Poll: Americans Don't Trust Scientists

Julie Borg | WORLD News Service | Monday, November 3, 2014

Poll: Americans Don't Trust Scientists

Americans view scientists as highly competent but do not trust them, researchers at Princeton University concluded after conducting an online poll of adults.

Americans are particularly suspicious of researchers seeking grant funding or pushing particular agendas. “Rather than persuading, scientists may better serve citizens by discussing, teaching and sharing information to convey trustworthy intentions,” lead author and psychology professor Susan Fiske said.

Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and consultant at the Center for Bioethics and Culture was more blunt: Scientists too often seek to “harness our general support for science as the horses to pull their own political/ideological agenda carts.”

Participants in the study rated the most common American jobs according to public perceptions of competence and warmth, which was used as a measure of trustworthiness. Helping professionals such as teachers, doctors, and nurses rated high on both warmth/trust and competence. Prostitution rated low on both measures. Secretaries, writers, law enforcement officers, and bus drivers were among the professionals deemed neutral on both measures. Engineers, accountants, and attorneys joined scientists in ratings of high competence but low warmth/trust.

Courtesy: WORLD News Service

Publication date: November 3, 2014

Poll: Americans Don't Trust Scientists