Browsing EurekAlert, I noticed an article titled Canadians Overwhelmingly Believe Climate Change Is Occurring. The article claims that only 2% of Canadians deny the existence of climate change. The survey report breaks it down further:
Canadians most commonly (54%) believe that climate change is occurring partially due to human activity and partially due to natural climate variation. One third (32%) believe that climate change is occurring due to human activity while one in ten (11%) believe that climate change is occurring due to natural climate variation or that climate change is not occurring at all.
Comparatively, according to a Gallup report this year 15% of Americans believe that the effects of global warming will never happen, and another 15% say that its effects won't occur within their lifetimes. About half of Americans believe what scientists in the field are saying about the heat lately: global warming is already happening.
Reading this, I got curious: what are the percentages of some other conspiracy-style, anti-sense beliefs in the US?
According to Wikipedia, somewhere in the area of 15-30% of Americans believe that the US government at least had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attack plans, and chose to let it happen.
As of 2001, somewhere between 6% and 20% of Americans believe that the moon landings didn't happen.
In 2011, after the release of his long-form birth certificate, about 10% of Americans still believe that President Obama was not born in the United States. Among only Republicans, it's at 23%.
Also in 2011, a health poll conducted by Thomson Reuters and NPR concluded that 21.4% of Americans believe that vaccines can cause autism.
A criticism I hear a lot about America, which I personally believe, is that Americans believe that they are not obligated to consider evidence when it conflicts with their views -- that facts are just as subjective and malleable as opinions. Unfortunately, the broader cultural trends in America seem to reinforce this position. Mainstream news media's Balance principle pushes them towards giving coverage to verifiably wrong positions, and pseudo-educational media outlets like The History Channel produce shows like UFO Hunters, Ancient Aliens and The Bible Code: Predicting Armageddon.
Also unfortunately, the web as it's currently structured makes this worse. Most peoples' major portals to content online, Facebook and Google, filter the content they show the user based on past trends of liking, clicking, and otherwise positively responding. Then, we all head off into media outlets that target our own demographics, pretty much exclusively.
But, obviously, America is getting it wrong more than the rest of the world. Our climate change blindness is at 30%. Canada's is at 2%.
I've depressed myself now, so I'll end it there.