459-Attention to relatively rare events that, even though infrequent, undermine the public’s trust of science, such as conflicts of interest, the failure to replicate certain results, or “silly-sounding” grant titles that imply wasteful spending. Acceptance of scientific facts is not based solely on comprehension levels. It can be compromised whenever information confronts people’s personal, religious, or political views, and whenever scientific facts provoke fear or make people feel that they have no control over a situation. The only recourse is to have genuine, respectful dialogues with people. Good venues are community clubs, science museums, science fairs, and religious institutions. Working with small groups is more effective than working with large groups. Fortunately, there is a growing science base to help guide more effective public engagement of this kind.
Leshner, A. I. (2015, January 30). Bridging the opinion gap. Science, 347(6221), 459. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa7477