I have as near to as makes no difference no direct experience with "the doing" of science (a couple of basic college-level science classes), and I've known this for a long, long time. There are some people who just don't get what counts as evidence in science. They are, in general, the most ardent defenders of ATM proposals and conspiracist thinking. They present elaborate and grandiose ideas that aren't backed up, and they get mad when you tell them that their idea doesn't hold water. The problem is always with you, with "the mainstream," with anyone who doesn't see how perfect and right their idea is. Sure, I'm a non-scientist, but that doesn't make the process any less tedious to me. I stopped reading ATM years ago, now, because I realized that the only arguments I was qualified to make got repetitive, and the people I made them to didn't understand them anyway.
Originally Posted by Nereid
I think the problem is that "mainstream" is a country with shifting borders. At its core are things like "what goes up must come down" and "the universe is very old indeed," and as you get farther out, you get into slightly less certain areas. They're still generally agreed upon as How Things Are, but they're more likely to be wrong and more able to be fine-tuned. How old is "very old indeed"? Well, we're working on that. Why do things that go up come down? Here's our best information on the subject. And anything where we're still actively working on it can still change, and "mainstream" today may not be so tomorrow. Couple that with a few lies-to-children explanations for the not terribly scientifically inclined (the Moon goes around the Earth), and you get a perception that "mainstream" is built on sand. It only gets worse if the people who claim that have never dug to bedrock, so to speak, for themselves and don't have much of a scientific education.
"Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"
"You can't erase icing."
"I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"