What do Americans think of Arabs?

56 percent of US citizens against using Arabic numerals on the school curriculum

The general scientific knowledge of the average American is not in good shape. This was also recently confirmed by a quiz that here can be completed in the German version. While the STANDARD readers who asked themselves the eleven questions have answered an average of 9.7 questions correctly so far, this was only 6.7 questions for the representatively selected US quiz participants.

The US polling institute Civic Science has now stepped up again and asked 3,624 US citizens the following question (or slightly nasty trap): "Should teaching Arabic numerals be part of the curriculum in American schools?" 2,020 people answered no, "and only 29 percent said yes - although of course every US citizen uses the Arabic numerals from 0 to 9 on a daily basis. John Dick of Civic Science reported this rather embarrassing result on Twitter:

As the head of the polling institute explains, the aim was to test the prejudices of those people who do not understand the content of the question correctly. Most people would not know the origins of our number system and chose a correspondingly "tribalistic" answer - against the foreign "Arabic".

But do such prejudices also apply at the other end of the ideological spectrum? To this end, the pollsters put a second trick question to the respondents: "Should teaching the creation theory of the Catholic priest Georges LemaƮtre be part of the scientific curriculum in American schools?" The answers were similar: 53 percent were against - even though LemaƮtre is considered to be the founder of the big bang theory, which is now the cosmological standard.

The rejection rate was particularly high among those who described themselves as democrats. In both cases, it is revealing that Americans would much rather have a stupid opinion than admit their own ignorance. Because only very few opted for the alternative "I don't know" for both questions.

Incidentally, this also confirmed a survey from 2015. It was then asked whether US troops should bomb the city of Agrabah. 41 percent of Trump supporters and 19 percent of Democrats were in favor, even though Agrabah is a fictional city from the Disney cartoon "Aladdin". (tasch, May 30, 2019)