Chicago — Months of confusing and conflicting scientific claims surrounding Covid-19 have strengthened Americans’ preference for settled science from the sources they trust most, a recent poll from the Center for Truth in Science finds.
63 percent of respondents said they only want to hear about scientific research that has been confirmed by multiple studies that affirm identical findings. And, when decisions based on scientific research are happening in in a courtroom—a place where judges and juries are tasked with determining the accuracy of scientific claims—61% of Americans believe juries should not award settlements unless there is consistent settled scientific evidence to do so.
In fact, 79 percent of respondents believe independent scientists appointed by a judge are the most qualified to determine settled science as it pertains to potential awards in mass tort cases. By comparison, just 33 percent of respondents rated jury members as very or somewhat qualified to make these decisions.
“Scientific accuracy has come under the microscope thanks to Covid-19, but it has been a contentious issue long before our current crisis. From the court room to everyday consumer choices, the confusion surrounding what constitutes ‘settled science’—and who gets to make that call—is making it harder to make smart decisions based on facts,” said Joseph Annotti, President and CEO of the Center for Truth in Science.
When asked to pinpoint who provides accurate and honest information about matters of health and science, scientists paid to testify in lawsuits about products ranked at the bottom of the list, aside major news outlets and homeopathic health experts. In comparison, respondents identified medical doctors—particularly their own personal doctors—professors in health and science fields, and federal health and safety officials as the most accurate and honest.
“Given our current situation, Americans understandably question the motives of paid advocates who make claims about health and safety issues,” Annotti said. “Moving forward, it is imperative to understand that when individuals are charged with making decisions on these issues – whether in the courtroom, the doctor’s office, or the aisle of the grocery store or hardware store – they overwhelming prefer to base them on fact-based scientific evidence verified unbiased panels of independent scientists.”
Echelon Insights conducted the nationwide poll of 1,000 registered voters on behalf of the Center for Truth in Science from Aug. 1-3, 2020. The survey was weighted by age, gender, and race to be a representative sample of voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
Founded in 2020, the Center for Truth in Science is an independent, non-profit organization with a vision of becoming a well-respected champion of fact-based science. The organization focuses on issues at the intersection of science, economics, and the judicial system, with the objective of contributing to a judicial system in which liability and damage awards are based on fact-based science.