Friday, July 31, 2009


Via Sullivan, I have to say that I'm struck by the DailyKos poll results on continental drift: "Do you believe that American and Africa were once part of the same continent?" I'm less interested in the obvious political fun to be had (Republicans and southerners are drift deniers, apparently) than what I consider a shocking lack of variation by age. The youngest cohort was only somewhat more likely to answer yes (48/20) than the oldest, age 60+ cohort (39/20). Yes, it's a difference, and perhaps going beyond the crosstabs would show a larger effect, but my understanding is that virtually none of the oldest cohort would have learned about continental drift as part of standard earth science when they were in school, while at least in public schools the 18-29 cohort almost certainly were taught it.

I don't know when it became a standard part of the curriculum, but I think it's 1970s-1980s, not earlier. Hmmm....a quick look at wikipedia pushes it a bit earlier, maybe centered in the 1970s.

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