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Consensus science

sadolite
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10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."
Idealist
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10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.
slo1
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10/6/2014 6:59:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

Interesting how a medical doctor could lament against consensus science. I get his point, but the medical profession is run by consensus. The recommended path of treatment and diagnosis is largely created based upon consensus rather than repeatable verified results. IE: should women get mammogram at age 40?
sadolite
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10/6/2014 8:56:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.

This is precisely why public policy should never be based on consensus.
chui
Posts: 542
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10/6/2014 10:41:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

So one investigator happens to be right. How do we know that they are right? Their results have to be repeated by other groups who then agree that the original is right. Sounds fine, no need for consensus, its right or wrong. But what if they do not agree that the original result was correct because they argue with the methodology or the theory is unclear or there is evidence of systematic error. It now becomes a judgement as to what is right or wrong. Eventually a better experiment might be performed but in the absence of better evidence some parts of science are not clear.

E=mc^2 was a hugely controversial suggestion when it was first made by Einstein. It hardly causes a murmur now but if you read back to 1905 there were some vicious attacks made against it. It took further evidence to convince the majority of scientists to accept it. The same is true of many other theories in science. Boltzmann was hounded to commit suicide by those who would not accept the idea of atoms. Alfred Wegener suggested continental drift theory in 1912. In 1925 the American Association of Petroleum Geologists organised a symposium specifically in opposition to this theory. All these theories are fully accepted now but not until some decades after they were proposed.

Even a simple fact like the distance to the sun is still a consensus opinion. There has to be a consensus on what is meant by the distance to the sun since it is not a fixed value. There has to be a consensus on what is an appropriate technique to perform the measurement since you cannot just use a tape measure or bounce a laser of the surface. Finally there has to be consensus on the uncertainty of the measurement, because measurement is uncertain. 93 million miles is just an approximate value. The distance to the sun is still under review but the 2009 estimate gives it as 149 597 870 700"3 metres. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away, but that is what is implied when the value is used. We could then exam what is meant by 1 metre......

I would argue that science has always been governed by consensus, whether we like it or not. We can wish that it is about the search for truth but since we have no magic book to check the answers with we only have consensus to tell us when we hit on the truth.
Let's hope "the truth is out there" cos there is bugger all round here.
Fly
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10/6/2014 4:14:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/6/2014 8:56:24 AM, sadolite wrote:
At 10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.

This is precisely why public policy should never be based on consensus.

Umm... in a democratic system, ALL public policy is based upon consensus. The late Dr. even says as much. The exception being: unless it is a policy that is ruled as going against a nation's constitution. Dictatorships are not based upon consensus however. Is that what you are proposing?

I should mention that I disagree with the late Dr. Crichton. As there is no real context or detailed argument posed in the excerpt, there's not much more I need to say as far as the premise of the thread goes.

I can see the underlying, unstated motive, however: this is really just about climate science and nothing else. Am I right?
"If you say you pray to God, that makes you normal. But if you say you pray to God through your hair dryer, you are clearly a lunatic. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive."
-Sam Harris
Idealist
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10/6/2014 9:17:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/6/2014 8:56:24 AM, sadolite wrote:
At 10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.

This is precisely why public policy should never be based on consensus.

"Should" being the key word. Sometimes the best choice is the one that's least bad, no matter how imperfect it happens to be.
sadolite
Posts: 9,115
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10/7/2014 8:54:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/6/2014 4:14:39 PM, Fly wrote:
At 10/6/2014 8:56:24 AM, sadolite wrote:
At 10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.

This is precisely why public policy should never be based on consensus.

Umm... in a democratic system, ALL public policy is based upon consensus. The late Dr. even says as much. The exception being: unless it is a policy that is ruled as going against a nation's constitution. Dictatorships are not based upon consensus however. Is that what you are proposing?

I should mention that I disagree with the late Dr. Crichton. As there is no real context or detailed argument posed in the excerpt, there's not much more I need to say as far as the premise of the thread goes.

I can see the underlying, unstated motive, however: this is really just about climate science and nothing else. Am I right?

All of science, Science has let itself become reliant on ridiculous studies that have little or no scientific value and call it a consensus. Climate change, food you name it. And then to top it off it (Science engages in politics)
v3nesl
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10/7/2014 10:33:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/6/2014 6:59:15 AM, slo1 wrote:
...

Interesting how a medical doctor could lament against consensus science. I get his point, but the medical profession is run by consensus. The recommended path of treatment and diagnosis is largely created based upon consensus rather than repeatable verified results. IE: should women get mammogram at age 40?

