Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Girls are dumb

posted by Jazz at 11/24/2004 11:19:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

... and have cooties, too. But if it's any consolation, the boys aren't looking to be much brighter. Ok, all kidding aside, Jill from Brilliant at Breakfast has pointed out a fascinating study conducted by the government's National Science Foundation. The study tested a random sampling of Americans on their knowledge of general science. Jill points out some of the shocking shortcomings, such as the number of people who apparently think (and no, I'm not making this up) that the sun revolves around the Earth. There's plenty more.

One aspect of the study which caught my eye, though, was the odd disparity between males and females in terms of how well they did. The test consisted of 18 questions, and of those, women scored better than men on only two of them. (I have no idea what this might indicate, but women were significantly more aware than men that it is the father's genes which determine the sex of their children, not the mother's, and that antibiotics are unable to kill viruses.) For the other sixteen questions, the men outscored the women by margins that varied from "nearly a tie" ( for example on the question of whether or not the center of the Earth is very hot) to some complete blowouts. (For example, men were more than twice as likely as women to know that lasers focus light and not sound waves.)

The report doesn't give a breakdown by gender of the various levels of education, so we have no way of knowing if they oversampled women with a lower total amount of education, etc. Also, there were more women in the study than men by a significant margin, which might have thrown it off. Still, it is somewhat startling to me that men would score that much higher. Of course, the key aspect of their findings was that people of both genders in this country seem to be woefully ignorant about some basic science items. Don't these people get the Discovery Channel on cable where they live?

Since my posting may be spotty, as previously noted, you might want to take the time to go to the top of Jill's blog and just flip through all of her entries for the last few days. She's really been on a roll.