Study Yields Insights into Public Attitudes Toward Science

Scientists promoting the teaching of evolution in public schools received good news from a recent survey.

The results of the survey, commissioned by a consortium of scientific societies and conducted last summer, revealed that 53 percent of the 1,000 respondents favored teaching evolution in public school science classes — a much higher percentage than those who favored either creationism (36 percent ) or intelligent design (27 percent).

“The debate is not nearly as polarizing as previous polling would lead us to believe,” according to the survey report. “In fact, there is more uncertainty than polarization. With this uncertainty [comes] opportunity; scientists can play a key educational role for the public.”

APS joined other scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Physics and several biological societies, in supporting the study, which was conducted by two research firms, Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner and Mercury Public Affairs.

The study was conducted to help the scientific community develop effective messages and establish public policy on science education.

More information is available in the July 2007 edition of APS News, "Public Opinion on Evolution and Intelligent Design."

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