I think this is a subtly different thing: Medicine by statistics, and is another interesting discussion. I'd say medicine by direct measurement is better, but statistics can provide guidance when our understanding is limited. It's like, you're 99% less likely to get in an accident driving on the correct side of the road, but watching for something in front of you is even better.
This space for rent.
Ramshutu
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10/7/2014 10:42:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/7/2014 8:54:00 AM, sadolite wrote:
At 10/6/2014 4:14:39 PM, Fly wrote:
At 10/6/2014 8:56:24 AM, sadolite wrote:
At 10/5/2014 7:04:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

"I want to "talk about " the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. "

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it"s consensus, it isn"t science. If it"s science, it isn"t consensus. " ." " Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc". Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way."

I agree with the late Dr. Michael Crichton. The goal of science is get as close to certainty as possible. With that said, there are times when consensus is about as good as we can get based on available data, technology, etc. I do believe that at such times the limitations should be acknowledged.

This is precisely why public policy should never be based on consensus.

Umm... in a democratic system, ALL public policy is based upon consensus. The late Dr. even says as much. The exception being: unless it is a policy that is ruled as going against a nation's constitution. Dictatorships are not based upon consensus however. Is that what you are proposing?

I should mention that I disagree with the late Dr. Crichton. As there is no real context or detailed argument posed in the excerpt, there's not much more I need to say as far as the premise of the thread goes.

I can see the underlying, unstated motive, however: this is really just about climate science and nothing else. Am I right?

All of science, Science has let itself become reliant on ridiculous studies that have little or no scientific value and call it a consensus. Climate change, food you name it. And then to top it off it (Science engages in politics)

I've only seen "Scientific Consensus" invoked in political situations where one side has very little science to corroberate their point of view, yet argue politically, not scientifically, about how the science is wrong.

Evolution, Climate Change, Anti-Vaccination, and a few others are primarily where this occurs. There is very, very, very little science that disagrees with any of those; but they are all highly politicized; and the scientific consensus is normally invoked to explain just that: that there is very, very little science, research and evidence that disagrees with it.
slo1
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10/7/2014 2:32:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/7/2014 10:33:54 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/6/2014 6:59:15 AM, slo1 wrote:
...

Interesting how a medical doctor could lament against consensus science. I get his point, but the medical profession is run by consensus. The recommended path of treatment and diagnosis is largely created based upon consensus rather than repeatable verified results. IE: should women get mammogram at age 40?

I think this is a subtly different thing: Medicine by statistics, and is another interesting discussion. I'd say medicine by direct measurement is better, but statistics can provide guidance when our understanding is limited. It's like, you're 99% less likely to get in an accident driving on the correct side of the road, but watching for something in front of you is even better.

There is definitely some differences. Another is cost constraints needed to actually test individual's to validate diagnosis and that treatments will be effective. That however is how consensus science works. If one can not know for what ever reason the best guess for a lack of a better term is what gets used.

As an example, the consensus is that aspirin is a good daily treatment for people with heart attack risk. There are individual risks that may not make that true for many, including a genetic variance that does not allow the blood thinning action aspirin performs, or a higher risk for ulcers and other complications.

This isn't terribly different than global warming. We of course don't have the breath of data to confirm global warming and it will take time to identify individual factors to global warming other than CO2, but the evidence thus far is strong enough that there is consensus that CO2 is contributing to global warming.

Both instances require more knowledge. In the case of aspirin as a treatment the missing knowledge is how the individual reacts to the treatment. In global warming it is how much other variables contribute to global warming. It may be right for both to exist as consensus policies because of the constraints: aspirin - costs of evaluating effectiveness as a treatment for each individual, global warming - timing does not allow avoidance as an option if it is indeed a true.

Therefore consensus has a real and valid purpose in science. Note that is not to say that consensus is always right.
v3nesl
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10/7/2014 3:20:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/7/2014 2:32:27 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 10/7/2014 10:33:54 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/6/2014 6:59:15 AM, slo1 wrote:
...

Interesting how a medical doctor could lament against consensus science. I get his point, but the medical profession is run by consensus. The recommended path of treatment and diagnosis is largely created based upon consensus rather than repeatable verified results. IE: should women get mammogram at age 40?

I think this is a subtly different thing: Medicine by statistics, and is another interesting discussion. I'd say medicine by direct measurement is better, but statistics can provide guidance when our understanding is limited. It's like, you're 99% less likely to get in an accident driving on the correct side of the road, but watching for something in front of you is even better.

