What’s happening in the world of science in 2017?
A new poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre has found that the world is in a ‘decline’ of trust in science, with an alarming number of people expressing distrust for the “trustworthiness” of science.
This was particularly the case among those aged over 50, with 57% of those surveyed believing science is “mostly or entirely” unreliable.
Pew also found that fewer than half of the public believes that scientific research is reliable, with one-third saying they have no opinion.
“People have become less trusting in the scientific community,” said Pew Research Director Andrew Kim.
“This may be due to the growing mistrust of institutions and institutions’ scientists.”
Despite the growing distrust of science, the majority of people in the UK still believe the scientific process is “very or fairly” objective, according to Pew.
The survey also found a significant number of those aged 18-24 believed that science is reliable: 43% of respondents believed it is.
However, Pew also noted that the majority (61%) of people aged 25-54 believed that scientists are biased against the “minority”.
“The UK is not a place that has a large number of scientists,” said Kim.
Despite the increasing number of distrust, Pew Research also found some positive signs for science in the past year.
The poll also found the number of scientific publications has risen by almost 1,500% in the last year.
It also found more people believe that scientists can contribute to the world, with more than half saying they think science is contributing to the betterment of society.
This trend is particularly notable in areas of the world where scientific research has been slow to take off.
In China, for example, the number in the Chinese Academy of Sciences rose by almost 2,500%.
“There is a growing recognition in China that there is a need for greater access to science and that a scientific infrastructure exists to enable this,” said Dr David Spiegelhalter, research director at the Pew Centre.
“We see this as a major challenge.”
He added that there was also a growing awareness in the United States that there were gaps in the research infrastructure and the way that researchers were paid.
“More people in America have begun to see that this is a problem, and there is this sense that they can contribute more to society if they are given the chance,” said Spiegelhalters.
“That’s been a big shift in how people see science and how they think about it.”