Science communication has a long way to go to before it gets to the right people. A recent survey showed that 25 percent of Americans think that the Sun orbits around Earth, and 40 percent of adults reject the theory of evolution outright. More Americans are scared of clowns than they are of climate change.
Things, sadly, aren’t too much better in the nutritional science realm. The US-based Center for Accountability in Science (CAS) has recently conducted a survey of just over 1,000 American adults to determine how much the average person knows about matters of weight, calories and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), and it appears that a good proportion of them would fail their high school-grade health class.
Think you can do better? Take the test here, and remember – no cheating! Spoiler warning ahead.
Although most knew what a “calorie” defines, and roughly how many an active person should take in each day, it appears slightly more technical queries left many of them drawing a blank.
For example, about 59 percent of respondents thought that there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs, whereas in fact academic groups from all developed nations have indeed agreed that there is – and that they are perfectly safe.
The notoriously ambiguous label of “superfoods” may not have any official definition by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but that didn’t stop 38 percent of those questioned concluding that it does. Although most got the question right on the definition of a calorie, 19 percent of respondents thought that it describes the overall “health value” of the food.
Don’t worry though, these misguided American men and women aren’t alone. A recent survey suggested that as many as 52 percent of British adults think that the Apollo Moon landings were faked.
Still, Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, that vaccines give you autism and that space, although real, isn’t worth funding that much. We’d advise voting for a far more pro-science candidate, and hope that some of that know-how trickles down to those that need a little educational pick me up.