back to article One third of Russians say Sun revolves round Earth

Those of you brought up in the heliocentric tradition are advised to look away now, because a poll has revealed that one-third of Russians favour the Ptolemaic model of our solar system. A shaken spokeswoman for state pollster VsTIOM admitted on Friday that a survey of 1,600 across Russia confirmed the worst: 32 per cent of …

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Boffin

It's who you ask...

If you ask the general public, you get a silly answer. Ask those with a degree, or those with a science degree, or those who publish papers in astronomy and you'll get a better answer. Probably the most striking illustration of this can be seen in Doran and Zimmerman's 2009 paper (see graph in http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf) where they compare belief in Anthropic Global Warming with the respondent's scientific background.

For general public, we get under 60% belief, rising to 82% for "Earth Scientists" in general, rising to nearly 90% for those who actively publish or are climatologists, and a stunning 97.4% of climatologist who are active publishers in climate change (*)

It's all down to who you ask

(*) or involved in the global conspiracy of scientists to destroy capitalism, which ever you prefer :-)

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It's who you ask?

And in other startling news, over 97.4% of priests surveyed - who are active publishers in theology - expressed a belief in God.

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Happy

I think ...

... that's the point the OP was making.

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WTF?

Does that say......

....most Climatologists eat their own dogfood?

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It's who you ask

Down with climatologists! We want our climatology done by non-climatologists thank you very much, as by their very name shall their agenda become apparent.

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I think a fairer comparison to theology might be

if you looked at the number of people who believed in the trinity amongst the lay and the priesthood. If there was a staggering difference you might say that the more religiously educated favoured the idea of the trinity. Of course, that doesn't mean it's correct (and being an atheist means that I don't accept the basic premise anyway), but if this was the case, who would have better reasons for believing such? It might also raise interesting questions about a disparity between the priesthood and the lay people. Kinda like climate science. The real question should be, why don't people trust the science (noting, of course, that it goes back far before "Climategate")?

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Alert

Would the results be any different?

Having seen what they "teach" here over the last few year as my son passed through the system, I've got my doubts if the results would be any different if you asked the same questions in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

The Earth is on wheels, so it can move about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdXhqZYBpX8

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Silver badge

Rubbish!!!! HERESY!!!!!

It's on elephants, standing on the back of a turtle.

After that, it's turtles all the way down!!

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Did humans evolve while the dinosaurs were still alive?

That has quite an interesting answer. Both literal biblical creationists and those of a scientific bent should be answering "no", the former because they aren't convinced evolution exists (particularly not for humans) and the latter because they are convinced that dinosaurs had died out long before humans came about. It's surely only those who've taken One Million Years BC for a documentary that would answer "yes". It seems to point more at the cultural impact of Raquel and the Flintstones than at the state of an education system.

The answer to the radioactivity question is more related to the impact on daily life. If you consider the question "all radioactivity that people are worried about is man-made ", then the reason for agreeing is more apparent. Other than radon in granite and uranium ore, I can't think of too many non-manmade sources that would concern me (something spectacular from the sun excluded).

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Did humans evolve while the dinosaurs were still alive?

It's a strange question, it's past tense, as if we have stopped evolving, or as if humans could have existed with the dinosaurs and not evolved, and you could perhaps answer "yes", as our ancestors were evolving with the dinosaurs. Couldn't they have just said "Did dinosaurs and humans coexist?"

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Boffin

Radiation

"The answer to the radioactivity question is more related to the impact on daily life. If you consider the question "all radioactivity that people are worried about is man-made ", then the reason for agreeing is more apparent"

One also has to consider that many of these Russians were likely alive (or heard stories from parents) about Chernobyl. This likely has skewed belief into man-made radiation, since Chernobyl was a very public man-made radioactive incident... Just because a single incident shouldn't be extrapolated to an absolute, doesn't mean Sheeple* won't do so.

* Sheeple commonly encompasses the non-educated masses

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Happy

Depends where you live.

"I can't think of too many non-manmade sources that would concern me (something spectacular from the sun excluded)."

Try living in a country under a huge hole in the ozone layer, in summer. It's a daily concern.

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Grenade

Re: Radiation

Nope, that's still not man-made. We may have released a shitload of it in one inconvenient place near Kiev, but it ain't man-made. Those heavy nuclei would have decayed over time, releasing the same radiation, whether we were here or not.

Let me know when we start fusing light elements into heavy, fissionable ones on an industrial scale, you can have your boffin icon back then......

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Headmaster

Radon

Always worried me when I lived in Cornwall...

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Headmaster

And America / UK?

Do you have the results for America / UK?

An additional question for them is "Was everything made by a big invisible bloke, and nothing exists unless he made it?". To tax them further ask them if the big invisible bloke made himself because otherwise he wouldn't exist!

