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It is hard to believe that 10 percent of those polled do not think celebrities are a good source of scientific facts but comedians somehow are

Poll: Over 40 percent of Canadians think science is “a matter of opinion”


By —— Bio and Archives--September 20, 2017

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A poll was conducted last month by Leger on behalf of the Ontario Science Centre. Respondents were asked whether scientific findings were matters of fact or of opinion. Of those polled, 43 percent of those asked answered scientific findings were a matter of opinion. (Global News, Sept. 18)

Respondents were asked to describe themselves; whether they based their beliefs on intuition (or gut feelings) or whether they were analytical. Those who said they were analytical were more likely to say scientific findings were based upon objective facts.

A couple of the poll’s findings were surprising if not shocking. According to the poll, older people were more likely to see science as opinion rather than fact. And 81 percent of respondents believed scientific findings were based upon “objective facts.” That meant that over one third of Canadians polled, 38 percent, believe scientific findings were matters of opinion as well as objective facts which of course makes no sense. There seems to be total ignorance of the difference between fact and opinion.

Those surveyed were also asked to list places to get scientific information that is reliable. While a lot of sources were listed, 57 percent believed information from journalists was reliable while 43 percent believed information from governments were reliable. While only 9 percent believed celebrities were accurate sources of scientific information, 29 percent of respondents told the pollsters comedians were an accurate source of scientific facts.
Rush Limbaugh was right again; Limbaugh defined the low information voter as someone who gets their news from late night comedians.

Those polled were also asked about global warming. Global News reported they were about equally divided as to whether the science on global warming was settled or not.

So if this poll even approaches accuracy, what does all this mean? The fact that 43 percent of respondents think scientific findings are simply a matter of opinion explains why so many people believe that climate change is manmade simply because there is a “consensus that it is true.” There was once a consensus the sun revolved around the earth and these people have not advanced in their thinking since those days. One wonders whether these same Canadians would say that water freezes when the temperature falls below zero degrees Celsius is just an opinion. Do these same folks thing that 2 plus 2 equally 4 is also an opinion? This is just downright scary.

Of more concern is the significant number of people (38 percent) that believe scientific facts can be both objective facts AND matters of opinion. This kind of thinking has wider implications than simply science. It explains why so many Canadians cannot distinguish between facts and opinion in the media. It explains how an opinion often expressed in the media (eg. Justin Trudeau great, Donald Trump, awful) are considered to be confirmed facts by these Canadians.

It is hard to believe that 10 percent of those polled do not think celebrities are a good source of scientific facts but comedians somehow are. Kim Kardashian bad, Stephen Colbert good. It makes no sense.

The people who think scientific facts are matters of opinions probably laugh at members of the Flat Earth Society simply for having an opinion that differs from theirs.

It would be nice if this poll, like the many polls showing Hillary Clinton was headed for a landslide last November, was simply wrong. It is simply too scary to believe this poll might be even approaching accuracy.

Leger interviewed 1,514 Canadians on Aug. 15 and 16. According to the company, the margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.



Arthur Weinreb -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. Arthur’s latest book, Ford Nation: Why hundreds of thousands of Torontonians supported their conservative crack-smoking mayor is available at Amazon. Racism and the Death of Trayvon Martin is also available at Smashwords. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com,  Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

Older articles (2007) by Arthur Weinreb

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