Why academics are losing relevance in society – and how to stop it
Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan
A January 2015 Pew Research Center study found an alarming chasm between the views of scientists and the views of the public. Here is just a sampling:
87 percent of scientists accept that natural selection plays a role in evolution, 32 percent of the public agree; 88 percent of scientists think that genetically modified foods are safe to eat, 37 percent of the public agree; 87 percent of scientists think that climate change is mostly due to human activity, only 50 percent of the public agree.
This is a cause for concern. In our increasingly technological world, issues like nanotechnology, stem cell research, nuclear power, climate change, vaccines and autism, genetically modified organisms, gun control, health care and endocrine disruption require thoughtful and informed debate. But instead, these and other issues have often been caught up in the so-called culture wars.