Maybe it shouldn’t.
Here. And what a disgrace Weber thinks it is:
Where mistrust in experts is probably of most consequence, however, is climate change. Now, the numbers on this aren’t as tilted away from the experts as you might think, given the tenor of the political debate. In March, Gallup reported that 57 percent of Americans believe that pollution and other human activities are making the Earth warmer, versus 40 percent who blame natural causes.
That’s not as high as the 97 percent of climate scientists who subscribe to human-influenced climate change, but it’s pretty good considering that 89 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial and 155 years after Charles Darwin published On the Origins of Species, a plurality of Americans — 42 percent — believe that “God created humans in present form.” A 2009 report from Pew found that, once again, 97 percent of scientists agreed that “humans and other living things have evolved over time” (though 8 percent of them also agreed that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today”).
The numbers in these two examples show pretty stark partisan differences — on climate change, for example, 41 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats sided with human-affected warming. But mistrust in experts, even scientific experts, isn’t just a conservative/Republican thing. Plenty of parents opting out of vaccinations (despite the overwhelming consensus of public health experts) and public school (taught by well-trained educators) are liberals, and liberal-tarian Portland, Oregon, keeps on voting down fluoridating its drinking water.
This typical product of “journalists, your moral and intellectual superiors” thinking shows no awareness of two key issues:
1. Many of the greatest human disasters in the last century were caused by experts. It was top experts, social elites, and intellectuals who said there was nothing to fear from Hitler. Just for example. Books have doubtless been written on the problem. BA77, are you there? 😉
2. Most experts have a vested interest in what they say. That does not make them dishonest. But it does mean that they are just as likely to suffer from confirmation bias as the public is, maybe more so. More is at stake for them.
Many people can sense that something is wrong even if they don’t know enough to articulate it. See, for example, the ridiculous situation in evolutionary biology, badly in need of reform but afraid to reform due to ID. So presumably they force stuff on students in school that they know is problematic, then wonder why people don’t trust them.
So David Barash can cheerfully front religious unbelief in his evolutionary biology class (“the Talk”) while reform in his discipline can’t happen because colleagues fear ID.
And Peter Weber actually thinks it’s a problem if vast numbers of people just mistrust the lot of them?
No wonder Weber’s whole industry is tanking. It is much easier today than ever to find independent experts.
Bottom line: 1) Survivors don’t “trust” experts. They evaluate them. 2) Trust can’t be demanded; it must be earned.
Follow UD News at Twitter!