This week, Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology at the Pew Research Center, presented findings about Americans’ trust in scientists at the Aspen Ideas Festival. In a session called, “The Genetic Revolution, Unintended Consequences, and the Public Trust,” he lead a discussion about public institutional trust in scientific work. Some of the key points Rainie presented include: 

  • 67% of Americans say science has an a mostly positive effect on society

  • Nearly half or more expect the following changes to be implemented within 50 years:

    • Routinely transplant artificially-made organs for humans

    • Cures for most forms of cancer

    • Computer chips routinely embedded into our bodies

    • Lab-grown custom organs

    • Computers that create art as well as humans do

  • A wide mix of factors influence public views on science-related issues:

    • Party affiliation and ideology

    • Education and/ or science knowledge

    • Age

    • Gender

    • Race/ ethnicity

    • Religion

  • Trust in climate scientists is low among conservative Republicans; considerably higher among liberal Democrats

The presentation also focused on American public opinion on potential human enhancements and briefly delved into the wide controversy of gene editing.

Read more here.

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