Sorry for the provacative title – here is a small internet survey to test your scientific literacy(which I learned about through Bad Astronomy). It’s fun and quick, so give it a whirl. When you’re done come back and read below the fold.
Like Phil, I got all 12 questions correct, but in my opinion this was an exceedingly easy science quiz. The average number of questions correct was 8.1 for men and 7.4 for women – that’s a D for both. Even college graduates as a subgroup only scored 79% – a C+. And this is in a self selected group among computer users.
I also found these questions skewed toward items in the news over the last couple of years, which should have helped the results.
Caveat – this is not a scientific study, and the survey could be broken if some people are deliberately doing poorly. Assuming this effect is minimal – wow, we have a lot of work to do.
Two questions stick out – electrons are smaller than atoms, and antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria, scoring 50 and 49% respetively. Given these were 50/50 questions, statistically no one knew the answer to these questions. Since I know some people knew the answer, this means that (in addition to scamming the survey) some people had to be actively confused on these questions, rather than randomly guessing.
This is just an internet poll, but it conforms to other more scientific surveys of scientific literacy.