To no one’s surprise around here:
We asked one group of respondents to read a news article about a scientific journal or magazine. We asked a second group of people to read an article that contained the same description of the publication but with additional details about the political position it took and quotes from its actual statements regarding Biden and Trump. Then we asked respondents about their trust in scientists, scientific journals and science as an institution.
We found that trust in science declined among respondents who learned about a publication’s partisan statement. The magnitude of the observed effects is small but statistically significant, holds across a range of controls and is persistent across different ways of measuring trust in science. The finding was most pronounced for conservatives, likely because the endorsements were all supportive of Biden and against Trump…
There’s a lot of new research in the area of trust in science, including large polls of the public. Some findings suggest that there is still confidence in scientific expertise – but this declines as soon as science mixes with policy recommendations in people’s minds.Kevin L. Young, Bernhard Leidner, and Stylianos Syropoulos, “When scientific journals take sides during an election, the public’s trust in science takes a hit” at The Conversation
Time will tell but the effect may prove cumulative. People lose trust for different reasons and the numbers add up, not down. People who lost faith in the journals because they went political will be joined by people who lose faith after living through one COVID lockdown/crackdown panic after another in the face of clearly declining death stats. When the next “Trust the Science!” panic sweeps the internet, a third group will join them, asking, “So what’s in this latest crazy for the Voice of Science?”
Trust is easier to lose than earn, and much harder to regain.
See also: Nature: Scientists “Aghast” That Biden Didn’t Win A Landslide In The US