Canadians are confused about science vs. opinion, poll suggests

Canadians are confused about science vs. opinion, poll suggests thumbnail

Are scientific findings a matter of opinion? Forty-three per cent of Canadians agree that they are, suggests a new poll.

The survey found widespread concerns about fake news — 66 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that “false information reported as fact (so called ‘fake news’) is affecting your knowledge of science.”

It also uncovered possible evidence of that happening, including a widespread belief in ideas contrary to scientific consensus:

  • 52 per cent of respondents agreed that “genetically modified organisms are bad for your health.” (This is an issue where there recently has been the biggest divide between scientists and the public.)

  • 47 per cent (up from 41 per cent last year) agreed that “the science behind global warming is still unclear,” despite what scientists have been calling for years “unequivocal” evidence.

  • 19 per cent agree “there is a link between vaccinations and autism,” even though the study that made the link was found years ago to be “an elaborate fraud.”

“I think these are worrisome results,” said Maurice Bitran, chief executive officer of the Ontario Science Centre, which commissioned the survey for Science Literacy Week, Sept. 18-24.



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