Blinded by science?

In honor of National Science Week, the UK Governmental Office of Science and Technology
has commisioned this MORI poll from which we learn that the great British public approves of science and scientists.

Never having really looked at an official poll before, I was amazed to find that the official publication (PDF) runs to 186 pages, dense with statistical analyses. So it’s no surprise that the press coverage so far has essentially parroted the summary of results from the press release: most people think science makes a positive contribution to society, and most people trust scientists (more than they do the government or the media). On the other hand, they want us scientists to communicate our results more — many people “say they receive too little information on the subject… despite the fact that science is now getting more media coverage, and (general) news can now be obtained around the clock.” Perhaps if they heard more from us, they might trust us less — like the politicians and journalists!

The pollsters also asked about funding: “there is widespread feeling that the independence of scientists is often put at risk by the interests of their funders.” There’s also some techie stuff on a “cluster analysis,” where they show that most respondents’ attitudes and backgrounds put them into one of six distinct groups (for example, if you’re 35-44 and have kids in the house, you’re likely to feel “that science communication and consultation with the public is not important or necessary”!)
More on this when I get the time to digest the results.


2 responses to “Blinded by science?”

  1. It's equal but it's different avatar

    Charity begins with science…

    Blinded by science? Charity begins at Homo sapiens Five Golden Rules: Great Theories of 20th-Century Mathematics -and Why They Matter Tributo � ci�ncia brasileira…

  2. João Carlos avatar
    João Carlos

    “Perhaps if they heard more from us, they might trust us less — like the politicians and journalists!”… It would be really unfair to most scientists, but the many loudmouthed “Owners of the Only Truth” will certainly give this idea to common people.