S Africans worse than Americans in science
10 March 2014, 13:17
Johannesburg - One in three South Africans don't know that the earth
revolves around the sun, according to a test with 10 basic science questions,
Rapport said on Sunday.
The average South African only cracked half of the questions, put to 1000
people via Media24's online Forum24, the Afrikaans language newspaper reported.
The 2 200 Americans who answered the same questions by the National Science
Foundation got 6,5 out of 10.
South Africans were worst at the question: "Antibiotics kill viruses
and bacteria, true or false?" with only 28% knowing the answer. White English speakers fared best at this
South Africans did best on the true or false statement: "The centre of
the earth is very hot" (78%).
On the question of whether man evolved from animals, 49% said yes, 41% no
and 10% said they did not know.
Dr George Claassen, a science journalism lecturer at Stellenbosch University
said a weak knowledge of basic science is not a joke; it can kill people and
lead to exploitation through quackery.