Pew says “Americans’ confidence that scientists act in the public interest is up since 2016”.
This surprises, because we have been tracking how science is becoming woker and woker, the rate increasing noticeably of late. Some areas are almost thoroughly pozzed.
For instance? This Guardian story: “Testosterone boosts women’s athletic performance, study shows.”
Gist is that many man are either pretending to be women, or are delusional enough to believe they are women (while knowing they are not), but who want to compete in sports “as” women.
This is insane, as we all know. Scientists should know this, too. But they’re either too scared to say it or their minds are so corrupted by ideology they join in the delusion. The scared ones know that men shouldn’t be competing against women, but they also know saying this is professional suicide, so they seek other ways to state the obvious.
Hence measuring testosterone. Measurements are scientific. People with testosterone above a certain level are scientifically barred from competing against women. But since some women have high-T, the cut is imperfect.
The easiest measure, looking at a person’s sex, is ignored. Science therefore ignores its best evidence because of ideology. Thus, Science is pozzed.
This is why the high rate of trust, and its increase, in scientists is confusing.
The answer might lie in the sample Pew gathered. The same people reported a ten-point increase in the trust in the news media since 2016! The overall number hovers below 50%, but that there should be any increase in a country that is fracturing is bizarre.
Perhaps splitting is causing the increasing trust. The ideologues tune in only to CNN and MSNBC, whereas the smaller number of Realists eschew traditional sources, embracing newer outlets. Both sides increasingly hear what they want to hear, hence trust increases.
Same thing with science? Partly. Some folks come to this site, for instance, to hear the Reality-based view of science, whereas the ideologues head over to the Guardian to learn what budding scientist Greta Thunberg just said.
Doesn’t seem like the effect would be enough, though. But Pew admits “Americans are divided along party lines in terms of how they view the value and objectivity of scientists and their ability to act in the public interest.”
Also “More Democrats (43%) than Republicans (27%) have ‘a great deal” of confidence in scientists”. The D-R divide is crude, as we all know. However, substantially more progressives are Ds than Rs, while universities, the home of most scientists, are almost entirely progressive.
That’s why “Most Democrats (73%) believe scientists should take an active role in scientific policy debates. By contrast, a majority of Republicans (56%) say scientists should focus on establishing sound scientific facts and stay out of such policy debates.”
Scientists have no special gift for understanding the importance of science to mankind. The how and the why are not the same. Scientists can say how things work, but why they do and what the why means we must leave to others.
People know of this divide, at least in areas not as much under the political microscope.
Americans tend to trust science practitioners, who directly provide treatments and recommendations to the public, more than researchers working in the same areas. For example, 47% say dietitians provide fair and accurate information about their recommendations all or most of the time, compared with 24% for nutrition scientists discussing their research.
Whether the advice of dietitians is sound, people understand that it should work in practice. Where we all have seen enough “research shows” headlines to grasp that researchers’ theories are often full of it.
Two more things: (1) “Among Democrats, an overwhelming majority of those with high science knowledge (86%) think the scientific method generally produces accurate conclusions”, and (2) “64% of Republicans with high science knowledge say scientists are just as likely to be biased as other people”. Interesting, Pew didn’t report the opposites (we don’t know what D’s think about bias). Anyway, these results fit with what was said above.
Now it is true that more Ds than Rs scored higher on Pew’s mini science quiz, a result in line with others that people use to claim progs are smarter than Realists.
There is some truth in that contention. But since some very smart people believe, or say they believe, obviously false things, like men are women, it proves its takes great intelligence to be really stupid.
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