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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Why do so many Americans distrust science? | AAMC

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The public’s trust in medical research declines as mistrust and divisiveness increase.

Medical science is emerging from the worst days of the epidemic with both lifesaving discoveries and a crisis of legitimacy. Scientists must comprehend the processes that spread doubt about their work. A population overloaded by too much information, increased division, and misinformation tactics by companies and governments contribute to mistrust. In the last year, public trust in scientists and medical professionals has decreased. The more individuals consider science a political discipline, the more likely they will disregard discoveries that contradict their worldviews.

According to several surveys, broad definitions of “science” and “medicine” continue to enjoy widespread support in the United States. Scientists are concerned that the spread of disinformation may make it hard to effectively address other public health concerns, such as pollution, climate change, and future epidemics. In medical research, cultural circumstances, intelligent techniques, and technological communication systems are mutually reinforcing. People were inundated with information via their computers, telephones, and TVs. The Surgeon General advises:

Significant social division, hostility, and mistrust tend to foster the propagation of misinformation. The majority of people’s knowledge about the world comes from individuals and organizations that corroborate their ideas. Some of the disinformation has aimed to mislead and divide people, complicating the work. Each side believes that agreeing with the other side would betray their tribe. Maya Goldenberg asserts that vaccine skepticism indicates a crisis of confidence between the public and institutions.

Increased access to scientific research enables individuals to locate evidence supporting their beliefs. When everyone can become their expert, it is simple to disregard scientific organizations’ claims as erroneous or motivated by hidden agendas. Researchers assert that the “strength of science” comes in continually testing what scientists believe they know. These adjustments and contradictions of conclusions engender perceptions of ineptitude or worse among the general population.

Source: https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/why-do-so-many-americans-distrust-science

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