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Jun 02 2012

Are You Too Dumb To Vote?

Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg thinks some people are too dumb to vote:

   Personally, I think the voting age should be much higher, not lower.  I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest.

   (…)

   It is a simple fact of science, that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth.

In some cases he may be right except that he wouldn’t agree. 46% of Americans believe the creationist view of human existence:

The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

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Hmmm, why would that be? Could it be a failure of our schools? Scarecrow at FDL says:

assume these numbers reflect the effects of private religious schooling and the growing trend of devising various schemes to use public dollars to subsidize private/religious schools, as reported in the New York Times.

Every time I hear Arne Duncan go on about NCLB or his Race to the Top and how we ought to be promoting clever ways to give parents more choices outside the public school system in how they teach their children, so as to improve their children’s math and engineering scores, I have to wonder why he just doesn’t make moving the numbers on this chart in a more enlightened direction as a measure of what “success means.” That chart shouts “failure” when I look at.

Or could it be more that our country’s “youths”, as Chris Mooney points out in his new book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Realityyou’re too misinformed to vote if you get your news from Fox News:

In June of last year, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”

Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact [weighed in http://www.politifact.com/trut… and rated it “false.” In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking?

There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence-especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it-evidence in Stewart’s favor-is pretty overwhelming.

I am fairly certain Jonah wasn’t pointing his pudgy conservative finger at the religious right or Fox News but if the shoe fits

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