Looking at the recent, highly politicized fights over global warming, stem cell research and evolution, a foreign observer might think that the American public sees scientists as a class of people above sweat shop owners, but below pornographers. Similarly, the outrage on many science blogs over the public response to those issue could lead readers to think that scientists view the American public as angry villagers ready to burn chemists at the stake for witchcraft.
Today, the most comprehensive poll to date exploring the American people's relationship with science, conducted by the non-partisan Pew Research group, has shown that many of those perceptions are just plain wrong.
In our March feature story, Sally Has 2 Mommies + 1 Daddy, life sciences associate editor Rebecca Skloot noted that each year, thousands of women expose themselves and their future children to fertility treatments . Yet most of these treatments have not been tested for safety, and are not subject to regulation. These technologies—like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the method used for injecting sperm into eggs—have now been connected to a risk of serious birth defects.