I remember seeing something about a TV show that replaced USA on a globe with ocean and asked people to point to America, and a lot didn't realise anything was missing and pointed to USSR / Asia as the largest land mass. Of course it could've been an urban myth.

I'm also afraid about how many people would have to do the quiz verbally due to being illiterate.

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Deluded

"Was everything made by a big invisible bloke, and nothing exists unless he made it?"

Are you on drugs, what kind of moron would believe THAT?!?!!

Oh, wait.......seems lots of people do, damn, and I thought there was supposed to be intelligent life on Earth, silly me.

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Anonymous Coward

The fall of the USSR was inevitable

Don't forget that - right into the 90s - all the top USSR scientists firmly dismissed the 'foolish western propaganda' of plate tectonics. Presumably, they put earthquakes down to the anger of the gods. Even 20 years down the line, you can't help but think it's still part of the Russian scientific landscape to doubt tectonics and feel deep down that they don't really exist. It's engrained into them.

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Headmaster

It's

Sorokhtin, Ushakov, Zonenshein, etc. might take issue with your plate tectonics/USSR comments.

BTW, it;'s "it was engrained into them" or "it is ingrained into them".

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Anonymous Coward

And while you are being a pedantic little putz....

It's "it's" not "it;'s".

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Boffin

My apologies

for the typo.

However, my point was that the OP displayed a lack of knowledge in three areas:

1. Plate tectonics - otherwise he would have been aware of the Russians' work going back to the 1960s.

2. Grammar (self evident).

3. Politics, or possibly it was merely bigotry?

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Bronze badge

Hell's Bells!

Just don't poll the US!

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Wow, they've got more in common with the US than they thought!

Perhaps their only education is a museum of creationism?

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Stop

Or it could just be that Russians don't take polls seriously...

There have been some very weird answers to British polls about things like this; I'm not convinced that the polsters are getting straight answers.

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Pint

Vodka?

In Russia's defense, I think these numbers coincide with levels of alcoholism.

Did they ask them when they were sober?

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Pint

Errmm

When would that be then?

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Polls....

I wonder how many of them were joking about what they thought of the sun orbiting the earth? Then again, there could be some people for whom it doesn't really matter. I don't think simple farmers would care much as to how the earth rotates around the sun. As long as the sun does not come crashing into the earth, they are happy.

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Coat

RE: Polls

They'd probably care about the effect on the seasons that might have... *shrug*

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For a given value of dinosaur..

crocodile, Coelacanth and no doubt other 'living dinosaurs' help to muddy the waters a little.

ttfn

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Boffin

Dinosaurs not actually extinct, just evolved onwards.

Neither Crocodiles nor Coelacanths are dinosaurs.

However, Dinosaurs did not become completely extinct as we are taught. The big and land-bound ones did. Small flying ones survived. We know their descendants today as birds. So you might argue that humans do, in fact, still share the planet with dinosaurs.

I've never investigated whether there is any good reason for designating birds as a separate branch of the tree of life to dinosaurs. Obviously, they are distinguished by feathers, and in the case of almost all modern species, the lack of teeth. But there are fossils of link species, with feathers and teeth, pre-flight and flying.

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Silver badge

Hmmmm ...

... surely something that was an evolutionary step towards something else, but which no longer exists in itself, is extinct. I'm thinking, say, of trilobites, which (AFAIK) no longer exist in anything other than fossil form, but which have descendants we see now (again, AFAIK - I don't think trilobites were a dead-end, but if they were, substitute something else that wasn't). This would cover dinosaurs still being extinct, but with a healthy family of descendants, wouldn't it?

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Headmaster

I give you the Bird....

Birds are the closest to living dinosaurs.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Only in Ameri... oh yeah.... sorry about that.

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Welcome

Not according to Einstein..

Actually, given a lack of universal frame of reference, it's equally valid to posit either the Sun or the Earth as the centre around which the other revolves.. (Albeit, it is a lot simpler to work out the equations of motion governing the dynamics of the Solar System using a heliocentric model..)

I for one would like to welcome the hordes of evidently highly-educated physicists coming out of Russia

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Acceleration

If two trains are travelling at the same speed, then suddenly their relative speeds change abruptly, is that because train A braked hard or train B accelerated hard?

Those two situations are not equivalent, you can tell one from the other. Just check which set of passengers spilled their coffee.

Same with the earth going round the sun, afaik, but the acceleration involved is thousands of times less than gravity.

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Headmaster

No.

Look up "Non-accelerated frame of reference".

If you need assistance, ask you school teacher about it!

Then come back to post again.

