Study: Too many Americans don't believe in evolution or man-made climate change

A new study published in Science has alarming news about our scientific knowledge

Published January 29, 2015 8:56PM (EST)

  (<a href=''>akiyoko</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(akiyoko via Shutterstock)

A new study published in the prestigious journal Science found that Americans are seriously misinformed when it comes to evolution, GMO foods and humanity's role in climate change. The survey, jointly conducted by the Pew Research Center and American Association for the Advancement of Science, compared opinions about scientific matters of the public and AAAS' member scientists.

The results were discouraging. 31 percent of Americans believe that humans have been in "their present form" since their creation, while 24 percent believe that humans evolved but under the guidance of a God-like figure. Only 2 percent of AAAS scientists did not believe in evolution (which is pretty scary in and of itself).

The Guardian's Ian Sample reports:

Perhaps the most contentious issue the survey touched on was climate change, where only half of the population agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change view that climate change was mostly driven by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels. Nearly half said there was either no good evidence for global warming, or that the recent warming of the Earth was due to natural climate variability.

Scientists and the broader public disagreed most strongly about the safety of GM foods, though their views differed substantially on global warming too, with 87% of scientists believing that climate change was mostly caused by human activity.

The researchers spoke with 2,002 adults by phone, and used answers to online questionnaires from 3,748 members of the AAAS that live in the U.S.

Alan Leshner, the CEO of AAAS and Executive Publisher of Science said, "There is a disconnect between the way the public perceives science and the way that scientists see science. Scientists need to do something to turn this around."

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Aaas Climate Change Evolution Pew Research Center Science