This is nothing new. 100 years ago, in small communities, the doctor or the preacher was the most learned person so the community deferred to them for all sorts of decisions. Often, their advice was wrong and led to all sorts of negative outcomes. Why? Because those doctors and preachers were learned, but they weren't often qualified in the areas they were being asked to advise on.
This has drastically changed in the last decade or two due in large part to changes in the education system ( I.E. a liberal education where many differing fields of study are required to graduate ) as well as the wide spread dissemination of knowledge from internet connectivity.
100 years ago said doctor / preacher may have known HOW to do research on issues not directly related to his / her field, but may not have had access to the physical books with the knowledge to be ABLE to do the research.
Look at Geologists, we have to know at the very least: Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics on top of Geology. Then for some fields you have to add Biology and Animal Psychology, other fields need to know Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, and a deep understanding of Thermodynamics.
Many other scientific fields require at least basic knowledge of the other fields as well, meaning a Biologist could and should be able to have an informed opinion of say something in the Chemistry field, even if they don't have the absolute in depth knowledge as a Chemist does.
Could some random Joe on the street have the same qualities? Of course, there are tons of brilliant self educated people in the world. But the general public doesn't know how, or care to learn how to do proper research, hence why the less informed rely on basic websites that, to put it quite bluntly are crap, and quote them as gospel, even after they have been proven blatantly false.