If the premise of this argument had any validity, all religions of the world would have been…
Scott Bergquist

Hm, I think the issue of authority in regards to science does require a bit more explanation. What I was trying to say was that yes, people do tend to believe things that authorities say regardless of the nature of the authority, but that it becomes more problematic in some ways when science is the foundation of the authority.

Firstly, the problem is the measure of proof versus faith that substantiates the authority. Authority based on more proof in the case of science is ultimately more compelling than any religious authority would be, which means it is more dangerous when the scientific consensus is a wrong thing, which does happen.

And when it does, it is therefore harder to question it, because an opponent to a majority consensus of science is very easy to marginalize. Religion has to resort to persecution, and that only creates martyrs, which is horrible, but which also gives those people much more credibility in the long run than if they were simply mocked as idiots or quacks as opponents of science are.

The second part of the problem comes from the cognitive dissonance. Even if the authority of the scientific establishment wasn’t so incredibly strong because it does periodically perform miracles more impressive than any religion ever did, the danger would be that scientists are uniquely biased to want to believe that their institution is more rational and objective than it is.

Assuming that what you say is true, which it very well may be, that people accept truth because of authority and not for truly scientific reasons, the scientists are prone to believe that it is not the case, assuming that people who accept scientific truths are rational people because of it. Even though in reality, the whole thing is just the same old church with its priests and congregation and all of the irrational social aspects to the proceedings.

I suppose that my point in regards to what you are saying is that scientists wrongly tend to assume they are better than religion in this respect, but they are not. One of the consequences of that is that people in general believe that science can do all kinds of truly magical or divine things it cannot in fact do, marginalizing other important disciplines of thought and fields of study.