Monday, March 24, 2008

Hey! Where's the science?!

For many years now, the annual science and technology survey (2008 available here) has reported that the majority of Americans get their science knowledge from television (with the internet becoming a growing source). It has also revealed that, on average, Americans only get about 8 questions out of 15 regarding various topics correct.

Could this poor science aptitude have something to do with their source?

This looks like it may be the case. This new journalism survey for 2008 reveals just how little time the media spends on science. Out of 15 categories the study looked at, science got the absolute least coverage ranking in at less than 1% of the air time on cable. Evening news was slightly higher getting as much as 2% of the airtime.

Surprisingly, among top stations CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, MSNBC actually had the least amount of science coverage (most likely as a result of the extensive 2008 election coverage in which MSNBC strongly outranked other stations). Perhaps the low priority on science for MSNBC explains this stupidity.

Regardless, it's no wonder science literacy is so pathetic in this country (and I'm not just talking about evolution) when the primary source for information on the topic is far more concerned with celebrity gossip.


smv said...

I agree. How could anyone think that their TV is actually a good source for scientific information?

At least some members of the media are trying to keep us out of the New Dark Ages:

M. Simon said...

I disagree.

Logical thinking for most people is both unnecessary and painful. Actually physically painful. Watch some one who has trouble with logic trying to figure out a logical puzzle. You can see the pain on their face.

If logical thinking was a requirement for survival dogs would be geniuses.

If logical thinking was more useful for humans we would all be smarter.

That being a given the Tube probably gives it as much attention as it deserves. which is why rockets going to the moon gets a lot of attention - it is scientific, it is exciting, loud noises, flames, fast moving objects. And F=ma gets hardly any attention at all.

Reality is not what you imagine or desire. I hate to admonish a science oriented person because it pains me to do so but, you should pay more attention.

Anonymous said...

How about this? An Iraqi astronomer explains why the earth is flat. Don't laugh; it may be the next wedge issue in the U.S.

TV's Mr. Neil said...

Leave it to the Muslim world to unwittingly supply the perfect parody of what's going on in the US right now. Behold the marvel of the "academic freedom" to not have your ideas challenged if you don't want them to.