Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus, but according to a research conducted at University of Pennsylvania Medical School their brains are definitely wired differently. That perhaps explains why there are wide differences of opinion between men and women on a number of science-related topics.
According to Pew Research Center’s recent study on public views of scientific matters in the United States, men support genetically modified foods more than women. Men (66%) are also more inclined to say astronauts are essential in the future of the U.S. space program than women (52%), the study discovered. Men and women are largely at odds over animal research; a 60% majority of men favor the use of animals in scientific research, while a 62% majority of women oppose it, the study found.
On average, men are more inclined than women to favor building more nuclear power plants, to allow more offshore oil drilling and to increasing the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract oil and gas. These differences are statistically significant even when controlling for political party and other factors. Holding all else equal, women also are more likely than men to say the Earth is warming (whether due to human activity or through natural processes).
Do men and women hold similar views on any science-related topics? They do, so it seems. There are no gender differences on government funding issues related to science and engineering, as well as issues related to:
- Whether childhood vaccines should be required or a matter of parental choice
- The safety of childhood vaccines
- Allowing access to experimental drug treatments before clinical trials have shown the treatments to be safe and effective
- Whether the growing world population will be a major problem from strains on food and resources or not a major problem because we will find ways to stretch resources
Before you draw any conclusion based on Pew’s findings, here is something to chew on: it’s not just men and women who differ on scientific issues.
A separate survey conducted by the Pew Research Center earlier had found a significant opinion gap between professional scientists and the wider American public on a number of scientific issues, ranging from climate change to genetically modified foods. For example, a minority of the general public (37%) said that genetically modified foods are generally safe to eat; by contrast, 88% of scientists said genetically modified foods are generally safe to eat.
What do you think of the research and its outcome? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below:
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