I already mentioned this study on one of my link days, but I had to come back to it. It's almost unbelievable.
Obviously, the primary point of the study is, effectively, how laughably stupid the United States is. As far as religious fundamentalism goes, we're in such fine company as Lithuania, Cyprus, and Bulgaria. I would bet people from those countries would have a hard time finding those countries on a map. The only country lower than us on the survey? Turkey. Well... Turkey's a toilet.
There are two things about this survey that come to mind. Firstly, I feel the United States on the whole may be nothing to write home about, but sectioned off, I would wager that the US is doing just fine and could very well be at the top.
I am, of course, referring to the existence of two countries within the United States. It's an easy delineation, so we can call them the RED states and the BLUE states. I don't think there's anyone who would argue about the incredible intellectual, economic, and social differences between the southern US and the north east and western US. Because of this, I think if the survey split the US into two groups, the blue group would be very high on the list. I feel like this somewhat redeems our poor showing.
Secondly, take a look at this graph. Yes, the US is effectively the bottom of the barrel, but look at all the other countries! Look at all the red! It's not just the US, it's everywhere.
I would probably find this angering if I was more self righteous, but instead I find it bordering on humorous. Are there really that many idiots out there? I guess this is a good time to point out that I disagree with Carl Sagan's stance of treating these people as people, same as us, who are ignorant of the knowledge we take for granted. They are people who deserve respect and deserve to be "shown the light," as it were. We can not mock them for it could have just as easily been us in the ignorant position.
I think that's an honorable point and a point well made. I also think it may very well work. You catch more flies with honey, and all that rot. But I'm tired of treating these people with respect. They are more than ignorant. They revel in their ignorance. The knowledge is ubiquitous, sitting there, waiting to be acquired. They are idiots. I also don't think they deserve respect. A person, in my book, does not deserve respect my mere function of their humanity.
By being human, every person I meet is assigned a respect value of "0." This means I will neither respect them or disrespect them. They soon move up or down the scale. I respect actions and words that are thought out and intelligent. These people are the antithesis of that. It's the equivalent of a kid in 8th grade who still believes in Santa Clause, argumentatively so. You don't calmly and kindly lead him down the path of enlightenment. You make fun of the dumb bastard. He stops believing in Santa very quickly. Is it pretty? No. Is it kind? No. But it made one less idiot.
The people represented in this study deserve to derided. They deserve to made fun of because they're ignorant. I'm not going to take them seriously. I'm not going to treat them with respect. I'm going to mock them. Because anyone who is so absurd as to live one hundred years in the past deserves to be laughed at, mocked, and left to the sands of time.