Thursday, August 27, 2015 - A recent poll by Pew Research Center revealed a distinct disconnect between public and scientists’ views on the topics of climate change, genetically modified organisms, animal research, and pesticides. The poll concluded that…“citizens and scientists often see science-related issues through different sets of eyes, and there are large differences in their views across a host of issues.”
The poll found that:
- 47 percent of the public are in favor of using animals for scientific research, compared to 89 percent of scientists, making a 42-point gap.
- 28 percent of the public felt it was acceptable to eat food grown with pesticides, compared to 68 percent of scientists, with a 40-point gap.
- Climate change was viewed mostly due to human activity by 50 percent of the public, compared to 87 scientists, for a 37-point gap.
- Only 59 percent of the public believe the growing world population will be a major problem, in a 23-point difference, with 87 percent of scientists agreeing.
- The largest differences between the public and the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) scientists are found in beliefs about the safety of eating genetically modified (GM) foods. Only 37 percent of the general public feel it's safe to eat genetically modified foods, compared to 88 percent of scientists - a 51-point gap. Astoundingly, 67 percent of the public believes that scientists do not have a clear understanding about the adverse health effects of GM foods.
The poll cited the influence of the media, friends and social forums as factors in the public’s erroneous assessment of science, claiming that sensationalism trumps objectivity.
Despite the broad chasm between opinions, science still holds an esteemed place among citizens and professionals, according to the report. Americans recognize the accomplishments of scientists in key fields, and there is broad support for government investment in scientific research, despite considerable dispute about the role of government in other realms.
COMMENT: I’m not surprised by this “disconnect.” The general pubic is aware of many factors influencing their opinions of science, which were not addressed in this report.
- Fraudulent research, combined with bought-and-paid-for government collusion, is rampant in some scientific circles, especially in the pharmaceutical industry and ag-chemical companies such as Dow and Monsanto.
- Conspicuous by its absence was any mention of the fact that Monsanto's herbicide glyphosate has been labeled by WHO as a probable carcinogen and that its use is banned or restricted in 64 countries worldwide, even while the US Congress is contemplating laws that would prohibit labeling food products as containing glyphosate, thus depriving the populace of their prerogative to regulate their consumption of 'scientific toxins.'
Perhaps ‘science’ should do more to understand public opinion rather than the other way around.
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