The problem the public has with scientists is not that the scientists are smarter than most of the public. It’s annoying, but it’s not THE problem. No, the real problem is that most scientists are nerds. Nerds KNOW they are smarter than you, and really value that, more so than things like social skills. Or speaking simply and slooooowly so non-nerds can process the important things they are told. Like, say, that being a consumer slob or a corporate tool is putting thousands of species on this planet, including us, in danger of extinction.
Scientists don’t bother to flatter the public into thinking they are moral upstanding geniuses who have the best of intentions and God on their side. That’s what politicians — and whatever she is — do. And corporations and other institutions that rely upon gullibility. Scientists issue warnings and freak out when people don’t heed them. They draw connections between our driving and polluting and resource wars, on the one hand, and the devastation those behaviors wreak, then get all pissy when we refuse to change those behaviors. Now the really stupid and/or selfish non-nerds are seizing upon the arrogant tone and the difficulties inherent to the scientific method as expressed in a handful of emails to basically chuck the baby out with the bathwater.
I’m not saying it’s the scientists’ fault for being nerds. It’s the public’s fault for being giant babies.