Why people are losing trust in scientists

Geoff Ward
6 min readJan 14, 2024

Society’s faith in science, as the best way of understanding the world, is being destroyed by scientists themselves who sell their expertise to high bidders and conduct research leading to biased and politicised outcomes.

This is a serious situation because it has led to wilful blindness towards scientific fictions which ignore the facts and cause repercussions, such as the suppression of debate, well beyond the now vexed realms of academia. The only explanations for suppression of debate, ultimately, are political and/or financial.

In my view, it’s the extremely disruptive covid-19 experience, and the consequent break with past norms, that has caused an undermining of trust in scientists and experts.

Science, the pursuit of truth and knowledge, is meant to be questioned, not believed in blindly. It is neither a religion nor a weapon to deploy against those who don’t agree with you, but has become both these things in recent years. The phenomenon is most noticeable in the fields of health and environment, but the danger is that the loss of trust in scientists and experts will spread, or is already spreading, to other fields.

Something is rotten in the state of science.

The ‘funding effect’ in scientific studies is central to all this: whenever scientists appear in the media today, from whatever field, it should be obligatory for their source of funding to be stated before accepting any statements they make — because, doubtless, it has decided the outcome of research. Scientists have a responsibility to declare any conflicts of interest, but do they always do this?

The mainstream scientific community, which supports prevailing political narratives across a variety of issues, is the problem area here. Reputable scientists with ‘alternative’ or ‘dissident’ voices, whose work is often dismissed, ridiculed or censored, are not subject to similar conflicts of interest.

This is because they are less well funded: truth-telling, in the face of governmental, corporate and academic obfuscation and even lying, will cause them financial losses. And they have a sceptical cast of mind towards their own findings. I think they’d rather be wrong about what their results are revealing — the duplicity of their mainstream…

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Geoff Ward

Writer, journalist, book editor, poet, musician and tutor in literature and creative writing (MA and BA Hons degrees in English literature).