Attitudes Towards Science

Michael Mandel

Maybe this is something everybody already knows. I was leafing through the (pdf) pages of the new Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, from the National Science Foundation (Ok, I'm wierd), and I found some things that surprised me. The first one was about beliefs in astrology.

It looks like Europeans are far more likely (53%) to believe that astrology is scientific than Americans (32%). China is the least likely.

This surprising result is corroborated by the results of other questions.

Europeans are low on the percentage who supporting funding of research by the government. They are also low on the percentage who believe that the benefits of science outweigh the harm (52%). (The two surveys which cover the EU-25 were done in 2005, the one which covers the EU-15 was done in 2001).

Does this really accurately reflect the European attitude towards science? If so, it goes a long way towards explaining the weak growth.

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