Americans’ purported cluelessness about science has led to wide gaps in how the general public views the world compared to how scientists perceive it, according to a new study released…by the Pew Research Center.
Some 98 percent of scientists polled rated the general public’s lack of science knowledge as a problem, with 84 percent of them calling it a major issue.
One result: Regulations on land use, the environment and food safety aren’t generally influenced by the best science, according to a recent poll of 3,748 scientists conducted by the Pew Research Center in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The spread between what scientists think and what the general public thinks about a dozen science-related issues varied, but there were some noticeable gaps…
There was a 51 percentage point difference in views about whether genetically modified food is safe to eat. Some 88 percent of scientists were for it while less than 40 percent of the public agreed.
Sixty-eight percent of scientists think it’s safe to eat foods grown with pesticides compared with 28 percent of the public.
Almost all of the scientists believe in evolution. Just 65 percent of the general public feels the same way, according to Pew polling…
There was one notable — if sad — area on which everyone polled appears to agree: Americans need to improve the science, math and technology education available to students across the country.
Historically, we have a consistent if backwards track record on improving any aspects of education. If there is potential benefit to our war machine – we’re all for it. Go America! Rah, rah.
Though a lesser influence, reflect upon our teacher’s unions which have adopted the sort of protectionist policies characteristic of AFL craft unions. Treating schoolteachers – and teaching – like plumbers with city contracts is not my idea of building useful education, a nation of bright young kids stepping out of school to create a positive, progressive world.
Worse than that – is the tradition that we seem to have acquired in the late 1950’s that moved the core responsibility of school systems to keeping our little darlings safe from hurt feelings – at the expense of standards of learning. And how to learn.
Nope. The creeps at the top of our economic pyramid would like a small improvement in meat machines capable of a slightly higher level of technical performance – where they can’t be replaced by a robot on the assembly line. That’s all, folks.