Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

March 28, 2011

Who thinks the sun goes around the earth?

Filed under: Data Analysis,Geocentrism,GSS — Razib Khan @ 2:00 pm

My post earlier today prompted a few emails about the bizarre result that a substantial minority of Americans accept that the sun goes around the earth. The General Social Science variable is EARTHSUN, and it asks:

Now, does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?

The answers are “Earth around the Sun,” “Sun around the Earth,” and “Don’t Know.” A substantial minority of Americans answer #2. What’s going on here? This isn’t something limited to America. The same question has been asked internationally. I’ve underlined the geocentrism/heliocentrism question below:

I apologize for the small font. What you’re seeing though is that substantial minorities, on the order of 1/7th to 2/5th of people in the regions above give the wrong answer on whether the earth goes around the sun, or vice versa. Is geocentrism rampant? No, I don’t think so. My explanation is that many people don’t think scientifically habitually, so scientific facts aren’t background priors which pop up reflexively. On surveys which require a rapid first-blush reaction you may give the “intuitive” result, and only later realize that your answer ...

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