“Popular science” is an oxymoron. “Educating” the general public has caused more blowback and threats to science and scientists then helped problem-solving- especially in America. America loves magic and of course, magic always sells best. Europeans, South Americans and Asian cultures are a bit more accepting.
How We Really See Scientists
We think of scientists as trustworthy on the whole, but also robotic and emotionless in nature. In addition, some of us — especially social conservatives — view them as prone to ignoring important ethical norms.
So it seems suspicion of scientists is closely related to people’s views about knowledge-seeking in general. While most of us see that as an unabashedly good thing, social conservatives view it as potentially threatening, as it may lead to questioning or disrupting the norms and values that keep society from falling apart.
In other words, many Americans feel there are places where we should not go, and inquiries that are too dangerous to make.
The transgressions the scientists were seen as being more likely to commit generally fit into the “purity” realm. This provides one answer to the question of why conservatives are more likely to distrust scientists: Many see them as treading into forbidden territory.
“Scientists are seen as existing within more of an amoral, as opposed to an immoral, landscape”…They found we don’t view scientists as “evil per se,” but rather as people who are “potentially dangerous” due to their inclination to “pursue knowledge obsessively.”
Americans “tend to view scientists as goal-oriented, emotionless robots.” The results revealed that scientists are perceived as more likely than members of other groups to commit certain, but not all, moral transgressions. Specifically, they were viewed as more likely to engage in serial murder, incest, and necrobestiality, but not more likely to cheat or abuse others.
This is best understood in the context of the Moral Foundations Theory, which asserts ethical norms can be categorized into two broad classifications: “individualizing” ones, which prohibit harming others and encourage fairness for all; and “binding” ones, which are based on notions of purity, loyalty, and deference to authority. Broadly speaking, the first set guides liberals’ moral thinking, while the second resonates with social conservatives.