Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Test Your News IQ - Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center has a Science Knowledge Quiz. Go ahead and take it now, there are only 12 questions. I'll wait.

As a professional, life long science geek I expected to do well. I helps that I teach chemistry, and I'm interested in medical research, astronomy and space science.

If you look at the breakdown by question, it's not too surprising which questions most people answered correctly. And it's understandable that about half the people who took the quiz didn't know how big an electron is - that's not something most people have any personal experience with.

The question that disappointed me most was the one on antibiotics and viruses. Every time you get a cold and ask for antibiotics your doctor should tell you the answer to this one. Antibiotics don't affect viruses. When you are feeling crummy, it may seem unfair but the antibiotics won't make you feel any better except by the placebo effect. Fewer than half answered correctly. Everyone should know this, for two reasons:
  1. it's wasteful and a waste of time to take drugs that don't work
  2. it contributes to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, which is bad for everyone

Test Your News IQ - Pew Research Center
via Greg Laden's Blog

1 comment:

webmaster said...

Hooray, I got a perfect score, too! What I find interesting is the difference in males and females. I am bummed that females still scored lower than males. Females DID tend to do better on the two "medical" questions (aspirin and antibiotics). It's reassuring that education improves scores, but still sad that high school educated responders only got around half correct.