Sunday, October 10, 2010

You have an Idiocracy, if you can keep it...

You may have heard recently that a Pew Forum poll showed that atheist/agnostics scored higher on questions about religion than others. The press has been talking about what it means, etc. yaddy yadda yadda. Well, you know what I think this poll shows? That Americans are stupid. The highest average score (which was among the atheists/agnostics) was a 62%, which when I was in school was a big fat F. That means a bunch of people didn't know crap about religion and few knew a whole lot.

And Diane Winston over at the Huffington Post declares that it's really not important to know these things.
"But really, how important is it to know that Jonathan Edwards was an 18th-century revivalist or that nirvana is the Buddhist experience of freedom from suffering? The focus on factoids obscures a central challenge of the 21st century: negotiating the absolute conflict of multiple religious absolutes."

Well, it's kind of difficult to "negotiate the absolute conflict[s] of multiple religious absolutes" if you don't know shit about any of it. I find that a lot of people in this country are willfully ignorant and make it a point to say that they "don't need to know" anything. Yes, perhaps it is true that you don't need to know any of this stuff to go down to Wal-Mart and go shopping, and stop in at the McDonald's on the way home and stuff your face with a Big Mac and fries (mmmm, fries...). Anyway, it's kinda important when dealing with other people that you have some inkling of what they believe and why and what has happened before now.

In fact, only 2% of people got what would average to an A on it. The questions aren't hard either, they're things that one ought to know from just reading crap on the internet. Or should have learned in a general history/sociology class in college or high school.

You know, you gotta wonder about these things, either that or the intelligence of the people who take them. Only 28% of white evangelicals knew that Protestants teach salvation through faith alone. Only 57% of Jewish people knew that Maimonides was Jewish. I mean, come on, I knew that, he's one of the most important Jewish scholars ever. They did say that the higher the education, the more questions people got right, with college grads getting an average of 20.6 correct while people with a high school diploma or less only got an average of 12.8. Again though, those are averages, and a 20.6 is still an F.

What's funny is only 94% of atheists knew what an atheist is. I mean, that's really, really simple and 6% of self-professed atheists got it wrong. Maybe they just didn't bother reading the questions? I suppose that's a possibility.

The survey also apparently included general knowledge questions. Only 59% of people could name the Vice President. What's scarier than that, is that most of them probably vote...

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