Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Scientists Disagree with Public on Widely Debated Issues


A researcher examines the penis "scaffold" that will be injected with animal cells.

A recent survey reveals scientists have more positive views about widely used technologies and controversial issues compared to the general public.

There also seems to be a basic difference of opinion between the public and scientists, especially with disputed issues such as climate change, said a survey conducted by Pew Research Center conducted a study in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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The survey collected data from U.S. adults and AAAS scientists. It's results were startling and show a dichotomy of views that leave scientists bewildered.

Opinions as to the safety of genetically modified food earned the greatest opinion gap with 88 percent scientists viewing GMOs as safe but only 37 percent of the public agreeing with them.

When it comes to climate change, 87 percent of scientists say climate change is mostly due to human activity while only half the public thought so.

The survey showed 88 percent of scientists mostly favor the use of animals in research while only 28 percent of the public agrees.

Also 68 percent of scientists say foods grown with pesticides are safe to eat but only 28 percent of the public agree with them.

Another hotly debated issue in the U.S. is about human evolution. An overwhelming 98 percent of scientists completely agree the theory of evolution but only 50 percent of adults are convinced evolution is valid.

"There is a disconnect between the way in which the public perceives the state of science... and the way in which the scientific community looks at the state of science," said Alan Leshner, chief executive officer of the AAAS.

There are, however, a few issues where the public and scientists' opinion are closely matched.

For example, 68 percent of scientists and 64 percent of Americans agree the International Space Station is a good investment for the U.S.

More than three quarters of Americans think the federal government's funding for technology and research pays-off in the long run.

About eight in 10 Americans believe science has a positive effect on health care and that science is making life better.

Though there are differences in certain issues, the overall perception of science remains positive.

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