There is definitely some differences. Another is cost constraints needed to actually test individual's to validate diagnosis and that treatments will be effective. That however is how consensus science works. If one can not know for what ever reason the best guess for a lack of a better term is what gets used.

As an example, the consensus is that aspirin is a good daily treatment for people with heart attack risk. There are individual risks that may not make that true for many, including a genetic variance that does not allow the blood thinning action aspirin performs, or a higher risk for ulcers and other complications.


I think you're conflating two different things - statistical analysis and consensus. Two totally different things.

This isn't terribly different than global warming. We of course don't have the breath of data to confirm global warming ...

Right, so you can't do statistics, it's a one-off kind of thing. So this is yet a third category here, known as "educated guess". Perfectly valid as long as you're clear that this is what you're doing.


Therefore consensus has a real and valid purpose in science. Note that is not to say that consensus is always right.

So this is interesting, real interesting, that some of you actually think this. I'm pretty sure you would have gotten very different responses just a generation ago. This kind of feels like a symptom of failing science education, in my opinion. I mean, substitute 'math' for science - would anyone say "consensus has a real and valid purpose in arithmetic"- ? Well, who knows, maybe people would, but I'm thinking people are still clear on the idea that math is objective, not subjective. It used to be that science was all about objective reality as well.
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slo1
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10/7/2014 5:11:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/7/2014 3:20:32 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/7/2014 2:32:27 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 10/7/2014 10:33:54 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/6/2014 6:59:15 AM, slo1 wrote:
...

Interesting how a medical doctor could lament against consensus science. I get his point, but the medical profession is run by consensus. The recommended path of treatment and diagnosis is largely created based upon consensus rather than repeatable verified results. IE: should women get mammogram at age 40?

I think this is a subtly different thing: Medicine by statistics, and is another interesting discussion. I'd say medicine by direct measurement is better, but statistics can provide guidance when our understanding is limited. It's like, you're 99% less likely to get in an accident driving on the correct side of the road, but watching for something in front of you is even better.

There is definitely some differences. Another is cost constraints needed to actually test individual's to validate diagnosis and that treatments will be effective. That however is how consensus science works. If one can not know for what ever reason the best guess for a lack of a better term is what gets used.

As an example, the consensus is that aspirin is a good daily treatment for people with heart attack risk. There are individual risks that may not make that true for many, including a genetic variance that does not allow the blood thinning action aspirin performs, or a higher risk for ulcers and other complications.


I think you're conflating two different things - statistical analysis and consensus. Two totally different things.

Of course they are are different. statistical analysis is used to analyze large data sets and to identify and/or confirm relationships. Consensus is when there is not enough information to make a scientific claim of fact, but the majority believe in a theory. Many diagnosis points in medicine are not proven to be effective, yet have a consensus agreement. Another example of that is psa monitoring for prostate problems in men. There is evidence that it causes too many false positives and cause all types of unnecessary procedures.

You can spin it all you want about stats, but the simple fact is that medical science does not know everything it needs to know about prostate cancer to give us guidelines which are based on scientific fact. The current recommendation from the AMA is consensus policy.

This isn't terribly different than global warming. We of course don't have the breath of data to confirm global warming ...

Right, so you can't do statistics, it's a one-off kind of thing. So this is yet a third category here, known as "educated guess". Perfectly valid as long as you're clear that this is what you're doing.

Are you kidding me? There are all types of stats in global warming science, including stats which validate the reliability and validity of the data that is collected. Again just like the AMA recommendation of psa monitoring and when to take action if it is high is just an "educated guess" too.


Therefore consensus has a real and valid purpose in science. Note that is not to say that consensus is always right.

So this is interesting, real interesting, that some of you actually think this. I'm pretty sure you would have gotten very different responses just a generation ago. This kind of feels like a symptom of failing science education, in my opinion. I mean, substitute 'math' for science - would anyone say "consensus has a real and valid purpose in arithmetic"- ? Well, who knows, maybe people would, but I'm thinking people are still clear on the idea that math is objective, not subjective. It used to be that science was all about objective reality as well.

Your comparison to mathematics is absurd. Comparing something with plenty of logical proofs to science topics which are in the investigation/development state is comparing apples to apples.

Well if you are denying the role of consensus, you should throw out much of medicine, especially the recommended standards put forth by the AMA. That means no more psa monitoring, aspirin regimes, etc because you have not objectively proven they are beneficial for you.

