Posted by: Jeremy Fox | September 14, 2011

Why trust physical scientists? Social scientists? Ecologists?

Physicist Sean Carroll has a terrific post up on why we do–and should–trust the opinions of expert physicists rather than our own opinions, but not the opinions of expert social scientists. Economics blog Noahpinion offers some smart follow-up remarks.

Go read them, and then ask: Where do ecologists fit on the trustworthiness scale?


  1. I think there is increasingly a problem where the general public does *not* trust physical scientists, climate science being the obvious case in point. This is directly due to the manufacture of confusion (Oreskes and Conway, 2010)* by certain economic and media interests.

    I think we can expect the exact same sorts of games to be played against ecologists in climate change effects studies. And we are, IMO, in even worse position–possibly much worse–than the physical scientists are, wrt to defending their validity.

    *Oreskes and Conway, 2010. Merchants of Doubt. Bloomsbury Press

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