Few things bring me as much pleasure as delivering good news. Today, the science headlines include two stories that fit that bill.
“Candidates of either party who take an environmental stance on climate can gain the votes of some citizens while not alienating others.”
According to researchers at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, in the eyes of the American electorate, “there’s no heavy penalty or reward that will be attached to taking a position one way or another on the issue.” In fact, voters tend to favor political candidates who believe that humans have contributed to global warming and that the nation should move away from fossil fuels by investing in renewable sources of energy.
Global warming and the candidates’ reactions to it have already emerged as issues that will affect the 2012 Presidential Race. The fact that the public prefers candidates who embrace the science of anthropogenic global warming bodes well for political remedies as we go forward.
The second bit of good news that I’m pleased to deliver involves public opinion on embryonic stem cell research.
A study published in Nature Biotechnology this week has found that many Americans support the use of embryonic stem cell research for curing serious diseases. The researchers found that:
More than 70% of respondents support the use of therapeutic cloning and stem cells from in vitro fertilized embryos to cure cancer or treat heart attacks.
The study sheds light on how Americans make their decisions on this issue. Less than half (47%) of respondents support the same research for treating allergies. This suggests that the decision to support the use of embryonic stem cells is highly influenced by the potential benefits of the controversial research. Further, the respondents largely base the decision on their personal judgment rather than deferring to the will of authority establishments such as their Church or government ethics committees. Interestingly, though, more individuals (21%) did follow the will of their church than followed the recommendations of their medical doctors (15%) or the U.S. National Institutes of Health (13%).
Both studies offer insight into the current American psyche in regards to controversial scientific issues (perhaps things aren’t as bad as we thought) and will surely be the subject of future posts here at The Intersection.