Lee Rainie at the Aspen Ideas Festival: The Genetic Revolution, Unintended Consequences, and the Public Trust

Audrie Pirkl — June 30, 2017

This week, Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology at the Pew Research Center, presented findings about Americans’ trust in scientists at the Aspen Ideas Festival. In a session called, “The Genetic Revolution, Unintended Consequences, and the Public Trust,” he lead a discussion about public institutional trust in scientific work. Some of the key points Rainie presented include:

  • 67% of Americans say science has an a mostly positive effect on society
  • Nearly half or more expect the following changes to be implemented within 50 years:
    • Routinely transplant artificially-made organs for humans
    • Cures for most forms of cancer - Computer chips routinely embedded into our bodies
    • Lab-grown custom organs
    • Computers that create art as well as humans do
  • A wide mix of factors influence public views on science-related issues:
    • Party affiliation and ideology
    • Education and/ or science knowledge
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Race/ ethnicity
    • Religion
  • Trust in climate scientists is low among conservative Republicans; considerably higher among liberal Democrats

The presentation also focused on American public opinion on potential human enhancements and briefly delved into the wide controversy of gene editing.

Read more here.