The brand-name of science is being trashed

Trust in science continues to fall. The disillusionment with the Covid response has spread to science in general. Anthony Fauci said "trust the science" then showed us how untrustworthy science was. SARS-2 definitely wasn't a lab-leak, except it probably was; the vaccine was 95% effective, except everyone caught covid, and the data was world's best practice but the FDA fought tooth and nail to stop us seeing it until 2076.

These results are terrible: despite respondents being surrounded by hi-tech cars, phones, food and gadgets which were all impossible without science, only 57% of people now think science has has a "mostly positive" effect. That's 43% of the population who now think science hurts us as much as it helps (or is even worse).

The good name of science, created by two generations with antibiotics, satellites, and the moon-landing, has been exploited by name-calling parasites.

Pew research released this in November, calling it just "a decline":

Trust in Science
© Pew Research
What Pew didn't say was that these sort of surveys have been going on for years and this was the biggest fall in forty years.

A similar survey set by the National Science Foundation has been running since 1979, and year after year, found that between 68% and 79% of Americans used to think the benefits of science outweighed the negatives.

It's been remarkably consistent for four decades but we're in new territory now.

Here are those older results:

Scientific Research
The terms "experts" and "consensus" won't work like they used too.Contrast this with the news just released by Nature with the headline "trust in scientists is high", but watch the pea. They don't compare it to the past, report a trend, or give it any context at all. It's just a mindless number, 3.62, (but it's high mom!)
Largest post-pandemic survey finds trust in scientists is high

Carissa Wong, Nature

People around the world have high levels of trust in scientists, and most want researchers to get more involved in policymaking, finds a global survey with more than 70,000 participants. But trust levels are influenced by political orientation and differ among nations, according to the study, which was described in a preprint posted online last month1.

Respondents were asked to indicate how much they agreed with a dozen statements about the integrity, competency, benevolence and openness of scientists, on a scale of 1 to 5. A higher score indicated higher trust. Across all participants, the average trust score was moderately high, at 3.62...
Even the psychologist they interview can only bring himself to say "fairly high".

Nature make sure to tell us trust is " linked to political orientation". They blame it mostly on political leaders. It's as if the voters are just the sheep being led astray, not the ones throwing tomatoes at the politicians who are slow to figure it out.

It is the end of an era.


Public assessment of benefits and harms of scientific research: 1979-2018

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, Survey of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology (1979-2001); University of Michigan, Survey of Consumer Attitudes (2004); NORC at the University of Chicago, General Social Survey (2006-18). Science and Engineering Indicators