UPDATE: the presentations have been uploaded on the conferences website.
So I finally finished gathering my data and did my plots. Before I get into specifics about what exactly did the Greek sample say, I want to mention four things that I found striking:
- there was significantly more emphasis in the Greek answers: Even though, in most questions their beliefs appear to be similar to those of other Europeans, their answers were more “emphatic” i.e. their answers were less divided compared to other EU countries. I noticed this by eye, and in an effort to “quantify” it, I ranked all European countries according to their responses using the graph charts presented in the Eurobarometer report. In these graphs, the countries were plotted in descending order, according to the value of the majority and minority percentages in those questions. The country on the far left was thus ranked “1” since it showed the greatest majority percentage. Similarly the country on the far right was ranked “28” (the average of all 27 EU countries was included in the ranking).
In the following graph I present the distribution of rankings of the EU27 average:
This is just a teaser of the data i am plotting.
QC6.8 (see below) is maybe the question whose answers showed the biggest difference between Greece and the UK so far (I am half way through all the eurobarometer tables).
So a lot more Greek than British people feel that “because of their knowledge, scientists have a power that makes them dangerous”. When all EU27 countries are ranked according to their belief in this statement, Greece is on the one end of the spectrum (2nd most agreeing) and the UK is at the other end of the spectrum (6th least agreeing).
Could this maybe be part of the explanation of why the one country reacts and the other doesn’t?
Why is there reaction to science-related issues in some countries, and in others not so much?
Having lived for almost a decade in a country where there were big reactions to science issues (MMR, GM, mad cow, etc), and having moved back to a country where the reactions are not so big – one could say non-existent – it makes me wonder why is this the case?
Of course it comes down to society, but why? What I mean is, of course there are big differences between the British and Greek societies, but which of these differences cause reaction in the former and not in the latter?
This question has been brewing in my mind for quite sometime now since it is different to communicate science to a society that is against it, than to a society that simply does not care. (A related question: why it does not care?)
I finally got back to Athens 2 days ago: I was supposed to be away in Paris for 8 days but I ended up staying for 2 weeks due to the volcano eruption. I cannot really complain. The only problem is that when you are stranded away from home it is more difficult to write your blog!
Anyway the meeting in Paris was related to knowledge, science, youth, communication and policy issues and I learned a lot of interesting things that I will mention in my future posts. For the time being I suggest to the European people that might fall into this blog, to go and vote at the website that is mentioned below.
The following text i copied pasted it from the e-mail I was sent:
Science and innovation have played an essential role in our history. The search for knowledge to advance together is one of the pillars of European culture. Continue reading