In 2006 the General Social Survey asked 437 respondents eleven basic science questions. The first one, for example, was whether the earth’s center is hot. I gave each person one point for answering a question correctly, and then summed the scores. My next step was to convert these totals so they resemble IQ scores. I set the white mean at 100, and the standard deviation at 15. Here are some averages:
Since we know the standard deviation I decided that it might be interesting to take the numbers he generated and convert them into standard deviation units, and display them on one single chart in a comparative manner.
The first thing you might ask is how can both male and female “science IQ” be below average? Remember that the scale is standardized to the white average, and as you can see both blacks and Hispanics have lower scores than whites, resulting in an total population average score below that of the white median. So with that out of the way, what do we notice? Nothing much that should surprise us. Blacks and to a lesser extent Hispanics know less about science than whites. But since science is logocentric and linear that makes sense, proficiency is directly proportional to white cultural content. So Hispanics, who are generally of part European cultural heritage do better than blacks. Men do somewhat better than women, probably because of the patriarchal structure of modern science, which discourages female involvement. Knowledge of science is directly proportional to education; ‘nuf said. Since around 1/3 of American Nobel Prize winners in science are Jewish one would expect that Jews, as a whole, have a high science IQ. But what’s with Protestants doing so much worse than Catholics? Part of it is plain demographics; blacks are more likely to be Protestant than Catholic and do worse on this test than whites. On the other hand, Latinos are more likely to be Catholic than Protestant, and also do worse, though not as badly. Nevertheless, I think ‘tarded Protestant Fundamentalists are making their cretinism known in these statistics. I suspect that that’s why those who attend church more than once a week are so science ‘tarded; such hyperattendance is a feature of Fundamentalists.
To me the regional data is the most fascinating. Here is the rank order from the most science ignorant to the least:
West South Central
East South Central
East North Central
West North Central
It seems to me that the states which are the most savvy about science are those who tend to be part of what Michael Lind has termed Greater New England:
If you look at a linguistic atlas of the United States, you’ll notice something striking. The “Upper North” dialect zone identified by students of American speech patterns is almost identical to the blue-state zone on the Electoral College map: New England, the Great Lakes states, and the Pacific Northwest. This is “Greater New England” — the regions settled by New Englanders and their descendants from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
This is the region where Barack Obama has done particularly well:
Since this is a biology focused weblog, I decided to take the regional science knowledge data and just plot them vs. the proportion who accept human evolution in any region. I’m assuming these data won’t shock anyone’s priors. Southerners are the least intelligent regional subculture in these United States, and, they reject descent from apes and exhibit a more broad ignorance of scientific questions.
Just out of curiosity I looked up a few other of the above demographics re: belief in human evolution (e.g., male vs. female) and added them to the regional plot, and this is what I got:
I’ll leave it to readers to figure out what the labels for each dot are (took me no more than 5 minutes to find the polls).