As new study by the respected Pew Research Center shows a striking disconnect between the views of scientists and the public on basic scientific questions. In eight out of thirteen science-oriented issues, there was a 20 percentage point or more difference between the two groups on issues like genetically modified food, global warming, or evolution.
Take the question of whether it is safe to eat genetically modified foods. Some 88 percent of scientists felt that such foods are safe while only 37 percent of the public held this view. Fifty-seven percent of the public viewed genetically modified foods as unsafe.
The figures on evolution are equally amazing. Some ninety-eight (98) percent of scientists found the evidence clear that humans evolved over time. Indeed, there is yet another discovery supplying a link in that evolution this week (and again offering obvious proof that the Earth is far old than a few thousand years old). However, only 65 percent of the public believe in evolution.
Another question looked at whether those polled views foods grown with pesticides to be safe. Sixty-eight (68) percent of scientists said yes while only 28 percent of the general public agreed.
Another topical question (given the measles outbreak this month) was whether mandatory childhood shots are valid: 86 percent of the scientists favored such shots while only 68 percent of the public did.
On global warming, 87 percent of scientists said global warming is mostly due to human activity while only 50 percent of the public agreed.
It is worth noting however that the numbers appear to be shifting in favor of science on evolution, global warming and the like. It will be interesting to see how fast this gap closes in the coming years.