| | Public opinion and science
The changing tide of public opinion
Americans value science, but not all of it:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Many Americans still value the nation's scientific achievements, but unlike most scientists, they often pick and choose which scientific findings they agree with, especially in the areas of climate change and evolution, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The survey found nearly 9 in 10 scientists accept the idea of evolution by natural selection, but just a third of the public does. And while 84 percent of scientists say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, less than half of the public agrees with that.
"The public and the scientists have very different views on many different issues, including the science of evolution and climate change," Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center said in a telephone briefing. The center conducted the wide-ranging telephone survey in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS.
The research included responses from 2,533 scientists in the AAAS, and 2,001 public respondents.
It found most Americans value the nation's scientific achievements, but not as much as they did a decade ago.
Although 27 percent of Americans said scientific advances are the nation's greatest achievement, that was down from 47 percent in the group's May 1999 survey.
The Obama administration has promised that science will lead health care and climate change policy, and has pledged to seek a cure for cancer, now the No. 2 killer of Americans.
According to the survey, most scientists and the public agree it is appropriate for scientists to take part in political debate over issues such as stem cell research.
And even Americans who disagree with scientific conclusions think highly of scientists. More than two-thirds of those who say science conflicts with their religious beliefs still say scientists contribute significantly to society.