Views of Public and Scientists Compared

Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media
Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago

Some of the interesting findings (to me):

  • 55% of the public believes science and religion are often in conflict while only 36% of respondents say science conflicts with their own religious beliefs.
  • 49% of scientists believe U.S. scientific achievements are the best in the world.
  • 76% of scientists believe a major problem with the news media is that they do not distinguish between well-founded findings and those that are not.
  • Lack of funding for basic research is the most serious impediment to high-quality research.  46% of scientists said it was “very serious” and 41% said it was “serious.”
  • Scientists were asked what the possibility of making a lot of money leads many scientists in their specialty to do.  47% said pursue marketable projects that do little to advance science, 32% said pursue creative research ideas, 26% said cut corners on quality, and 11% said violate ethical principles.
  • 81% of scientists identify themselves as Democrats or as leaning towards that party.  12% of scientists identify themselves as Republicans or leaning towards that party.  For the general public the numbers are 52% and 35% respectively.
  • 33% of scientists believe in God, 18% believe in a higher power, and 41% believe in neither.  For the general public the numbers are 83%, 12%, and 4% respectively.
  • 60% of the public says scientists generally agree that humans have evolved while 97% of scientists say humans have evolved.  56% of the public says scientists generally agree that the earth is getting warmer because of human activity while 84% of scientists say the earth is getting warmer because of human activity.
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