Business Week's Michael Mandel posts some interesting charts on his Economics Unbound blog. looking at public attitudes towards science, they show firstly that a majority of Europeans believe that astrology or fortune-telling is scientific (compared to around a third in the United States and only one in nine in China).
Second, fewer Europeans supporting funding of research by the government. Third, only half (52%) of Europeans believe that the benefits of science outweigh the harm (52%), compared to more than fourth-fifths in the US.
Add to that the large and well known pay disparities between what European scientists get compared with those in the United States, and we have at least a partial answer to why Europe has been falling behind in innovation and R&D. Even in a country with a very strong science tradition like Britain, it is is alarming how easily luddites and the populist press can hijack scientific and medical debates.