Pew survey: Americans science literacy ‘mixed’, partisanship drives many viewpoints

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A new Pew Research Center survey finds that many Americans can answer at least some questions about science concepts…The survey, conducted Jan. 7 to 21, 2019, takes stock of the degree to which the public shares a common understanding of science facts and processes in an era of easy access to information and sometimes-intense debate over what information is true and false.

Americans give more correct than incorrect answers to the 11 questions. The mean number of correct answers is 6.7, while the median is 7. About four-in-ten Americans (39%) get between nine and 11 correct answers, classified as having high science knowledge on the 11-item scale or index.

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Image: Pew Research

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People’s understanding of scientific processes and how scientific knowledge accumulates may help them navigate ongoing debates over science connected with issues such as climate change, childhood vaccines and genetically modified foods….

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As a practical matter, science knowledge can help individuals navigate a variety of everyday situations, such as making health care decisions or deciding what to eat….And, as science continues to advance….on issues such as climate change and gene editing, a more informed citizenry is seen as better able to….engage in civic discourse around these topics.

And on some issues, science knowledge can have a more complicated, indirect role. When it comes to public views about climate and energy issues, partisanship appears to serve as an anchoring point in how people apply their knowledge.

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Read full, original article: What Americans Know About Science

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