From psychologist Bastiaan T. Rutjens at Aeon:
What makes people distrust science? Surprisingly, not politics
Moving beyond domain-specific skepticism, what did we observe about a general trust in science, and the willingness to support science more broadly? The results were quite clear: trust in science was by far the lowest among the religious. In particular, religious orthodoxy was a strong negative predictor of faith in science and the orthodox participants were also the least positive about investing federal money in science. But notice here again political ideology did not contribute any meaningful variance over and beyond religiosity.
From these studies there are a couple of lessons to be learned about the current crisis of faith that plagues science. Science skepticism is quite diverse. Further, distrust of science is not really that much about political ideology, with the exception of climate-change skepticism, which is consistently found to be politically driven. Additionally, these results suggest that science skepticism cannot simply be remedied by increasing people’s knowledge about science. The impact of scientific literacy on science skepticism, trust in science, and willingness to support science was minor, save for the case of genetic modification. Some people are reluctant to accept particular scientific findings, for various reasons. When the aim is to combat skepticism and increase trust in science, a good starting point is to acknowledge that science skepticism comes in many forms.More.
Religious people are also less likely to trust superstitions, so it can’t be mere gullibility. It may be that they get information from their tradition that creates a reasonable basis for skepticism.
For example, no mention is made in the linked article of 1) the by now well-known problems with messages from government and corporate-driven science, 2) the acknowledged problems with peer review, 3) the scandal of corrupt forensic science, and 4) lectern-splintering on behalf of certainties that are simply much less certain than they used to be, especially in the school system.*
Rutjens is not doing himself or anyone else a favor by pretending that the reasons that people distrust science are necessarily irrational and that some fix needs to be applied to get them to trust what has proven untrustworthy.
*See, for example: Nutrition science is nearly baseless but it rules.
Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature
Cop shows give a misleading picture of the gloomy state of forensic science today
Arizona education change: Parts of evolution theory termed “not proven.” Meltdown among Darwin’s faithful.