An article on Dr. Jon D. Miller, a political scientist who studies how much Americans know about science and what they think about it, does not have too much to say that we should find encouraging.

Dr. Miller’s data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that 20% of American adults believe the Sun orbits the Earth. But this is a pretty credible source.

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