Thursday 12 February 2015

The gulf between the American public and the scientific community is widening, report indicates

Scientific literacy is an increasingly important requirement to be an informed participant in any modern society. It’s difficult to imagine how you could consider someone informed who has very little understanding of science in the age we now live.

It should be alarming, then, that the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have released a report recently, based on a pair of surveys conducted on the American public and scientific community that reveals that citizens and scientists see a host of science-related issues in a completely different light.

57% of the general public say that GM foods are generally unsafe to eat; by contrast, 88% of AAAS scientists say GM foods are generally safe.

34% of the American public say science has mostly had a negative effect on the quality of food.

31% believe science has had a negative effect on the quality of the environment today.

24% do not believe government investment in basic science research (71%) pays off in the long run.

You can read the report in its entirety here. We await the promised follow-up report, due at the end of this month. We discuss this issue and others on the 1st February edition of our show, which you can view here.

- Richard

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