NB: this answer is not relevant now that the intent of the question has been clarified. I'm leaving it here at naught's request, but no more votes please!
I think there are two fairly seperate concepts being conflated in this and some of the other current posts on meta.
One is what level of questions will be welcome on this as a mature site, should it succeed. That is a very good conversation to have, and personally I think that "popular science" level questions should be encouraged, so long as the site is not flooded with them. However, I don't think most of the recent close votes have much to do with that.
The second concept is the one that I raised a concern about here (note: I think that things have got a little better since then), and that it the level of questions that we should be encouraging during private beta. My reasoning for this is thus:
For the site to work in the long run, it needs to attract a community of experts1. This is because even basic questions need experts to answer them, otherwise the site would simply be a group of interested people quoting Wikipedia at one another ;-) While some experts may be willing to give up their time to answer basic questions on site that they don't otherwise visit, many (most?) people working in the field are only going to stick around here if it is useful for them - if they can use it to get answers to things they want to know, and if the other questions and answers are interesting to them.
When the site leaves private beta and is promoted, by us, in expert communities, we have a one-off opportunity. People will, hopefully, come and have a look at the site. They may stick around, and help it to grow, or they may leave and, probably, not come back. So at that early stage, the site needs to be dominated by questions that can interest and retain this expert audience. If the site appears to be dominated by popular science questions when it enters public beta, I think there is a strong chance that the experts that we need (many of whom may not be experienced StackExchange users) arrive, conclude that it's mostly a popular science site, and go away again. If that happens, I think that the odds of us ever reaching critical mass and making it out of beta are substantially reduced.
That is why I've been vocal about trying to limit the number of very simple questions that could be answered by a quick google or a look on Wikipedia.
This post on the StackExchange blog is very relevant: "Your New Site: Asking the First Questions". In particular, the following paragraph (emphasis in original):
It has long been established that no question is too entry-level nor
too basic. Everyone is welcome. But, in these earliest days, we are
DESIGNING a site for experts. To attract experts, you need a site
where people are asking very interesting and challenging questions,
not the basic questions found on every other Q&A site. Remember, the
pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!
> The earliest questions on a site will set the tone and topic of the
site for a long time.
I realise that this perhaps doesn't answer the question here, but I hope that it answers what I think is the intent behind the question.
1 I realise we already have a number of experts, and I am not disparaging them. But the people we have now are not enough in the long term.