The damage caused by social networks and conspiracies
Rationalists, science popularizers and teachers of Earth sciences and life, beware, this article may depress you. The Jean-Jaurès Foundation and the Reboot Foundation commissioned Ifop to conduct a survey* of young people “aimed at measuring their porosity to scientific untruths with regard to their use of social networks”.
The results, appalling, show “the secession of a part of the youth with the scientific consensus”, write the authors. In this age group of 11-24 years, more than one in four respondents (27% exactly) subscribes to the idea that “human beings are not the fruit of a long evolution from other species” but that they were “created by a spiritual force (eg God)”, with a peak of 71% among those who call themselves Muslims.
Marginal among seniors (3%), the flat Earth theory appeals to one in six young people (16%), a proportion that doubles (29%) among TikTok regulars! Who built the pyramids of Egypt? Aliens, answer 19% of respondents. They are 5% among seniors. A roughly equal proportion (20%) believe that “Americans have never been to the moon”. Here again, young people who call themselves Muslims are the most credulous (46%), but the other believers, Catholics or Protestants (often evangelists, specifies Ifop), are only a few points behind.
I am wondering about USA?
[Terre plate, astrologie… La crédulité des jeunes atteint des sommets]Terre plate, astrologie… La crédulité des jeunes atteint des sommets
1/2 of USA lives in a virtual reality. The brain can easily be fooled and programmed with some very unusual perspectives.
Numbers that I have been seeing are in the upper 40% range for the US believing in young earth creationism. The movement for this belief traces back to the US.
Don’t forget the US ranking in education;
Ironically, despite the United States having the best-surveyed education system on the globe, U.S students consistently score lower in math and science than students from many other countries. According to a Business Insider report in 2018, the U.S. ranked 38th in math scores and 24th in science. Discussions about why the United States’ education rankings have fallen by international standards over the past three decades frequently point out that government spending on education has failed to keep up with inflation.
[La mésinformation scientifique des jeunes à l’heure des réseaux sociaux - Fondation Jean-Jaurès]
I sum up for those who don’t speak French :
Among the young, 18-24, only 33% think that science benefits to humanity, 17 % think that effects are negative.
27% contest evolution, against 18 % among the seniors, 16% think that earth is flat, against 3% of the seniors.
Most of these young are heavy users of the social networks. And most are religious.
More surprising, 19 % of these young believe that Egyptian pyramids have been built by ET and 20 % think that the USA never landed on the moon, against 6 % of the seniors, many of them religious or Ultra-right.
They are more Anti-VAX than the elders, more permeable to Putin propaganda, 24 %think that the assault on the Capitol, on the 6th of January 2022, has been staged to accuse Trump and his followers.
66 % of the young believe at least at one of this false truths, but 85 % of the religious ones, against 62 % of no believers, 81 % of users of microblogging networks.
49 % think that astrology is a science.
I prefer to stop here.