To what extent does non-acceptance of a belief/concept/idea/theory strongly supported by science lead to a lessening trust in science/scientific process of those who are not accepting the belief/etc? We could say that we are only concerned with making sure that individuals in the general populace understand a concept, and would thus be able to employ core principles from that concept if need be—leading to situations like the Pakistani doctor and the Kentucky farmer using such principles (i.e., cognitive dualism). However, I’m also concerned with how non-acceptance of such scientific information may lead to increasing distrust in science and scientists.
Dan Kahan and his colleagues have shown before that people will accept or reject information based on whether that information is in line with the person’s cultural worldviews—but they do the same if the person speaking is perceived to be affiliated with one or another cultural worldview (and this is supported by developmental research in epistemic trust). Is academia and science perceived to be mostly aligned with egalitarian/communitarianism? If so, does this lead those with hierarchist/individualist views to mistrust science more generally? Or are people more domain specific with trust—only distrusting information from scientists who are individually perceived to be outgroup members?
Distrust in science and scientists could lead to a whole host of problems. Currently, those who distrust medical doctors turning to "holistic" treatments that are less effective (if effective at all, *cough*SteveJobs*cough*). Similarly, individuals may choose not to vaccinate. Now, Dan's cultural cognition premise may say that it doesn't matter what science says on this issue--those whose cultural identities are served by seeking treatments that are sold as "holistic" or "natural" would do so whether they were supported by doctors or not. However, research in conspiracy theories might suggest that the fact that certain treatments are suggested by doctors--who are authorities--make those less inclined to trust authorities (i.e., conspiracy theorists) suspicious of such treatments and more prone to trusting treatments that doctors do not recommend.
So what do you think? To what extent are people evaluating the source of the information and to what extent are they evaluating the information itself?