There is a role for consensus in science, in fact it has never not existed in the realm of science. The problem is when the consensus is unwilling to consider new information or alternative hypothesis.
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
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10/7/2014 9:32:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think to understand the true meaning of consensus in science, first you need to realize that there is no conspiracy by scientists. This is the type of stuff people like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones believe. Consensus is just the generally held opinion supported by the data, this view can change with new data.

For example even the most adamant climate change "deniers" believe the earth is warming. Although some initially denied this, they changed their opinion based on the evidence. They just do not believe that man made anthropogenic warming is behind it. This means the consensus is that the Earth is warming among all climate change scientists and "deniers".

I used "deniers" as I think its a dumb name as they are not denying climate change they are denying the reasons that the majority hold.

If you want some good intro to understanding consensus read what slo1 has written in this forum.
v3nesl
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10/8/2014 7:10:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/7/2014 5:11:03 PM, slo1 wrote:
...

... the simple fact is that medical science does not know everything it needs to know about prostate cancer to give us guidelines which are based on scientific fact. The current recommendation from the AMA is consensus policy.

Right, so you're agreeing with Crichton - consensus is an alternative to science.


This isn't terribly different than global warming. We of course don't have the breath of data to confirm global warming ...

Right, so you can't do statistics, it's a one-off kind of thing. So this is yet a third category here, known as "educated guess". Perfectly valid as long as you're clear that this is what you're doing.

Are you kidding me? There are all types of stats in global warming science,

Yeah, figures this would parallel evo, where quantity of data is mistaken for science. The point is, you can't do statistics on the outcomes on our planet, the way you can do stats in a drug trial. We only have one earth.


Well if you are denying the role of consensus, you should throw out much of medicine, especially the recommended standards put forth by the AMA. That means no more psa monitoring, aspirin regimes, etc because you have not objectively proven they are beneficial for you.


No, not at all. It just means I recognize the recommendations for what they are. I've lived long enough to see medicine do numerous 180s on things like this, so I'm not afraid to mix my common sense with the recommendations.

There is a role for consensus in science, in fact it has never not existed in the realm of science. The problem is when the consensus is unwilling to consider new information or alternative hypothesis.

Well, consensus exists in the science community because we are humans and we crave the confirmation of other humans. Jealousy and greed and altruism also exist in the science community because we are humans. But none of them ARE science, is Crichton's point, I think.
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v3nesl
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10/8/2014 7:17:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/5/2014 4:27:04 PM, sadolite wrote:
...

"Let"s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results " .


Just thought it should be bumped, it's so good.

And I think this is not taught any more, I think we have evidence of it right here. We are in the twilight of the golden age of science. We're in the age of technology now.
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Stupidape
Posts: 312
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2/21/2017 4:42:41 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
Do you understand what it takes to form a scientific consensus?

First, a consilience of evidence. That is multiple lines of evidence that converge upon the same conclusion. An example would be ocean acidification, nights warming faster than days, winters warming faster than summer, glaciers melting, cooling upper atmosphere for global climate change.

Second, social calibration, which means a standard protocol for each person to adhere to for what qualifies as evidence and what does not.

Third, social diversity to avoid group think. When you think about it, the ultimate lack of diversity is one scientist. When, multiple scientists from different backgrounds arrive at the same conclusion, this helps to mitigate bias.

In my opinion consensus science is much more accurate than non-consensus science.
keithprosser
Posts: 3,337
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2/21/2017 8:29:10 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
As I understandard it, the concept of 'consensus science' has its roots in climate change denial. Denialists point out that 'truth is not decided by consensus' - they have little choice as well over 90% of qualified scientists accept the reality of AGW.

The deniaists objective is to undermine the credibility of AGW by painting a picture of climate scientists as motivated by 'group think' rather than evidence. It is a shrewd idea, because it gives an immediate come-back for statements like '90% of scientists believe in AGW'. But - say the deniers - that isn't how science is supposed to work. Science works by evidence not consensus. That gives the deniers the 'moral high ground' - at least as far as their foot-soldiers are concerned.

