early half of Canadians believe the science behind global warming is unclear, according to the Ontario Science Centre’s second annual Canadian science literacy survey.

Nearly half of Canadians believe the science behind global warming is unclear, according to the Ontario Science Centre’s second annual Canadian science literacy survey.
Photo Credit: Ina Fassbender

Canadians’ trust in science news is dangerously low, new study reveals

Share

Eight of ten Canadians are concerned “fake news” is damaging the public perception of science while nearly one in three Canadians  don’t understand or trust science reported in the news, according to a new survey.

Furthermore, four out of ten Canadians believe that science is a matter of opinion, while three in four believe scientific findings can be used to support any position, according to the Ontario Science Centre’s second annual Canadian science literacy survey.

Nearly half of Canadians believe the science behind global warming is unclear.

Canadians are also concerned that news media may lack the credibility to communicate scientific issues, said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre.

Breakdown in trust

The survey shows nearly seven in ten Canadians believe that science is reported selectively to support news media objectives and six in ten Canadians believe that science coverage is presented to support political positions.

“This breakdown in trust has serious consequences for Canada because our future health, prosperity and security all depend on making important, sometimes difficult, decisions based on scientific findings,” Bitran said in a statement.

“If we don’t trust the sources, or don’t understand the information we are receiving, we can’t make informed decisions.”

While eight out of ten Canadians want to know more about science and how it affects our world, about one-third consider themselves science illiterate, according to the online survey conducted by Leger between August 15th to 16th, 2017, and released during Science Literacy Week.

Canadians trust science centres and museums
A display that allows a detailed view of the human body is seen at the Discovery Centre, an interactive science museum, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
A display that allows a detailed view of the human body is seen at the Discovery Centre, an interactive science museum, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. © PC/Andrew Vaughan

When it comes to explaining science, nearly nine out of ten Canadians say they trust science centres and museums, scientists, and educational institutions for their science-related information.

Eight in ten believe more funding should be devoted to science research and education.

“The findings of this 2017 survey demonstrate a vital role for authentic scientific voices in public education on critical issues that affect public policy and human health and wellbeing,” Bitran said.

The survey was completed using Leger’s online panel, Leger Web, with a representative sample of 1,514 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

By the Numbers:

How do Canadians see science in the news?
95% understand that scientific findings can change when new research is available
81% believe that science is based on objective facts
81% believe scientific findings are objective facts
79% believe “fake news” will have a negative impact on public perception of scientific inquiry and discovery
75% believe science can be used to support any position
68% believe scientific issues are reported selectively to support media objectives
68% are concerned about “fake news” affecting their knowledge of the world
66% are concerned about “fake news” affecting their knowledge of science
59% believe scientific news is presented to support a political position
47% believe the science of global warming is still unclear
44% believe science coverage is fair and unbiased
43% see scientific findings as a matter of opinion
33% consider themselves science illiterate (30% of men, 43% of women)
31% believe science can’t be trusted since it always subject to change
30% don’t have the ability to follow science reports in the media

Who do Canadians trust?
89% Museums and Science Centres
88% Scientists and professors
87% Educational institutions
80% Family and friends
57% Journalists
43% Government (31% in Quebec)
25% Word of mouth
20% Social media

Share
Categories: Uncategorized
Tags:

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

3 comments on “Canadians’ trust in science news is dangerously low, new study reveals
  1. Avatar Williams T McCaul says:

    Eggs are bad for you
    Eggs are good for you..

    Lets face it, most science this day is just paid for advertising from one industry or another to produce the result they are paying for…

    People will continue to believe everything until their arteries clog and they die of stupidity. No, eggs are crap btw

    • Avatar MRisk says:

      Science is that branch of human knowledge that can be verified via experimentation-so, you are wrong. Over time, science is self-correcting, but people lag behind: hence those who still believe there is a link between vaccines and autism.

  2. Avatar Kathy Greenlay says:

    We must always consider the source of the information, is the same or similar message repeated by more than one credible, objective source, and who stands to make or lose money on the message. In general I consider climate and environment related info being reported in the media more credible than medical based messages. Huge money at stake for medical and pharmaceutical industries to promote pro-drug info.