Thursday, July 02, 2015

Attitudes toward Science: The Age Effect

Another amazing feat by Pew Research Center, the nonpartisan, data-driven, social science research powerhouse. Pew researchers have analyzed their own data on the public's attitudes toward science and correlated those attitudes with six characteristics: political ideology, age, educational attainment, gender, race and ethnicity, and religious affiliation. In doing so they have revealed how each of those characteristics—independent of the others—influences attitudes. It turns out, age is one of the biggies, influencing views on a number of scientific issues after controlling for the other characteristics. Here are some examples...

Prioritize alternative energy development over oil, coal, and gas
Younger adults: favor
Older adults: oppose

Childhood vaccines should be required
Younger adults: Parents should decide
Older adults: yes

Earth is warming due to human activity
Younger adults: yes
Older adults: no

Humans have evolved due to natural processes
Younger adults: yes
Older adults: no

This report should be required reading for politicians and government policymakers. It's social science at its best, revealing the underlying forces at work in American society.

Source: Pew Research Center, American, Politics, and Science Issues

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