Consensus in the world of science

Richard Dawkins considers the concept of God a scientific question rather than a philosophical matter. Dawkins also seems to think that the theory of Evolution disproves this “god hypothesis”. I don’t accept these premises, but I’m going to play along. 95% of all scientists believe in evolution. (A lot of them believe in God as well, but let’s ignore that right now.) Therefore, people may claim that it’s obvious that God has been largely disproved, based on Dawkins’ reasoning. “Scientific consensus opposes the God hypothesis.”

On that note, I found a quote by Michael Chricton very interesting. Like Atheists like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, Michael Chricton is mostly known for his sci-fi novels. Unfortunately, he died not so long ago. But this quote remains:

“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.”

If Richard Dawkins truly believed in science, he wouldn’t be so hostile towards alternative ways of thinking. He would be positively intrigued.


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