How Gullible Are We?

A student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide."

And for plenty of good reasons, since:

1. it can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
2. it is a major component in acid rain
3. it can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
4. accidental inhalation can kill you
5. it contributes to erosion
6. it decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
7. it has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical.

* Forty-three (43) said yes,
* six (6) were undecided,
* and only one (1) knew that the chemical was water.

The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?"

He feels the conclusion is obvious.


jhale said...

It is amazing to think that most of us do not bother to check the facts, and take them at face value believing everything.

David said...

WTF¡¡¡... What a stupid experiment.

Samuel said...

Well, the facts are all true, they weren't being lied to. It goes more to show how information can be twisted to match any viewpoint. If this is even real.

Brian Massey said...

This experiment was actually done by Penn and Teller at an environmentalist rally to show that people will sign anything without understanding the facts and to highlight the alarmist nature of certain activists....

You can watch it here:

Anonymous said...

It's a bit like something that folks have done from time to time -- put the declaration of independence or the bill of rights into a petition and ask people on the street to sign it. Most people got mad at the petitioners calling them "commies and subversives."

I don't think it's about twisting facts. It's more of a reflection on the truly poor job our educational system has done for us.