Opposing ends of the spectrum: Exploring trust in scientific and religious authorities

Michael A. Cacciatore, Nick Browning, Dietram A. Scheufele, Dominique Brossard, Michael A. Xenos, Elizabeth A. Corley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given the ethical questions that surround emerging science, this study is interested in studying public trust in scientific and religious authorities for information about the risks and benefits of science. Using data from a nationally representative survey of American adults, we employ regression analysis to better understand the relationships between several variables—including values, knowledge, and media attention—and trust in religious organizations and scientific institutions. We found that Evangelical Christians are generally more trusting of religious authority figures to tell the truth about the risks and benefits of science and technology, and only slightly less likely than non-Evangelicals to trust scientific authorities for the same information. We also found that many Evangelicals use mediated information and science knowledge differently than non-Evangelicals, with both increased knowledge and attention to scientific media having positive impacts on trust in scientific authorities among the latter, but not the former group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-28
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • media and science
  • public understanding of science
  • science and religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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