Friday, June 08, 2007

who doesn't know the earth goes around the sun?

Follow up to Omar's post yesterday, using data from the just-released 2006 General Social Survey.

% of Americans who say either that the sun goes around the earth or that they don't know, when asked, "Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?"

People who have at least some college:
White men: 11.0% (N=392)
White women: 22.7% (480)
Black men: 25.5% (51)
Black women: 34.4% (90)
Hispanic men: 6.9% (29)
Hispanic women: 32.3% (37)
People with a high school diploma or less:
White men: 26.7% (221)
White women: 39.7% (292)
Black men: 40.0% (50)
Black women: 51.8% (83)
Hispanic men: 33.3% (30)
Hispanic women: 50.0% (34)
White Democrat men: 16.5%
White Independent men: 21.4%
White Republican men: 15.8%

White Democrat women: 26.2%
White Independent women: 37.1%
White Republican women: 27.5%
("White" and "Black" exclude Hispanic respondents)

BTW, a quote of Dr. Watson talking about Holmes in the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet:
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge... My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
To my knowledge, Sherlock Holmes is not a respondent in the 2006 GSS.


Kieran said...

Hispanic men: 6.9% (29)
Hispanic women: 32.3% (37)


Jerry said...

My first impulse was to blame sarcasm, but then I looked at the graph in Omar's post. I don't suppose the "sarcastic" respondents were also deliberately missing vocabulary words.

Ann Althouse said...

Some of the male/female disparity may be that women are more likely to say they don't know. Some of the men who don't know may just guess, giving them a 50-50 chance of getting it right. Women may even be reflexively saying "I don't know" because it's a science question. Maybe if you pushed them, they'd know.

Kim said...

What are the breakdowns by religion / church attendance?

Yeah, yeah, so I could go look for myself...

jeremy said...

The M-F diff among those who say "Sun around Earth" is 14.3%-21.4%, and the diff for "don't know" is 4.3%-10.7%, so while the proportional sex difference for "don't know" is larger than just giving the wrong answer, it doesn't explain the overall sex difference.

Ken Houghton said...

So the precious "independents" really are more ignorant?

Jude said...

Uh, Sherlock Holmes was British. He wouldn't be a GSS respondent.

Sheesh, I thought you were the sociology guru.

Kim said...

[insert some Beatles reference to "Hey Jude" here]

In case anyone's interested, I've posted some graphs on beliefs about the origins of the universe, evolution, and Galilean astronomy by religion here.