Thursday, January 29, 2015

Civilians vs. Scientists

It's not too shocking that scientists opinions diverge from those of the general public on questions that involve science, like genetically modified food, evolution, climate, population, immunization, nuclear power, and so on. For the most part these divergences have little or no correlation with political orientation and have to do with the fact that scientists know a lot more than the public about the issues in question. Based on a Pew Research Center poll:

WASHINGTON The American public and U.S. scientists are light-years apart on science issues. And 98 percent of surveyed scientists say it's a problem that we don't know what they're talking about.

Scientists are far less worried about genetically modified food, pesticide use, and nuclear power than is the general public, according to matching polls of both the general public and the country's largest general science organization. Scientists were more certain that global warming is caused by man, evolution is real, overpopulation is a danger and mandatory vaccination against childhood diseases is needed.

In eight of 13 science-oriented issues, there was a 20 percentage point or higher gap separating the opinions of the public and members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, according to survey work by the Pew Research Center. The gaps didn't correlate to any liberal-conservative split; the scientists at times take more traditionally conservative views and at times more liberal.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/01/29/5480503/poll-shows-giant-gap-between-what.html#.VMrOA2jF8xU#storylink=cpy

Of course knowledge does not immunize one from being a damn fool, e.g., our old buddy.