Canada poll finds distrust of scientists

Dec. 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM
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OTTAWA, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- About one-third of Canadians distrust scientific findings on major issues, a survey found, but a researcher says people aren't getting "information they need."

Nanos Research polled 1,000 people, asking how much they trust scientists quoted in the news on four scientific topics -- energy technologies, medicine, climate change and genetically modified crops.

While a majority of those surveyed said they trusted or somewhat trusted scientist on energy and medicine, respondents said were less certain when it came to climate change and genetically modified crops, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.

On climate change, 28 per cent said they somewhat distrusted or distrusted researchers, while almost half expressed distrust of scientists on the issue of genetically modified crops.

Some scientists expressed frustration over the results of the survey indicating distrust of researchers when it comes to climate change research.

"The basic physics is as certain as you can get," Andrew Weaver of the School of Earth and Ocean Science at the University of Victoria in British Columbia said. "The physics of global warming is basically the same as gravity, it's just basic physics."

Climatologist Gordon McBean, chair of the Canadian Climate Forum, said coal and other special interest groups have confused people with false information, while scientists have done a poor job countering misinformation.

"We need to have that kind of information better conveyed to Canadians so they make better informed decisions," he said. "I think Canadians are unfortunately not receiving the information they need on a whole range of issues."

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