As Canadians, we like to think of ourselves as rather intelligent and informed. Especially in comparison to our southern neighbours, who are known to be skeptical of scientific fact. Even the President of the United States has denied the existence of climate change.
But Canada isn’t all that different, a new poll suggests.
Polling a little over 1,500 Canadians, research house Leger asked participants a series of questions about scientific studies and whether they could be trusted.
The poll’s findings were not very uplifting.
43% of Canadians, or 1-in-4, believe that scientific studies and their findings are “a matter of opinion” reports CBC.
If you know anything about the scientific method, you’d know that is simply not true. Good science doesn’t bring in opinions.
Arguably worse, 47% of respondents (so nearly half) said that global warming isn’t necessarily real, calling into question the multitude of scientific reports saying otherwise, because apparently the science is “still unclear.”
And the number of Canadians who still aren’t sold on the existence of global warming actually went up since last year, from 43% to 47%.
A possible explanation for why Canadians seem to distrust scientific studies is “fake news.” 66% of poll participants said that fake news is impacting the way they view and understand science.
One of the scientists who commissioned the poll called the findings “worrisome,” which is putting it lightly.
The scientist then explained that, if a large chunk of Canadians don’t think global warming is real, then it will affect policy. If leaders can’t get widespread support on actions against climate change, then public policy won’t be as effective as it could be.
It’s also Science Literacy Week, the reason the poll was conducted, the perfect time to inform a scientific-skeptic if you know one. Apparently there’s a lot of them out there in Canada.