Is there a difference between faith in science, and faith in the institutions of science? I think so.
Volokh thinks so too.
To measure “trust in science” [Gordon] Gauchat relies on data from the General Social Survey (GSS) from 1972 to 2010, in which respondents were asked to rate the degree of “confidence” they have in various social institutions. Yet the GSS specific survey question does upon which Gauchat relies does not actually measure trust in “science.” Rather, the question asks respondents to rate their confidence in “the scientific community.” But “science” and “the scientific community” are not the same thing. The Gauchat study certainly finds something interesting, but it’s not quite what he claims.
Why does this matter? Because one can have tremendous faith in science, as an institution and a process for discovering truth, while simultaneously lacking confidence in “the scientific community” as represented by current scientific leaders, science agencies, university researchers, those who purport to speak for science, etc. ...
In practice, we need to make decisions based on the authority of others; but that is not a matter of accepting science, it is a matter of accepting authority.
Science consists of making precise observations, drawing inferences based on empirical data, testing the truth of theories against concrete results, and discarding those theories that are not supported by data. To believe in the validity of this process is to believe in science; everything else is faith.