December 23, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Poll: Americans Do Not Trust Scientists
A poll by Huffington Post and YouGov shows only 36 percent of Americans putting “a lot” of trust in scientific information. This is hardly surprising, as trust in all major institutions is withering on the vine.
Americans Have Little Faith In Scientists, Science Journalists: Poll — In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, only 36 percent of Americans reported having “a lot” of trust that information they get from scientists is accurate and reliable. Fifty-one percent said they trust that information only a little, and another 6 percent said they don’t trust it at all.
And nobody should implicitly trust any group of people, even scientists. A healthy dose of skepticism is always a good idea, but people should not skip skepticism entirely and move straight to denialism. And the biggest example of that in America right now is probably climate change deniers.
But I have news for all those Americans who put so little trust in science and scientists to the point where they are beyond skepticism. You don’t have all the answers, just as I don’t have all the answers, just as scientists don’t have all the answers. But the one thing that I’m fairly confident of, is that a scientist in a given field of expertise is much more knowledgable than you or I. And that should count for something.
Besides, we give science our tacit approval every time we drive over a bridge, or have a medical procedure performed, or ride an elevator to the 50th floor of a high rise building, and so on. The point is, there are a lot of people highly qualified, who know more than we do about a topic, and it’s not good enough to simply be a skeptic. You shouldn’t blindly trust, but you also shouldn’t wage an uninformed war because science is telling you something you don’t want to hear.