Much of the American public disagrees with scientists on several issues, including the ultimate cause of global climate change.
The Pew Research Center conducted the research which revealed that Americans hold science in high regard, even as they disagree with prevailing views on issues. The study found that 79 percent of Americans believe science has made life better for most people. More than half of respondents reported their opinion that science has had a positive influence on food, health care, and the environment.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) scientists participated in the research, providing a base of scientific opinion for the study.
"Science issues are increasingly civic issues. They are at the center of what defines culture and society and how people live their lives," Lee Rainie, the Pew Research Center director of Internet, science and technology research, said.
The American public, as a whole, tends to support government spending on research and exploration. Slightly more than 70 percent of subjects in the study were of the opinion that such investments pay off over time.
Genetically modified (GM) foods were found to be the biggest source of disagreement between the AAAS scientists and the general public. While 88 percent of the researchers stated GM foods are safe, just 37 percent of the general public agree.
The use of animals in research was also found to be a point of significant disagreement between AAAS scientists and John Q. Public. On that issue, 89 percent of researchers supported the practice, while just 47 of every 100 members of the general public agreed.
Around 87 percent of scientists in the survey believe that human activity is the main cause behind global climate change. Just half of the general public holds the same opinion.
More than half of Americans - 59 percent - believe rising human population around the globe will present problems in the future. However, 82 percent of scientists feel the same way.
Just 47 percent of researchers believe humans are essential to the exploration of space, an idea that is supported by 59 percent of the general public. The use of fracking in the exploration of fossil fuel deposits is favored by 39 percent of the general public and 31 percent of scientists in the survey.
The International Space Station (ISS) is one issue on which scientists and the general public are almost in agreement. Around 68 percent of scientists, and 64 percent of the general public, believe the orbiting outpost has been a good investment for the nation.
"Among scientists, the public's knowledge about science - or lack thereof - is widely considered to be a major (84%) or minor (14%) problem for the field," the Pew Research Center reported.
The theory of human evolution from simpler forms of life is the single idea in the survey supported by the greatest number of scientists - 98 percent. Roughly 65 percent of the American public hold the same view.