"Hey, Mom, does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?"
"Jeremy, the Earth goes around the Sun."
Not one freaking second of hestiation or inkling of uncertainty, either, I'll have you know.
Probability of someone with my father's basic demographic characteristics indicating that he doesn't know the Earth goes around the sun: 31% (N=19)
"Ask Dad when he gets home."
"You need to take care of that cold!"
"Pretend like you don't know. 'Eldon, I was sitting here and wondering to myself, does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth? Do you know?'"
"Jeremy, he's going to think I'm stupid."
"You can tell him afterward that I put you up to it."
E-mail later from my mother:
hey j, dad knew the correct answer...............momI am tempted to offer a reward to the first person who provides a full and honest account of asking a noninstitutionalized, nondemented adult this question and getting 'Sun goes around the Earth' as a sincere reply. Apparently such people are all around us--including, according to Omar, more than 1 in 8 women with graduate degrees--so an exemplar in one's midst shouldn't be hard to find.