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FAIL

Who orbits whom

Does the sun orbit the earth or does the earth orbit the sun? Technically, they orbit each other, but, since the sun is so massive in comparison to the earth, the center of the orbit is essentially the center of the sun (from a mass perspective). But, as someone pointed out, it really depends on your frame of reference.

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FAIL

Uh oh! Your comment puts you in the "uneducated" category.

You are confusing the Earth-Sun system with a binary star system.

Or...

You are confused regarding the notion of a "common center of mass" about which both bodies revolve. In a solar system, the center of mass will continually shift as the less massive bodies are continually trapped in the gravity well of their much more massive star, each lesser body slightly tugging on the star, thus continually shifting the common center of mass. ("center of gravity" is slightly different than "center of mass", but it is most common to calculate the center of mass solely from the masses of all bodies within the system and their instantaneous positions.)

"revolving about" means that one body's orbit about the common center of mass is primarily always outside the orbit of the center body.

"revolving about each other" means that both bodies very often cross the orbit of the other body.

Because the mass of the sun is so much greater than that of the Earth, the common center of mass is ALWAYS very close to the sun if not within the limb (visible bounds) of the sun. Therefore, the Sun's orbit about the common center of mass is EXTREMELY tiny compared to the orbit of the Earth's orbit about it. Therefore, the Earth ALWAYS revolves around our sun.

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Pint

Or both...

How many times have I looked up from my book to see the platform pulling out of the station..

Particularly on a friday evening

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nope!

in fact, in the frame of reference of the earth's surface, yes the sun rotates around the earth. that's why everybody thought/thinks that; because they are right.

similarly, in the frame of reference of a guy swinging a bowling ball around there DOES exist a centrifugal force.

the "catch" is that neither of these frames of reference are newtonian, because both are rotating whereas newtonian frames are not allowed to be accelerating, which thus rules out rotation. thus, such "illusions" and "imaginary forces" occur as real phenomena; which is why the physics seemingly well studied by so many posters here restricts itself to newtonian frames, apparently without even bothering to note for the students the obvious truth that those are a subset of all possible frames of reference, where newtons laws are not valid without converting to a newtonian frame.

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which leads on to

Does the moon revolve around the Earth? Or the Sun? Neither? Or the centre of the galaxy? Or ...

(pick your frame of reference)

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Megaphone

Thank you...

This was most informative and helpful. There is no doubt whatsoever that everything that you describe is also valid for this planet, on which we commence each sentence with a capital letter.

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Big Brother

The uneducated masses are much easier to control

Same pattern found throughout history and around the world. As for Russia, Putin wants his job back, when he removes his puppet. Can't have educated masses getting in the way of his need for power.

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Headmaster

How does that compare with the figures for the USA?

I seem to remember the US has similar or worse figures?

Oh, and if you want to be pedantic (not that El Reg readers would *ever* be pedantic) there's live dinosaurs still around today - sitting on the branches going "tweet tweet".

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FAIL

Doubt i'll be the first with this but..

In Soviet Russia, Sun revolves round you.

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Big Brother

It's gone half-circle

Oh, for the good old days when we joked from the freedom of our western ivory tower about Stalinist Russia where "you don't photograph the bridges, the bridges photographs you". Now, here in the CCTV capital of the world, try to take a photo of the bridges and not only will several hundred photos and videos be taken of you, but you also stand a very good chance of being accosted by KGB bully boys!

Sorry, I made a typo in that post. I wrote "KGB bully boys" when the more astute reader amongst you will have already surmised that I meant to write "London Metropolitan Police Service Community Support Officers" (PCSOs), alternatively known as CHIMPS (Completely Hopeless In Most Police Situations).

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Coat

Get out of here, Stalker!

That was too easy.

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Megaphone

There is no such thing...

... as a "PCSO". Section 38(2) of the Police Reform Act 2002, which created this peculiar type of non-sworn “policing assistant”, defines these members of police staff as “community support officers”. NOWHERE in the Act does it refer to “Police Community Support Officers”. That latter title was a political invention of the Home Office, in an attempt to dress up these second-class “officers” in a two-tier policing system about which no members of the public were allowed to debate, following their invention by David Blunkett. I ought to add that I have nothing against CSOs per se, but I object strongly to them being used for the clandestine erosion of the Police Service’s ability to deliver professional policing services without there having been a robust and open public debate.

So, please, do NOT refer to “PCSOs”: they are CSOs. Referring to “police community support officers” simply assists in preserving the illusion presented for too long by the Government of “policing” levels that we know just don’t exist.

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Stop

A better question

or, it should have been phrased

"Did humans and Dinosaurs co-exist"

because, we were evolving back then, we just were a little bit more rodent-like.

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Coat

That's nothing, try this ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpw_9FFhfHI

It's an old link, but worth every second

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