Facts You Won’t Believe a Majority of Americans Don’t Know: America tends to have a rather poor reputation on the global stage for their perceived ignorance, a charge that is somewhat unfair. Despite pockets of the US being less educated and more ignorant than others (and such pollsters usually prey on those regions to get their desired results), the fact is that America is still one of the most well-educated and knowledgeable countries in the world, even if they’re actually beginning to decline slightly in those areas.
That’s not to say Americans are impervious to strange beliefs or unfortunate bouts of ignorance. Unlike our previous list of The Top 5 New World Order ‘Facts’, which realistically were not facts at all but rather speculation, the following list of facts are either written in stone, or may as well be; and yet they are facts that a majority of Americans (more than 50%) don’t know or agree with.
We’ve tried to compile a list that touches on various aspects of life and history, though mistaken beliefs fueled by religion do take up multiple spots on the list in some capacity. With that out of the way, let’s get started with the first of nine facts you won’t believe a majority of Americans don’t know.
9. Where the U.K is on a Map
Americans get a lot of flak for their geography skills, which are routinely put to the test in studies. So while we balked initially at including a stat like this, as it’s rather overdone, it is nonetheless somewhat mind-boggling how little Americans know about the world around them.
While a majority of Americans can locate themselves on a map (although the varying percentages that can’t, according to numerous studies is still far too high), two-thirds of them could not locate their staunchest ally of late, the United Kingdom, according to a 2006 National Geographic Survey.
8. Government Spending on Public Broadcasting is Minimal
Government funding for public broadcasters like NPR and PBS came under fire by Republicans back in 2011, who called for a complete halt to funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A subsequent poll by CNN found that only 27% of Americans understood that funding for public broadcasters represents no more than 1% of the government’s total budget (and in fact is much lower than that, being just 0.01%).
7% actually believed that more than half of America’s entire budget, which would be about $1.7 trillion, was spent on public broadcasting. That would be one heck of an advertising budget!
7. That Aliens Exist
In a 2013 study by Public Policy Polling, only 29% of Americans claimed a belief that aliens exist. This is naturally a rather controversial subject, because technically, no one yet knows whether aliens do in fact exist or not (save for those who claim to have met them, often in gruesome, rather probing ways).
Yet given the enormity of the universe and the literally trillions of planets that exist, even the most skeptical mathematical equations of the odds of life developing on Earth and how that could apply to its likelihood of formation on other planets, the Rare Earth hypothesis, would still indicate that life likely exists on thousands of other planets; and that’s a skeptical model. It’s not surprising then that 98% of astronomers and biologists believe that alien life does exist.
6. That Vitamins Do Not Help Your Heart
In a survey conducted this year by the Cleveland Clinic, 61% of Americans falsely believe that vitamins and other supplements have a beneficial effect on heart health, despite studies showing that vitamins (Flintstones or otherwise) have almost no effect, and can in fact be detrimental. Perhaps even more shocking, 74% of Americans don’t fear death at the hands of heart disease, despite it being the leading cause of death in the US.
5. Who the Gospels Were Written By
Despite the vast majority of Americans being Christian (76%), less than half could attribute who the gospels of their faith were recorded by: the Saints Matthew, Luke, John, and Mark. One would think that if you truly believe in a deity and a Heaven and Hell after death, you would be devout in your faith and feel truly beholden to your God. Instead, most Americans don’t really seem to care.
Perhaps most telling is the fact that atheists/agnostics correctly answered more religious questions from that survey (the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life) than Catholics did.
4. The Three Branches of Government
In a 2006 poll by Zogby, less than half of Americans could name the three branches of their government (you know, that entity that everyone loves to complain about), which are the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. 77% of them however could name all three of the Three Stooges.
3. That the Spread of Communism was a Major Concern During the Cold War
According to a 2011 Newsweek survey, 73% of Americans could not cite the fact that the Cold War was not just a battle between the US and the Soviet Union, but also and even more importantly, one of political and social ideologies. The spread of communism was the biggest fear for America and its allies during the Cold War, and the Western and Eastern Bloc sides were clearly delineated along those ideological lines.
2. That Noah’s Ark is a Fable
Not to pick on the religious again, but it’s rather unbelievable that 61% of American adults can literally believe that a stone age man and his family built a gigantic boat and put two of every creature on the planet in it in preparation for the month and a half long flood to come and wash everything away. Ignoring the fact that there is no scientific evidence to suggest there was ever a global flood, it’s nearly madness to believe, that such a wild fantasy could have happened. Yet that is the power of religion in the way it can shape people’s beliefs, and convince them of things that clearly could never have happened.
1. That Evolution is Real
For a country that prides itself on its scientific and technological advancements and contributions to the world, it’s staggering that only 39% of Americans believe in evolution according to a 2009 Gallup Poll. That number is heavily based on education and religious values; only 21% of those with a high school education or less believe in evolution, while only 24% of weekly church-goers believe in the theory.
It is an embarrassment to American culture and part of the reason for the ghastly statistics, when abominations like the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky are teaching American children that the earth is 5,000-years-old, and that humans and dinosaurs happily co-existed together, while denying any such thing as evolution ever took place.