Scientists vs The Public: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

12 07 2009

A survey came out last week involving members of the public and scientists.  It says that 84% of the public feels that science has had a mostly positive impact on society.

That’s good news—shows we’re not trashing the scientific method.

About half of that 84% cite medical developments as the positive impact:  “The largest share of that group (32% of the total) names medical and health care in general, 24% cite disease research, cures or vaccines and 4% cite advances in the use of stem cells.”

While most of us are yahooing over the science, it has to be said that the scientists aren’t exactly happy about us.

A whopping 85% of scientists say our lack of scientific knowledge is a problem and almost half shake their heads at our unrealistic expectations.  They also say that members of the media kind of stink at educating the public and getting the facts right.  (OK, we’re paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)

There are shocking differences of opinion between scientists and the public and some comforting similarities.

The survey covered more areas than are discussed here and is worth a read.  As members of the public, we walked away with the notion that providing more education in the sciences for America’s youth is a critical next step.

But, let’s not forget communication.

Scientists are more accustomed to lecturing than listening.  It’s not surprising, given the training they go through, but it can be alienating.  They need to learn to have conversations with us.  Listen to us.  And, we need to listen to them.

Share


Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: