I have zero automatic respect for academics in general, and the same holds true for scientists. At best, someone's formal education gives me an indication of what they've studied and thought about at length - not a guarantee that they're right, even about topics within their own field of study. That flag alone is useful, since really, it's a piece of paper that says 'This person has studied topics in field X, as far as we can tell' - but it doesn't convey authority in the sense of 'I have to accept this person's beliefs and views about topics in their field as true.'
The only advantage of that formal marker of education is that it gives me a vague guarantee that the person in question has read a good amount of books and done some study/research in a particular field, or at least faked it well enough to stumble through an examination process. And the value of THAT is that it flags someone who I can ask questions, or who presumably has good arguments about or awareness of a particular field. At that point, I read what they have to say, I examine their arguments and evidence, I ask them some questions if they're available for that. But really, what's going on is the same exact exchange I have with people who have zero academic qualifications - I converse, I read, I attempt to understand, and I decide what to believe in light of that. Their academic accomplishments just give me a tip about who may have some interesting things to say. I'm not duty-bound to accept their word as truth.
That last one seems to confuse a lot of people, particularly 'defenders of science.' People have got it into their heads that the last step - analyzing, understanding, and then (horror of horrors) deciding what to believe - is wrong, and that the proper thing to do is 'analyze, understand, and then agree with the credentialed person/group'. In fact, the first two steps are largely optional, so long as you do the last one right. They're the ones who know everything! You're not an expert! You can't trust your own opinions about these things - what do you know?
I can accept this plea for reliance on authority from God or God's Church. God may reveal truths I and no one else can understand, after all. Not so with science, or... any other field, really. The whole point of those fields was supposed to be the intellectual accessibility of their claims. "But maybe you don't have the time to properly investigate them!" you'll ask. Yep, possible. I can be agnostic at that point. But if I investigate and find the conclusions questionable, or unsupported, or not supported to the degree I think is necessary to accept... that's that. It doesn't matter if the source comes from a scientist. Or, for that matter, for a consensus of scientists.
Everything I just wrote seems to me to be not only plainly rational, but almost common sense. And yet I know from experience that a lot of people completely lose their heads when they hear this kind of talk.