People Are Becoming Increasingly Skeptical of Science, Report Finds

March 20, 2019, 1:00 PM UTC

People around the world are becoming increasingly skeptical of science, says a new report analyzing global attitudes on the subject.

According to 3M’s 2019 State of Science Index, which includes responses from 14,000 people in 14 countries, 35% of respondents say they’re skeptical of science, an uptick of 3% since last year. Just over a quarter of the world say they’re suspicious of the role of science over the next 20 years—in the U.S., this number grows to one third.

This could be linked to the fact that 45% said they only believe in science that aligns with their personal beliefs, likely causing unconscious skepticism, says the report.

Despite this mistrust, 3M says 87% of respondents said they’re excited for the advancement of medical science, and 71% are looking forward to the prospects of space tourism.

Still, most crave a human connection over technology: 74% of respondents would rather have a human assistant over a robot. Furthermore, despite living in the age of social media, 87% would rather make five new friends than gain 5,000 new followers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently predicted this trend would come to pass, writing that the “future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services”—a digital platform more comparable to a living room than a town square.