A MILLION CHIMPS WITH A MILLION TYPEWRITERS….WOULD DO BETTER THAN US….Important research from the University of Michigan:
Despite a decade of highly publicized advances in genetics, U.S. adults know no more about genetic testing than they did in 1990, according to a University of Michigan study.
In other news, lots of people still believe in astrology, UFOs, and supply side economics.
Ha ha. Seriously, though, UM’s PR department screwed the pooch on this: not only do we not know any more than we used to, we actually know less. On a five question test, the average score dropped from 2.7 correct answers to 1.9, and this decrease was statistically significant.
In fact, we can go even further than that. What the survey shows is not just that knowledge of genetic testing has gone down, and not just that we don’t know very much about it, but that Americans actually know less than nothing about the subject.
Here’s the deal: the survey had five true/false questions. If you gave the test to a bunch of chimpanzees who answered the questions randomly, they would get half of them right. The humans, however, got 38% of the questions right. In other words, we did worse than if we actually knew nothing at all.
As it happens, the survey questions were about fairly obscure subjects, so I’m not surprised that the scores weren’t too hot. But worse than knowing nothing at all? What does that say about modern education, the role of the media, and the state of western civilization in general?
And did they give this test to New York Times reporters to see if they did any better?