Why do we still survey Americans on scientific questions? The answers to that question are: 25% say we enjoy reading about how uninformed we are, 35% say surveys are the way scientific discoveries are made, 45% say ‘flying cars’ and 2% say these numbers add up to more than 100%.
A recent one came into view last week, unlike a flying car, and had the characteristic amount of value. The problems of this survey are not just in the answers. The questions, about how things will be in 50 years, are equally bizarre. One asked if computers will make art as well as humans do. Does this question have ANY meaning? I can’t think of any. Another asked if humans would have long-term space colonies. 64% said no, even though we’ve already had one for fifteen years already (International Space Station).
Maybe they are predicting that we will get tired of that and junk it forever, but I doubt that’s what they meant. Oh, and MORE people thought we’ll have solved teleportation than have a long-term space colony. Teleportation! Disassemble human bodies and hurl the bits through space! Flying carcasses!
The craziest question of all, of course, is the one asking whether humans will control the weather. There you go! Ask a question that is monumentally ambiguous in light of climate change, and simultaneously fraught with all the political dynamics of that ‘debate’, and without it even being clear which answer represents your side in that controversy, and then see what people say! Flying carbon! We are doomed.