You find this sort of thing in every discipline: many people don't want to spend a decade of their life studying the subject in universities, so they turn their intelligent minds to it, and read a little and think a little, and quickly become convinced they know better than every trained academic researcher. You see this in economics, climate science, sociology, psychology, and, as here, in physics.
Once a upon a time, when you could be a great intellectual by dint of a sharp mind alone, such people would have wound up in history books; but today, when there are many sharp minds and libraries full of technical literature for every field and sub-field, you can't expect to be in the forefront of anything without decades of serious study and research. I've spoken to so many 'coffee economists' (I always seem to come across them when they're drinking coffee) who wouldn't be able to read the 'empirical methods' (usually, math) section of a well-written, simple paper, but who believe they have valuable insights into the 'advantages' of the gold standard; I'm sure the same happens for anyone engaged in serious academic study.
The media and 'pop intellectuals' contribute to this by boiling everything down to simple, easily accessible articles and books. In and of itself this is great; but when highly intelligent neophytes read them, they often come away thinking they understand as much as an active PhD in the field, and are entirely unaware that they have no inkling of what serious study of the field is like.
A shortcut to nowhere can be quite tempting.