A National Science Foundation survey offers a sobering reflection of knowledge in today's all-knowing world. Many people really do believe the sun circles the Earth. And more than half don't know that humans evolved from animals.
Please let's be honest about this: knowledge is a dangerous thing.
If everyone knew everything, this would only lead to anarchy.
There are some basics, however, that are always useful when chatting with strangers in bars or going on a blind date with a very attractive scientist.
It helps, for example, to know that the Earth isn't the center of the universe. (There's at least a 30 percent chance that the attractive scientist might be from outer space.)
Not everyone, it seems, is aware that the sun doesn't in fact worship us by circling our planet in reverence.
Indeed, as Agence France-Presse reports, 25 percent of Americans firmly believe that the sun revolves around the Earth.
This bracing statistic comes from a survey of more than 2,200 people conducted by the National Science Foundation.
This survey is performed every couple of years, just to see if America has made any progress. It's like elections for Congress, but with actual facts.
You might be heartened that an actual 74 percent of respondents know that the Earth circles the sun. So let me reach into your heart and bring it back to its resting beat.
Fifty-two percent of Americans had no idea that humans evolved from animal species. This may be the 52 percent of people who believe that mayonnaise comes from the mayo plant.
Personally, I am not as depressed as you might be with these results.
In this survey, 30 percent of people said science deserves more government funding. There is no data suggesting that most of these people were the ones who believe the sun revolves around the Earth.
Moreover, I live in California, so I am duty-bound to believe that the journey is more important than the destination.
Unlike the more ancient nations, America's journey has only just begun. And, look, we've already been to the moon and made sure the whole of Earth watches our movies and eats our scientifically processed food while they're doing it.
That Earth/sun thing has neither a bearing on our daily lives, nor on our need to make the whole world American.
In the end, what difference does it make if the sun circles the Earth or vice versa?
It's always up there and we're always down here. That's all we really need to know.