An annual survey by the Ontario Science Centre finds a startling contradiction among Canadians: Almost all of us believe science benefits us, and a large majority say we need it to solve the problems of the future—but a growing number of us feel threatened by it, or even categorize it as opinion. When you read a Facebook post on a miniature wireless computer held in the palm of your hand, and that post tells you vaccines cause autism…that’s the kind of contradiction we’re dealing with.
Scientific advancement has been the hallmark of modern civilization, and we need it now more than ever. So where does the mistrust come from, and why is it growing? More importantly, how can we explain science in such a way that people see it as reliable and believable, rather than as a set of findings that can be written into screaming headlines and used to sway emotions? Dr. Maurice Bitran is the CEO of the science centre, and he shows us what we’re getting wrong when we talk about the latest study.