More than two decades since the birth of the Internet, civilized humanity is well into the information age. A significant faction within the civilized populous, Americans, can now, better than ever before, access the vast expanse of easily obtainable knowledge by a few clicks on nifty technological devices that we all so much adore.
One might reason American citizens would, therefore, have a firm grasp on the basic topics surrounding everyday existence. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Whether the topic is religion, politics, cosmology, geography or history, there persists a substantial portion of the American populace who suffer from the misgivings of the con artist that is ignorance.
Since the founding of our country, religious beliefs have consistently played a major role in lives of individuals within the states. With religion’s regular presence among the people, it may come as a surprise that the majority of U.S. citizens are unaware of what the constitution states in regards to religious affiliation. In a 2007 survey, 55 percent of Americans believed the constitution intends for a Christian nation, even though our first amendment specifically grants the right to religious freedom. In fact, only 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one right granted by the first amendment, and an astounding only 1 in 1,000 can name all five, according to McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.
Given our constitutional ignorance, our announced belief of the U.S. being a Christian nation may reflect the majority, who claim religious devotion to some sect of Christianity and therefore infer a national association to this particular faith. If this is the case, then it seems logical to conclude that our nation would be knowledgeable in regards to the realm of Christianity. However, only half of American citizens were able to accurately deduce that Judaism preceded Christianity, even though Judaism is the very origin of the Christian faith.
So far it seems that many Americans would not win in a jeopardy contest that revolved around politics and religion; What about in regards to some other form of revolution, say our planet, which orbits the sun?
Of the seemingly infinite bodies that inhabit our universe, one would hope that humanity have at least some inclination of the one in which we call home, earth. Yet, 20 percent of Americans actually believe the sun revolves around the earth, even though the geocentric model died centuries ago with the emerging of, get this, science.
Still, Americans are rather optimistic about the cosmos, with 80 percent believing life to exist elsewhere in the vast universe. This progressive optimism is arguably deflated when we acknowledge that 1 in 5 Americans claims that aliens have probed someone she or he knows. With the American population consisting of over 300 million people, these aliens must have some probing fetish to amass such a percentage of the population.
We aren’t done yet; Americans do not cease to impress statistics with their affiliation to ignorance. In 2006, a mere five years after 9/11, 30 percent of Americans could not recall the year in which this tragic event took place, according to a poll published in the Washington Post newspaper.
Further into historical tragedies: according to most polls, about 30 percent of Americans remain unaware of what was the Holocaust was; 73 percent did not know why we “fought” the cold war; 25 percent are unable to identify from which country we gained our independence — a proud moment of American history.
More into geography, 29 percent of Americans cannot point to the Pacific Ocean, the giant blue thing on the map to the left of our country. We are an intelligent species, no doubt.
The deceptive character of Ignorance entices the American populous with idealistic poison, leaving a trail of evidence within the minds of many. Like a virus, ignorance will continue to thrive within the hospitable. One can only hope that the American people will subject themselves to becoming informed, and allow the readily available vaccine — the Internet — to aid in attempt to conquer this virus once and for all.