Penn, noted historian, philosopher and part time actor dishes on the virtues of communism and socialism, then it must be true. If John Kerry, noted doppelganger for Lurch of the Addams family fame tells us that Global warming is a bigger threat to mankind than a nuclear Iran, terrorism, disease epidemics and poverty, then it must be.
If people don’t believe the facts as presented by those that are “experts” in their field, they run the risk of being sued, such as the tactic employed by a Penn State University climate scientist in an attempt to silence his critics. It may well turn out that what’s acceptably true as fact is determined not by science but by lawyers. Whether the rumor that the earth revolves around the sun is true or not is the least of our problems.