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.
The two divergences are treated as if they are exactly the same, of course, and guess which gets the more publicity?
Here’s the part you have to dig for:
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).
What this NSF experiment suggests to me (though other interpretations are possible) is that some standard scientific knowledge questions do not actually measure what one knows, but rather what one chooses to endorse. For this reason, in its report the NSF did not include the evolution and Big Bang questions in its index of scientific knowledge.
In short, many of the self-identified Republicans are probably just people who know more about the current evolution scambos than other people. So belief drops off.
And knowledge may well increase, if people are annoyed by or concerned about the misrepresentations.
But the buried take-home point is that NSF decided not to trip over its own bucket on the issue.
– O’Leary for News