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The Ignorant [People in the] World and What to Do About It

Posted By: SpaceCommando
Date: Monday, 26-Apr-2021 08:10:06
www.rumormill.news/170971

By Joakim Book - April 25, 2021

A spectre is haunting the Western world – the spectre of a grossly mistaken understanding of the world [i.e. ignorance].

British kids have nightmares about the climate. Half of French respondents think it likely that climate change will cause “the extinction of the human race.” American teachers coddle students who have panic attacks when wildfires rage somewhere on the planet. Eco-anxiety has clearly gripped the Western world, but what’s worse is that most people have a dismal outlook on all of humanity’s progress, not just climate change.

Because slow changes don’t get noticed, and because humans use mental shortcuts to understand the world, we end up with a grossly misinformed view of what is. The late Hans Rosling, the Swedish professor of international health that most of us know as the excited man on YouTube (the one who explains the progress of the world with bubbles and giant blocks), dedicated his life to dispelling these misperceptions. The Gapminder Foundation that now carries on his legacy writes

“Our ignorance surveys have shown that the general public is misguided about many basic global facts. Reliable global statistics exist for nearly every aspect of global development, but these numbers are not transformed into popular understanding because using and teaching statistics is still too difficult.”

Gapminder routinely asks 12 questions (sometimes with a thirteenth question on global temperatures, which most people tend to get right) about basic, uncontroversial, changes in global development – multiple-choice questions on things like demographic change, how many girls in poor countries finish primary school, and what’s happened to extreme poverty in the last twenty years.

The results are terrible . . .

[SNIP]


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