The U.S. National Science Foundation released, on February 14th, an international poll that shows:
Whereas only 48% of Americans know that "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals," 66% of Chinese do, 70% of Europeans do, 76% of Japanese do, 64% of South Koreans do, and 56% of Indians do. However one surveyed country was even worse than Americans on this fact: Only 44% or Russians do. Perhaps the former Marxist state never really left the grip of Christianity in anything more than the most superficial way, because the Christian Bible seems still to have an even bigger sway in Russia than it does in America.
74% of Americans know that the Earth goes around the sun, rather than the sun going around the Earth. 86% of South Koreans know this scientific fact. But only 66% of Europeans do, 70% of Indians do, and 72% of Malaysians do. (Other countries weren't surveyed on that question.)
No nation scored well overall, on the issues, which ranged from "The universe began with a huge explosion," to even issues of basic science, such as "Electrons are smaller than atoms." On the latter question, the most basic of all questions in physics, only 30% of the people in India know that electrons are smaller than atoms, and only 32% of Japanese do. Only 27% of Chinese do. So, approximately 70% of the people in those countries are totally ignorant of even the most basic understanding of what an atom is. Science-education in those countries is appallingly bad. By contrast, 53% of Americans know that electrons are smaller than atoms, 46% of Europeans and of South Koreans do, and 44% of Russians do. Therefore, anyone who says that China, Japan, or India, is likely to surpass the U.S. anytime soon in science is just ignorant of the reality in those countries.
This survey was part of the NSF's Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 .
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .