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Disturbing number of people who believe in science ignore it

Scientific American is reporting a big gap between the opinions of scientists and the general public regarding the cause and seriousness of global warming.

According to a new public opinion poll released yesterday by Pew Research Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),

In 2014, the vast majority (87 percent) of scientists said that human activity is driving global warming, and yet only half the American public ascribed to that view. And 77 percent of scientists said climate change is a very serious problem. In comparison, only 33 percent of the general public said it was a very serious problem in a 2013 poll.

This is a perplexing result because 79% agreed that science and scientists are invaluable. Nevertheless,as the authors demonstrate, the results have not changed significantly since this poll was last conducted in 2009. At that time,  84% of scientists and 49% of the public said human activity drives global warming.

The authors conclude,

On controversial topics such as climate change, a significant number of Americans do not use science to inform their views. Instead, they use political orientation and ideology, which are reflected in their level of education, to decide whether humans are driving planetary warming.

As you might expect, conservatives and Republicans do not believe human activity is contributing to global warming, despite persuasive scientific evidence that it does.

Alan Leshner, the CEO for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) urged scientists in an editorial in Science to educate the public via small group discussions rather than boring big speech monologues.

I thin multimedia presentations by people like Neil deGrasse Tyson are a better way to reach a mass audience. Conservatives and Republicans appear to be a lost cause because they have a financial interest in continuing to support activities that produce global warming.

Other interesting results of the poll

Childhood vaccines such as MMR should be required (Public 68%, AAAS scientists 86%)

Humans have evolved over time (public 65%, AAAS scientists 98%)

Safe to eat genetically modified foods (public 37%, AAAS scientists 88%)

Safe to eat foods grown with pesticides (public 28%, AAAS scientists 68%)



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Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.