I won't detail why 90% of scientists accept AGW is not because of 'consensus science' (there is no such thing), but the 'consensus science' meme is one more obstacle the denialists have put in the way of getting ordinary people to understand what is going on.
Taust
Posts: 130
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2/23/2017 12:18:44 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
It's funny how those who disagree with the consensus will immediately dismiss it without realizing that the reason so many scientists agree with the consensus is because of all the evidence.
The reason consensus is commonly invoked in issues such as climate change is because they already have been decided and all the scientific data points to their truth. The only reason people are still debating the science is because it doesn't fit with their political agenda. This is also part of the reason I dislike the two-party system; it causes people to just agree with anything their party says, and the polarization gets so bad that you end up with people denying science.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" -Einstein
medv4380
Posts: 210
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2/23/2017 4:06:52 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 2/23/2017 12:18:44 AM, Taust wrote:
It's funny how those who disagree with the consensus will immediately dismiss it without realizing that the reason so many scientists agree with the consensus is because of all the evidence.
The reason consensus is commonly invoked in issues such as climate change is because they already have been decided and all the scientific data points to their truth. The only reason people are still debating the science is because it doesn't fit with their political agenda. This is also part of the reason I dislike the two-party system; it causes people to just agree with anything their party says, and the polarization gets so bad that you end up with people denying science.

Funny, the same argument would have been given by Astrophysics and Theoretical Physis in their mocking of Ray Davis experiment counting Solar Neutrinos. Funny how 50 years later he gets the Nobel Prize for his work, and they get a nasty black mark for holding physics back for 50 years.
keithprosser
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2/24/2017 5:36:34 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/23/2017 4:06:52 AM, medv4380 wrote:
Funny, the same argument would have been given by Astrophysics and Theoretical Physis in their mocking of Ray Davis experiment counting Solar Neutrinos. Funny how 50 years later he gets the Nobel Prize for his work, and they get a nasty black mark for holding physics back for 50 years.

Davis wasn't mocked. If anything it was John Bahcall - the man who made the calculation that the Davis experiment 'falsified' - that was mocked. Bahcall said in 2006:

"For three decades people had been pointing at this guy and saying this is the guy who wrongly calculated the flux of neutrinos from the sun, and suddenly that wasn't so. It was like a person who had been sentenced for some heinous crime, and then a DNA test is made and it's found that he isn't guilty. That's exactly the way I felt."
http://www.pbs.org...

No one - Davis, Bahcall nor anyone else - had foreseen the solution that solar neutrinos came in 3 'flavours' only one of which was detectable by Davis' equipment.

Any parallel with climate change denial seems very approximate to me! The fact is that the rare mavericks who get someting right are vastely outnumbered by the ones that get it wrong.
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,656
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2/24/2017 6:55:16 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
Lets be clear about what this argument is.

The "Consensus science" argument is only used by people who have an objection to the science where that objection isn't scientific.

It's invoked when there is no valid scientific argument to present to contradict something, you have no knowledge, data, or argument that would hold up any scrutiny, yet you want to argue against the thing you don't want to believe anyway.

In almost all cases, the hand wringing people can very well sit there smugly proclaim that "well, the consensus has been wrong before" forget one thing.

The only group of people who have been wrong more often and more consistently over the course of human history than the consensus are the people who operate outside the scientific consensus over long periods of time.

Even worse, in a lot of cases this argument is used against concepts and idea's that all the evidence points to being correct, but could still be wrong in some way; in order to support positions that we KNOW for absolute certain are wrong.

It seems that the distance to the sun is argued to be "just fact" rather than consensus. But here comes the rub.

We know the distance to the sun, it's pretty unambiguous (though could be off). The reason we don't talk about the scientific consensus with the distance to the sun is that there isn't an ideological movement that is intellectually opposed to the sun being 90m miles away that lobby the government politically to take that measurement out of school books, for completely unscientific, non empirical reasons.

If there was, lets say if the republican party was against the teaching of "Distant Sun theory" in schools, and were lobbying political action to spend money, and potentially damage the future of the world because they assume that the sun is only 1000 miles away; you bet your a** there'd be discussion about the scientific consensus, and those people would be making this exact same argument.

Finally, and more specifically. The consensus is there for all generally settled science. That science may very well be wrong to some degree, and is only discovered to be such when a better explanation comes along that better explains reality, and accounts for more evidence; and in almost all cases doesn't discard the original but instead modifies or caveats it in some way.

This "consensus" argument, is not saying that you have that better explanation, not something that better fits all the facts. It's just a facile argument that states, that because the consensus could be wrong to some degree (even though that degree could be minimal), that the conclusion in this case is invalid and should be ignored.

That is just idiotic.
medv4380
Posts: 210
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2/24/2017 10:32:46 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/24/2017 5:36:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Davis wasn't mocked.

Perhaps you should watch The Ghost Particle Nova Episode the article you linked to is based on.

RAY DAVIS (1976): We have lived with it a long time and thought of all possible tests, and we feel that our result is valid. And we realize it's, as John Bahcall calls it, "a socially unacceptable result."
http://www.pbs.org...

