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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Scientific illiteracy: the majority of Russians lost questions for students


8 February will mark the Day of Russian science. On the eve of this festival organization “Analytical center of Yury Levada” conducted a study in which Russians were asked to answer several test questions for middle school. To distinguish true statements from false managed only 2.3 percent of respondents.


photo: Natalia Muslinkina

All respondents were asked seven statements, some of which were true, some not. The least difficult of the Russians caused the assertion “the Continents on which we live, and move, for millions of years and will continue to move in the future.” True it found 70 percent of respondents, and they were right. 9 percent held the opposite opinion, and 21 were undecided.

Also more than half of Russians answered that it is true “Electron less than the atom” (it really is). 16% considered it false, but refrained from a definite answer 29 percent.

Other questions evoked from respondents even greater difficulties. 40 percent agreed with the erroneous assumption that the radiation created by man, and only 44 percent responded that it is not. Only 36% against 35 agreed with the statement that the sex of the child is determined by the father’s genes, while modern scientific ideas it represents. Untrue the phrase “the Laser works, focusing sound waves” considered true 40 percent to 42. And two false statements, as it turned out, are more supporters than opponents — the phrase “Antibiotics kill not only bacteria but also viruses” faithful found 46 percent were undecided 20 percent and only 34 per cent knew (or guessed) that this is not so. 42 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that only genetically modified plants contain genes, while 30 percent responded that it is not.

The researchers also draw attention to the fact that some respondents could answer at random, and in this case, the chance that their answer is correct, 50%. Thus, the actual state of scientific knowledge, the Russians may be even more worse than it may seem.

On all seven tests correctly answered only 2.3 percent of the respondents, 7.2 percent gave the correct answers to the 6 tests. Thus, the good result showed less than 10 percent of respondents. Nevertheless, this result clearly cannot be described as high, experts note a positive trend because in previous years the Russians answered the same questions correctly more often.

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