Climate change and genetically modified (GM) food are the two things on which Americans and American scientists just do not agree, according to new data from Pew Research.
The study, entitled 'Public and Scientists' Views on Science and Society', compared the views of ordinary Americans to those of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on issues ranging from biomedical research to energy to space exploration.
There are some things on which both groups are equally divided — most are happy with space station investment, and a similar number don't want to see an increased use of fracking — but the results reveal a chasm between the people and the PhDs.
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water in Qaqortoq, Greenland
Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometers in the past decade. It shrinks mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water
A boat navigates among calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Boats are a crucial mode of transportation in the country that has few roads. As cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change, many Greenlanders simply do what theyve always done: adapt. 'Were used to change, said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen. 'We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, well just get more land
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen after being inaugurated in Longyearbyen, Norway. The 'doomsday' seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
A technician preparing to drain a vast underground lake at the Tete Rousse glacier on the Mont Blanc Alpine mountain, to avert a potentially disatrous flood. Some 65,000 cubic metres (2.3 million cubic feet) of water have gathered in a cavity, dangerously raising the pressure beneath the mountain, a favourite spot for holiday makers in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Cracked mud is picture at sunrise in the dried shores of Lake Gruyere affected by continuous drought near the western Switzerland village of Avry-devant-Pont. A leading climate scientist warned that Europe should take action over increasing drought and floods, stressing that some climate change trends were clear despite variations in predictions
Cattle graze on grassland that remains dry and brown at the height of the rainy season in south of Bakersfield, California. Its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and dating back as far as 500 years, according to some scientists who study tree rings
An aerial view shows tents of flood-displaced people surrounded by water in southern Sehwan town. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres met with people displaced by last year's devastating floods. Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept through the country in 2010 and affected some 20 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land
An aerial view of flooding in North Wagga Wagga. Climate change is amplifying risks from drought, floods, storm and rising seas, threatening all countries but small island states, poor nations and arid regions in particular, UN experts warned
Damages caused by a landslide on the Pan-American highway near La Moramulca, 55 Km south of Tegucigalpa. International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops in a region that the United Nations has classified as one of the most affected by climate change
A resident sprays water on a peatland fire in Pekanbaru district in Riau province on Indonesia's Sumatra island. Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, is one of the world's biggest carbon emitters because of rampant deforestation. US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday issued a clarion call for nations to do to more to combat climate change, calling it 'the world's largest weapon of mass destruction'
An excavator clearing a peatland forest area for a palm oil plantations in Trumon subdistrict, Aceh province, on Indonesia's Sumatra island. As Southeast Asia's largest economy grows rapidly, swathes of biodiverse forests across the archipelago of 17,000 islands have been cleared to make way for paper and palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and agriculture. The destruction has ravaged biodiversity, placing animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers in danger of extinction, while also leading to the release of vast amounts of climate change-causing carbon dioxide
Stagnant rain water with tannery waste make the Hazaribagh area in Old Dhaka as well as Buriganga River the most polluted. Each year during the seven-month long dry season between October and April the Buriganga River becomes totally stagnant with its upstream region drying up and becoming polluted from toxic waste from city industries
Waste water from Dhaka city drained to the River Buriganga contributes to its pollutions. On the World Water Day observed in 2007 under the theme Coping with Water Scarcity, under the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, DrikNEWS explores some of the images of the river. UN-Water has identified coping with water scarcity as part of the strategic issues and priorities requiring joint UN action. The theme highlights the significance of cooperation and importance of an integrated approach to water resource management of water at international, national and local levels
Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. China's Environment Ministry said it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced
Here are 8 things on which they don't see eye-to-eye:
1. Man-made climate change
Only half of Americans believe climate change is mostly man-made, whereas a whopping 87 per cent of scientists say it is. Pew analysis confirms that this is a partisan issue, with 71 per cent of Democrats saying fossil fuels are causing climate change and the very same number of Republicans saying it's either down to nature or not happening at all.
2. Safe to eat GM foods
Even more AAAS scientists say it's safe to eat genetically modified foods than say climate change is caused by people (88 per cent). On the other hand, even fewer non-scientists say it's safe (37 per cent). The data says this is the topic on which there's the greatest discrepancy — a 51 point difference.
3. Animal research
3. Animal research
89 per cent of scientists favour using animals in biomedical research, but fewer than half of Americans endorse this opinion (47 per cent).
It's kind of hard to believe, but 2 per cent of the scientists surveyed disagreed that humans have evolved over time. Still, that means 98 per cent say Darwin was right. Americans otherwise largely believe in evolution (65 per cent) but that 33 point swing is significant.
5. Safe to eat pesticide foods
Like with GM, scientists and Americans just don't agree. Whilst 28 per cent on Americans would say no to food grown with pesticides, 68 per cent of scientists say it's a-okay.
6. Childhood vaccines
As with evolution, most people - scientist or otherwise - agree that kids should be given vaccines such as MMR. But also as with evolution, many more scientists are vaccine-advocates. 86 per cent of scientists and 68 per cent of other Americans support mandatory vaccinations.
7. Nuclear power
The American people remain unconvinced by nuclear power, with 55 per cent opposing more nuclear power plants. Most scientists, as you'd expect, say nuclear power is good thing, with 65 per cent favouring expanding the sector.
8. Offshore drilling
Finally something that the American people prefer. Going hand-in-hand with their differing opinions on climate change, most scientists don't want increased drilling for fossil fuels (68 per cent) whilst a marginal majority of the American people say it'd be a good thing.Reuse content