Education and the loss of trust
Mainstream media has reported a range of instances over the past couple of years of significant sections of highly educated populations losing trust in what have been widely accepted ideas, theories and practices in the modern world. Examples include the reduction in vaccination uptake for children in high income countries and a rising skepticism in politics linked to the rise of “populist” politicians and parties in a range of countries. Perhaps the extreme outcome of ever higher levels of educational engagement and achievement is the paradoxical situation that the more we teach critical thinking the less we accept any knowledge at all. Now a report generated from two years of surveys across 140 countries by the highly respected Gallup and Wellcome Foundation [Gallup (2019) Wellcome Global Monitor – First Wave Findings] collates the attitudes to science and health of over 140,000 people from all walks of life and in particular how people view the input of health and medical professionals to their own attitudes and knowledge. For a quick read there is a summary on pages 6 & 7. But should we believe it?