Anti-vaxxers are stupid but the answer “trust the scientists” is just as unscientific. “Scientists are a special group of people” is risible to anybody who’s ever been one.
Never mind the problem of who’s uttering that stuff. Why should we believe a paleontologist telling us to believe in what astronomers say, when the paleontologist is just as alien as anybody to the matters of astronomy?
There is no point in arguing that we should believe in the Most Optimal Caste of Science Priests instead of in google searches. Obviously we should believe in neither and be scientific ourselves.
Eg if A is true then B is expected so if B isn’t observed then A is unlikely to be true. In this case A is the anti-vaxxers propaganda and B is children falling into autism in the millions worldwide. This approach doesn’t depend on scientists being Good People. And that’s another characteristic of a scientific approach.
And by the way, MJ’s description of Climategate is just plain wrong. As usual, and forever.
people often make the same mistake but in the other direction, and link every heatwave, major flood, drought and famine to global warming.
Of course, we know that these things happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.
Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda.