Large Differences Observed between Public and Scientists over Important Scientific Matters


A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that big differences exist between public and scientists over important scientific matters like GM foods and global warming. The report brought out on Thursday by the center reveals the major differences between the 3,748 scientists and the 2,002 adults polled by the center.

Survey reveals differences on GM foods and human evolution

Over eight out of the ten scientists – belonging to the American Association for the Advancement of Science – were of the opinion that humans were responsible climate change and are the key cause for global warming.  The scientists surveyed also supported the use of animals in scientific research in addition to championing the cause of GM food. The majority of the scientists also believed the human evolution story passed down year after year. In comparison to the findings related to the scientific community, the support of the public for the views revealed by the survey saw oscillations between 37% for GM foods to 65% for human evolution.

Differences between groups only over controversial issues

Commenting on the huge gap that exists between the two, Daniel Kahan, a professor of Yale Law School has opined that the divide between the two groups should be seen in the light of certain controversial issues. The divide does not exist when it comes to topics like pasteurized milk, merits of X-rays and fluoridated water, claims the professor. For John Radzilowicz of ASSET STEM, “the public doesn’t have an understanding of the nature of science…. and that then plays into a whole bunch of other factors.” With regards to the scientific community, Lee Rainie, one of the authors of the report has remarked that American scientists “believe that rather than retreating from a place where the public is not in agreement with them, they need to build on the good will people have toward science in general to talk more with people to make their case.”