Monday, August 22, 2005


A friend, Dawn, emailed this Gullibility Factor Test to me, and I thought you might be interested to try it, too.

I missed these questions;

    The fluoride added to drinking water is sourced from naturally-occurring fluoride mineral deposits. Ew! This is way worse than the Cochineal beetles that seem to gross these people out .. incidentally, if beetles bother the writers of this test, why didn't they ask how many insect parts are in the canned food that we routinely eat? Or how many cockroach legs are found in dishes served in the average New York restaurant?

    All the clean hydrogen we need to power the world is already contained in crystals at the bottom of the ocean called gas hydrates. Huh? I guess it's time for me to do some reading.

    Having a baby is a patent violation because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office routinely grants patents on human gene sequences found in all humans. Ooookay. Why does this make me laugh?

The test writers say this about moi;

Welcome to the top 5%. You're a true free thinker and a person who is well informed about the reality in which you live. Although you may have been easily manipulated earlier in life, you eventually gained lucidity and developed a healthy sense of skepticism that you now automatically apply to your observations and experiences. You are endlessly curious about human behavior and the nature of the universe, and you have one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual. You are not only of very high intelligence, you are also extremely creative in one or more areas (music, art, software development, inventing, etc.)

If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, completed the combat training, and started fighting (and beating) agents from day one.

Your architects: You have cast off reality distortions taught to you by your parents, schooling, corporate advertising and government propaganda. You create your own beliefs based on what serves you best, without much regard for what the rest of the crowd is doing. You are guided by your own internal code of ethics (which may or may not agree with politically-correct ethical codes) rather than any pre-set system of ethics (such as from any one religion).

My score was 91. What was yours?


© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

8 Peer Reviews:

Anonymous Ethan said...

This test is a bit over the top. I got an 85, but my reaction to most of the questions was "yes, but....".

9:20 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Ethan; I found myself also saying that a lot. The key to the test, I realized, was the use of the absolutes, "always" or never". Those are strong word choices which are rarely accurate.


10:14 AM  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

I got a 73, but I'm sorry to tell you that the test is crap, because of the following statements:

"The history taught to American children in public school is true and accurate." This is of course false, but people who swear by the People's History have no idea what they're talking about; it's a good book but it's filled with misinformation and plain nuttiness.

"The Federal Reserve is a branch of the U.S. government." Strictly speaking this is false, but the explanation provided on the website is downright cranky. First, interest rates are determined by the Chairman, who is appointed by the President. Second, there's a reason why the Federal Reserve is private: monetary policy is one of these things that need to be kept separate from regular elections, just like judicial review. Trust people who rant about the independence of the federal bank to the same degree you trust people who whine about unelected judges and elitist scientists.

"Inflation is a natural side effect of a healthy, growing economy." This statement is true. An economy that sees a growth in demand, i.e. normal growth (growth in supply is too long-term to be noticed, despite what supply-siders will tell you), always has inflation. Prices and wages are sticky downward, that is they can easily rise but rarely fall, so without inflation, you quickly get overpriced items, a situation that results in lower consumption and hence less growth. The main reason Germany has high unemployment is not welfare but the German fixation with price stability.

"The United States of America is a Democracy." Every political scientist will tell you that this is true. The libertarians and some conservatives like to pretend that the phrase "we're a republic, not a democracy" means something; but this phrase is about as valid political commentary as ID is valid biology. The USA, like every other Western country, is a representative democracy.

"Having a baby is a patent violation because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office routinely grants patents on human gene sequences found in all humans." In theory, someone could patent a human gene sequence. In practice, you can never predict a baby's gene sequence in advance so this point is moot, and until someone actually goes to court over it, this isn't illegal.

"There is no cure for cancer." There is indeed no general cure for cancer. There are some vaccines in development, but no cure like there is for pneumonia.

"All foods and beverages are safe to consume in moderation and can be part of a balanced diet." This one I'm not sure about, but the argument the article gives is laughable. Yes, trans fats promote heart disease. The question that screams to be asked here is "to what degree and based on how much consumption?" - I presume eating 5 grams of margarine per day and eating 150 grams don't give the same risk.

10:59 AM  
Blogger John said...

I have to agree with Alon Levy. Several of the questions on the quiz are matters of opinion rather than fact. When it comes to history, the difference between a standard textbook and Howard Zinn is really one of interpretation instead of what happened (and in high school I had to read both).

11:47 AM  
Blogger Smilin' Jack said...

This test is utter crap, for the reasons given by others above.

Furthermore, someone who bashed Bush for his scientific ignorance should be embarrassed to be caught falling for this: Frozen ice crystals found off the shores of Canada, Japan, Russia, Iceland and other nations with Northern shores contain vast quantities of clean, frozen hydrogen. Anyone who passed high school physics or chemistry should know that frozen hydrogen cannot occur naturally anywhere on this planet.

Congrats on the bird, though...hope he's the harbinger of many good things to come. Couldn't you put a little "lampshade" around his neck, like you see on dogs, to cure him of feather plucking?

1:57 PM  
Blogger Phila said...

I got 91, too. Although a few of 'em I got only because it was so obvious what they wanted you to answer...

2:46 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Alon; yes, the test was crap, but it sure seemed to entertain a lot of people here! By the way, some of my friends are political scientists, and none of them has ever claimed that the USA is a democracy. I also wonder if "a baby as a patent violation" is unenforceable rather than illegal; court is an arena for testing laws and how they are enforced. Right?

John; Howard Zinn is another author I haven't read. Am I missing something?

Smilin' Jack; I didn't fall for anything. I merely said I need to do some more reading, but my humor doesn't translate very well, it seems. Perhaps I should have stuck my tongue out when I wrote that, instead of planting it firmly in cheek?

Phila; yes, I agree that it was obvious which answer they wanted us to choose for most questions. I guess we are all good test-takers, eh? It's good to see that our educations were good for something!


12:14 PM  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

Well, my pol-sci textbooks not only say the USA is a democracy but also bring it up as an example of a democracy where the people participate in many civic activities (which is not surprising given that compared to countries like Germany, the USA indeed has an incredibly participant culture).

Now, what exactly did your political scientist friends call the USA, if not a democracy? The people I know about who say this either say "it's a republic, not a democracy" or claim that the USA is plutocratic rather than democratic. The former claim is nonsensical because the USA is a democratic republic, like France or Germany. The latter imposes a definition of democracy that is too strict to include any country and is thus useless as a descriptive as opposed to prescriptive definition.

About Howard Zinn, he's a very revisionist historian who is best known for his book, A People's History of the United States. It's a good book to disillusion anyone who believes that the Founding Fathers were great men, or that the Gilded Age and the Roaring 20s were eras of great prosperity and freedom, or that the USA was motivated by noble ideals in Cold War.

However, along with legitimate claims about American history, the book includes much left-wing bullshit, such as brushing off of good things the government has done - for instance, after lengthily going off about the negative effects of various policies on blacks, Zinn writes three lines about Carter's achievements in regards to racial equality and then takes several pages to dissect his foreign policy. The worst part is the end, where Zinn claims that 99% of the American people have exactly the same interests but are turned against one another by the top 1%.

10:06 AM  

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