Looking at the poll results so far, I think people mostly did pretty well.
Hans Rosling has said he devised tests like these when he became astonished by how little people seemed to know about global health - his students, lecture audiences, world leaders etc... In fact, people apparently do so badly on the tests that he says if the answers A, B and C were written on bananas and given to chimpanzees, the chimpanzees would select the correct answer more often than most people.
People do badly on the test because they generally, systematically choose the most pessimistic options because of a negativity bias that might have been created partly due to media coverage, sometimes from campaigners and pressure groups who believe it is not in the interest of their cause to provide anything other than the gloomiest images, or indeed radical ideologues.
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue
Careful the opinion that the world doesn't completely suck and isn't getting worse isn't taken too kindly to around these parts.
Originally Posted by catsmate
Really? I think most posters here are cautiously optimistic about the future.
Yeah, I think a lot of people are familiar with Steven Pinker's book, The Better Angels of Our Nature
which is about the decline of violence, and maybe to a much lesser extent with Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist
It was actually from reading the latter a few years ago that I became aware of the changes in population growth that have been observed and which Hans Rosling has publicized. Suffice to say, the fears of the "Population Bomb" should no longer be taken seriously unless there is a sudden and unexpected change in the world.
The important lessons that Rosling and others have been trying to put forward is that eradicating extreme poverty is the main cause of the slowing down of population growth. This, combined with modern medicine (such as vaccines), better infrastructure and consumer goods mean that children don't die in such large numbers, are not needed for labour, can go to school instead, etc...
If you ever hear anyone say, "Yeah, the problem with modern medicine is that it lets too many people live, which leads to overpopulation", if you can resist slapping them with a wet fish, you can explain that modern medicine does the exact opposite.
Originally Posted by Mike!
I'm lucky to know how to breath and walk at the same time, apparently, having only got 2 correct. I'm also reassured to know the world isn't nearly as screwed as I'd thought it was.
Indeed. Don't feel bad about doing worse than a chimpanzee. Be happy the world is getting better
Originally Posted by casebro
Hmmm, interpreting my poor results as well as the nature of the questions, it shows the world to be a better place than I have been indoctrinated to believe.
Or maybe it is a push-poll, with questions chosen for their ability to guide the subject towards "enlightenment"?
To bad we don't have the demographics of our members, THAT might really teach us something. 15 poll responders, only 5 have posted results here.
The demographics probably won't tell us very much. In Rosling's book, he shows the basic level of ignorance across countries, and there is not a lot in it. He does note that people in Skandanavian countries tend to do slightly
better, but he puts that down to the fact that he is somewhat better known there and has been making these points for decades. Maybe some Swedes, Danes and Norwegians can chime in...?
Originally Posted by isissxn
I got a 7, but I still don't really feel any better about the world. The things I'm worried about weren't really covered. I'm worried about how polarized everyone is, the rise of scary flavors of populism, deepfakes, internet radicalization, hackers - stuff like that.
I think we're going to effect our own swift doom because people won't get off the internet and stop fighting with each other.
...I said saucily, on the internet. Hash tag - PartOfTheProblem
Ha ha! Yes, Steven Pinker says he got the same replies when he was talking about the decline in violence. He would say, "But people say to me there are still new forms of violence such as bitchy comments on Twitter. That has definitely gone up!"
Originally Posted by Carlotta
I did really badly, and I'm usually good at tests! Yay!!! Things aren't as bad as I thought. :p
Of course, this is not to say that the whole world has changed for the better in every single way.
Climate Change is a massive problem. There could be antibiotic-resistant superbugs that could cause massive numbers of deaths. Let's not entirely rule out nuclear war, especially when we have our current crop of world leader morons and rabble-rousers.
But the world is
improving and far better off than most people think.