In a study released two years ago, the respected, non-partisan Pew Research Institute found significant differences between the public and scientists on a wide range of science-related topics.
The study also found that skepticism cuts across political lines and seems to be growing.
The Restless Minds discussion group will explore the uneasy relationship between scientific findings and public uncertainty when it meets at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 14, in the sewing room of Oakwood’s Arts and Crafts Center.
Don Palmer, the evening’s discussion leader, notes that while about four out of every five American adults believe science overall has made life easier for most people, there is substantial pushback on many fronts. A key question, he said, will be “Why do many reasonable people doubt science?”
For example, a majority (57%) of citizens believe genetically modified foods are unsafe; the vast majority of scientists believe they are safe.
Similar gaps in what scientists and citizens believe can be found in such areas as climate change, evolution, autism and vaccinations, fluoridation and even whether the moon landings were faked.
The discussion will also explore whether the decline in science education in schools is a factor in changing attitudes. America’s standing in math and science in relation to other nations is declining rapidly, Palmer said.
Restless Minds discussions are open to all people with inquisitive minds. There are no dues or membership requirements. Just show up and participate.
For more information on Restless Minds, call Bill Gates or Bobbie Reed at (480) 883-7410.