According to a recent survey conducted biennially by the National Science Foundation, fully one quarter of respondents – 26%, or 572 participants, of a total sample of 2,200 – did not know that the Earth rotates around the Sun.
I suppose the term solar system is simply not intuitive enough.
Of course, one third of the respondents indicated that they think “science should get more funding from the government.” How fitting. Of course, it is probably lost on these folks that “science” is not a tangible thing that can receive funding, or that this magically endless stream of cash does not come from the “government” but rather from people, via direct and indirect confiscation of their property.
The sciences represent beautiful academic topics and professional disciplines in their various forms and as a society we sorely need to develop future generations of scientifically savvy professionals to remain economically competitive globally. Turning to the government to realize this goal, however, is and always has been a fool’s errand. After all, following nearly $1.5 trillion in expenditures dedicated to the Department of Education alone we still apparently have an inexcusably large portion of the populace that are ignorant to the heliocentric nature of our existence.
Throwing money at “science” by way of the special interest state will not likely appreciably change these outcomes. Perhaps this is because the state really has no inherent interest in an informed and intelligent populace but rather just a standardized one. Bring on the Common Core!