They were both thoroughly mocked.
medv4380
Posts: 210
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2/24/2017 10:46:15 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/24/2017 6:55:16 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
The "Consensus science" argument is only used by people who have an objection to the science where that objection isn't scientific.

No, the argument is used to dismiss any opposition regardless of its validity. It's used to say, "I don't need an argument I have a mob on my side."

For example. I'm told the increased temperature from Global Warming is increasing Evaporation. I can cite Dr. Mann, and other on this claim. I then go to NOAA's dataset holding all the weather station data available and generate the monthly change in Evaporation. The results are clear that there is no increase in Evaporation from 1950 to 2005. Which is bad since for the Global Warming claim to be valid it needs to be closer to 1970. Even worse because after 2005 there is an increase, but it correlates to something far outside the Global Warming argument.

So rather than engage the data, or the argument Advocates for Global Warming turn to the "Consensus" argument rather than engage. That's the nice one ones. The crazy ones default to the Bad Astronomers argument and start equivocating me with holocaust deniers.

What do you do in site of that argument?
keithprosser
Posts: 3,337
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2/25/2017 1:00:56 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/24/2017 10:32:46 PM, medv4380 wrote:
At 2/24/2017 5:36:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Davis wasn't mocked.

Perhaps you should watch The Ghost Particle Nova Episode the article you linked to is based on.

RAY DAVIS (1976): We have lived with it a long time and thought of all possible tests, and we feel that our result is valid. And we realize it's, as John Bahcall calls it, "a socially unacceptable result."
http://www.pbs.org...

They were both thoroughly mocked.

Of course I watched the show! But how good is the parallel? The solar neutrino problem was confused because of the '3 flavours' issue so its not clear who was right and who was wrong.

But I will happily concede there are plenty of examples of 'received wisdom' being overturned - Darwininism, quantum physics, Einsteinian relativity all had to overcome opposition from conservative scientists.

I don't think anybody on DDO is doing original climate reseatch. Not one of us has set up a themometer in their back yard and drawn up a graph of the results for the last decade so we are all relying on second or third hand reports. There is raw data available, but no-one bothers with that(*)! We cannot judge for ourselves to what extent the consensus is justifed by the data, but it verges on paranoia to conclude that therefore the consensus is unjustified and the mavericks are all unacknowledged geniuses. It is more frequent that 'mavericks' are just kooks.

Sometimes in a horse race the outsider does win. Betting on climate change denial is - IMO - betting on the outsider in a very high-stakes game.

(*)e.g. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov...
Stupidape
Posts: 312
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3/2/2017 4:53:30 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/24/2017 10:46:15 PM, medv4380 wrote:
At 2/24/2017 6:55:16 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
The "Consensus science" argument is only used by people who have an objection to the science where that objection isn't scientific.

No, the argument is used to dismiss any opposition regardless of its validity. It's used to say, "I don't need an argument I have a mob on my side."

For example. I'm told the increased temperature from Global Warming is increasing Evaporation. I can cite Dr. Mann, and other on this claim. I then go to NOAA's dataset holding all the weather station data available and generate the monthly change in Evaporation. The results are clear that there is no increase in Evaporation from 1950 to 2005. Which is bad since for the Global Warming claim to be valid it needs to be closer to 1970. Even worse because after 2005 there is an increase, but it correlates to something far outside the Global Warming argument.

So rather than engage the data, or the argument Advocates for Global Warming turn to the "Consensus" argument rather than engage. That's the nice one ones. The crazy ones default to the Bad Astronomers argument and start equivocating me with holocaust deniers.

What do you do in site of that argument?

Playing with raw data is an easy way to make mistakes. There is a reason peer reviewed journals are used. Read the below.

"How NOT to calculate the Surface Temperature

So, we have records from a whole bunch of meteorological stations from all around the world. They have measurements of daily maximum and minimum temperatures for various parts of the last century and beyond. And we want to know how much the world has warmed or not.

Sounds simple enough. Each day we add up all these station"s daily average temperatures together, divide by the number of stations and, voil", we have the average temperature for the world that day. Then do that for the next day and the next and". Now we know the world"s average temperature, each day, for all that measurement period. Then compare the first and last days and we know how much warming has happened " how big the "Temperature Anomaly" is - between the two days. We are calculating the "Anomaly of the Averages". Sounds fairly simple doesn"t it? What could go wrong?

Absolutely everything."


https://skepticalscience.com...