"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." Bertrand Russell.
So, does the Earth really revolve around the sun? Or, were the ancients right when they believed the sun circled the Earth?
According to a Gallop poll, one in five of us in the United States thinks the ancients had it right. Yup, 20 percent of those polled answered that the sun orbits the Earth - not the other way around. And, that poll was taken in this Century, not 500 years ago.
Unfortunately, I have no firm numbers on how many people still believe the world is flat.
Here are a few other things a significant number of Americans believe. Much of the following was compiled by Newsweek and can be found here.
- 28 percent of Americans believe the population of the United States exceeds one billion (Harpers). Actually, the last time I checked, the U.S. population is something more than 300 million.
- One in five Americans still believe Obama is a Muslim (Pew poll). I'm thinking Obama would know and he continues to insist he's Christian.
- 25 percent of Americans do not believe i the theory of evolution, 39 percent do believe in it and the other 36 percent aren't sure. (Gallop). Actually I have my own doubts about this one.
- One in four of us believe we won our independence from a country other than Great Britain. France and China were popular but wrong responses. (Gallop). History books insist it was Great Britain.
- Four in 10 Americans believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act creates a "death panel" that makes decisions about end-of-life care. (Kaiser Family Foundation). No, it doesn't. I think.
- Four years after the invasion of Iraq, 41 percent of those surveyed continued to believe Saddam was involved in 9/11. (Newsweek). Damn the evidence. Charge!
The only thing scarier than what we think we know is what we don't know. For example, more Americans can name two of the Seven Dwarfs that can name two current U.S Supreme Court justices. Who, I wonder, has more impact on our lives? John Roberts, Ruth Ginsberg and the rest of the Supremes or Grumpy, Doc and the other dwarfs? Here's some more"
- Sixty-three percent of young Americans can't find Iraq on a map, nine out of 10 can't identify Afghanistan and more than a third of all surveyed Americans of any age can't identify the continent that is home to the Amazon River.
- Only half of surveyed Americans know that Judaism is older than Christianity or Islam. (Newsweek). Actually, Judaism is about twice as old - or around 4,000 years old.
- While three out of four Americans can identify the Three Stooges as Larry, Curly and Moe, only two of five respondents can correctly identify the three branches of government as the executive, legislative and judicial. (Zogby). Well, at least we know where our priorities are.
I guess it all just leaves me not knowing what to believe ...