I recently came across an interesting concept, postulating that intelligent people disbelieve science; this excellent article discusses why in the age of well-educated individuals with easy access to information (both reliable and unreliable), so many well-meaning people still doubt scientific facts and expert consensus.
The conclusion is eye-opening, and is in line with other studies like this one that demonstrates solely using logic and scientific facts on disbelievers will likely be ineffective in changing their minds. Even in the face of outbreaks, antivaxxers appear even more vocal about their stance on conspiracies and general mistrust of leading experts.
Maybe we’re approaching this all wrong. As the National Geographic article hints at, perhaps more effort needs to be focused on studying the human side of how individuals confirm/refute pre-existing beliefs. It is one thing to have scientific facts; it appears the difficult part is helping the general public interpret them in the context of their own belief system.
I just hope we figure it out before the return of smallpox.