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Benjamin C. Kinney @BenCKinney
, 16 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Back to the #SoCIA18 livetweeting game! Now is "The Importance of Answering the Major Questions of Astrobiology" by Jim Schwartz.
This is about the public's attitudes - how do they feel about extraterrestrial life, astrobiology, etc?
Interestingly 50-90% of people say "religion is somewhat/very important to our views about evolution," - 90% of creationists but even 50% of people who believe in natural selection.
(Relevant here because beliefs-about-evolution are better studied than beliefs-about-ETLlife.)
None of those belief groups (natural selection, intelligent design, creationisms) rely primarily on science to drive that belief. Most say "common sense," though creationists mostly say religion is the reason for their beliefs.
Space exploration, however, is quite popular. Not many people think NASA is doing a poor job, stable over time (1990-2007)
Most people (~2/3) claim to be interested in space exploration. But people are about split on whether NASA gets too much money vs. the right amount. (Only 13-20% say not enough.) Gotten slightly more pro-NASA in recent years.
That means, probably, lots of people who "are interested in space" don't want to give NASA more money.
Religiosity (and other factors) affect beliefs in amount of $ spent on space - more often you attend services, more likely you are to think NASA gets too much. But note that "service frequency" is tied to which religion.
If all this stuff extends to Search for ETLife, it looks like most people are pro the idea, but don't actually want to give it money.
Only 4 surveys ever directly measuring public support for astrobiology (largest sample in 2011; others were targeted specifically at students).
The big survey is also the only one that has distinguished between life and intelligent life. Religion was given as main reason why people said "no" to "is there life on other planets?"
When people were asked what KIND of life would be out there, responses went: bacteria > more advanced > human-level.
Lessons include: "people think ETLife exists" doesn't extend to "people are interested in searching for it" doesn't extend to "people care what science thinks about it" or "should spend money on it"!
Lessons also include "we don't really know enough about public attitudes toward the search for extraterrestrial life, and we need better surveys!"
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