I've been thinking about something and wanted to hear some opinions from this forum. Basically, I'm under the impression that the general public opinion on scientists took a turn for the worse over the last two decades or so. It's not that I'm terribly concerned about it being a physicist, but I find it interesting to look at the reasons. My main point of comparison is the first half of the 20th century, and specific examples like Einstein. From what I've read, he had "rockstar" popularity, being a public figure that even those completely unrelated to anything scientific would easily recognize and respect. He may be an extreme case, but I'm under the impression that he projected an image of a scientist bringing progress and understanding that extended to those who were not as well known. I just can't see that happening anymore, as brilliant as a scientist may be. I think that the scientist, on average, has lost a lot of ground as a publicly respected figure. A few reasons I can think of: - Increasing public perception that science contradicts their religious beliefs (the whole evolution vs. creationism debate, and no, please don't start a religious discussion here). - Marketing that undermines the scientific establishment ("alternative" medicine, natural remedies and all the quackery surrounding them). - Erroneous ideas on environmental issues (the exaggeration and fear towards anything that even hints at "radioactive"). - Tendency of "new science" to be too hard to understand for the average individual. - Perception of the science/scientist as being arrogant and claiming to be the only truth. Am I going too far? What are your thoughts on this?