World Conference on Science, Session 10
Professor Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman, MORI
Visiting Professor of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science
Here is a brief excerpt from the preface:
There are five theses which I propose to put forward in this paper, based on empirically derived evidence of the behaviour, knowledge and views of the British public which, I argue, can be used as a guide to how other cultures and peoples have been and may in the future may be reacting to the interface between science, scientists and society.
- The British public tend to judge the value of scientific advances by their end purpose.
- Scientific developments aimed directly at achieving improvements in human health care are the most valued by the public.
- Ignorance about the way in which science is regulated and restricted leads many of the public to assume that the regulation is insufficient, and this in turn makes them more likely to be hostile to science.
- There is scepticism and mistrust in government and business alike, and although a majority of the public say they trust "scientists" but whenever a scientist's employer or sponsor is mentioned, the veracity of the source becomes highly relevant: the scientists trusted by the highest proportion of people are those working for environmental NGOs.
- Significant numbers of the public are prepared to use their power as consumers to put pressure on those involved when they object to a scientific procedure or principle.