We Like Science…Kind of

I just read this really interesting poll released by the Pew Research Center, about American’s perceptions of science and scientists.  Pew polled a cross section of the American public and then collaborated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to survey more than than 2,500 scientists.

The gist of the article is that John Q. Public likes science and respects scientists, but doesn’t have much of an understanding of what the scientific community believes.

Pew StudyWhat I find really interesting is the divergence of beliefs on climate change.  According to the survey, 84% of scientists believe that the earth is warming because of human activity while only 49% of the public does.

Even worse,”despite the overwhelming agreement among scientists about evolution and climate change, substantial minorities of Americans think there is no scientific consensus on these issues.”

About three-quarters of people (76%) who say human activity is driving global warming think that most scientists agree on this point. Fewer than half (41%) of those who say warming is mostly due to atmospheric changes think there is a scientific consensus on the issue. Among the small share of the public (11%) that says there is no solid evidence of global warming, just 22% say there is scientific agreement that human activity is causing global warming, while 68% think there is no agreement among scientists on the issue.

Can Friedman’s bold ideas for renewing America and solving the problems of climate change happen when 46% of the public believes them unnecessary?  Should we stop spending government money on developing clean energy and pour it all into sustainability education?  Does this knowledge change your perception of the situation as much as it changes mine?

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