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Monday, December 11, 2006

Science or not!

Science has its' own procedures and methods of inquiry which make it a powerful tool for exploring and discovering things about the universe. There are of course many other avenues for acquiring useful knowledge such as following learnt morals and traditions. Understood within its' limits science is quite useful. All to common in this day and age are politicized ideas or junk science sailing under the banner of the real thing. Michael Crichton warns us of such here:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and 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. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

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. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of.

We would all do well to remember this!

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