Most Americans recognize
and appreciate the benefits of S&T. The public is also highly
supportive of the government's role in funding basic research. By
most measures, American attitudes about S&T are considerably
more positive than attitudes in Europe.
In both the United States and Europe, however, residents do not
know much about S&T. The percentage of correct responses to
a battery of questions designed to assess the level of knowledge
and understanding of scientific terms and concepts has not changed
appreciably in the past few years. In addition, approximately 70
percent of Americans do not understand the scientific process, technological
literacy is weak, and belief in pseudoscience is relatively widespread
and may be growing.
Although Americans generally have very positive attitudes about
S&T and high regard for the science community, some harbor reservations
about S&T, and 70 percent believe that scientific research does
not pay enough attention to moral values. Although Americans are
overwhelmingly opposed to human cloning, they are more evenly divided
about stem cell research.
Americans continue to get most of their information about the latest
developments in S&T from watching television. However, the Internet
has made inroads and is now the leading source of information on
specific scientific issues.