Public Opinion on “Fronkensteen” Science

“All those scientists are alike! They say they want to help you, but really they just want to take over the world!”
Peasant – Young Frankenstein (1974)

Mel Brooks understood the public view on science perfectly, and apparently that’s how many scientists feel the public feels. Yea – the latter seems a bit hokey, but according to 204 self-reported UK animal, human embryo, and human tissue scientists interviewed by the Institute of Ideas, “…37 per cent think that increasing regulation does more harm than good to the field’s reputation.”

Mark Henderson at The Times reported on the meeting that was held this past weekend: “The Battle of Ideas: a two-day festival of high-level, thought-provoking debate organised by the Institute of Ideas and hosted by the Royal College of Art.”

Excessive regulation of science is damaging public confidence in research by creating a misleading impression that most of it is dangerous or ethically dubious, say working scientists….

…While most respondents accepted that some ethical scrutiny and regulation were essential, many felt that this had gone too far [41% of respondents].

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any raw data or information from this survey online. However, wouldn’t the most straightforward way of answering this question be to ask the public? What do you think – are the majority scientists creating enormous, metaphorical abominations played by the late great Peter Boyle?

If this were true, how might this distrust translate into other avenues of scientific research? For example, does this ring a bell:

“All those climatologists are alike! They say they want to save the world from global warming, but really they are just looking for increased funding and grant opportunities!”

It does for me.

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: