Only science offers a path to truth, not surveys of expert opinion
I read the Hanlen paper and fully support it’s conclusion that protection of legitimate free speech rights is essential to the promotion of the scientific consensus regarding the origins of COVID and a functioning republic.
Thank you for another cogently argued article. My mind sparks in anticipation every time I see another of your pieces appear in my email inbox.
Unfortunately, "Only science offers a path to truth..." doesn't make it. Personal experiences, grad school compared to industry, and you and a few honest others, have convinced me otherwise.
It’s worth noting, the NYT, WaPo, NPR, DNC and alarmist are not seeking out the mundane, median quote. They filter through all voices to find the one most extreme alarming, or clickable, among “acceptable” quotes.
Can’t lay all blame on journalists. Scientists like to be relevant too. Some seem addicted to being top of heap, where heap’s height is measured in terms of alarm.
At https://theconversation.com/a-deeply-troubling-discovery-earth-may-have-already-passed-the-crucial-1-5-c-warming-limit-222601 I wondered "how your data would have been treated if they had been available to IPCC in 2015."
Musing further, I wonder if any substantial body or agency would be so convinced by the conclusion of that study (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-023-01919-7) that it has decided to act. For example, an insurance company could restructure its business, or a nation could decide to accelerate relocation of military bases away from increased exposure to extreme weather events.
In any future science related discussion I'm now going to ask whether everyone has read the 2022 Hanlon paper.
Serious question, how is a poor soul who is not an expert itself on a certain topic, supposed to make up its mind on any topic, if also what experts say should be taken with a truckload of salt?
Universal consensus = bullying.
How universal is it that one hears "We're right and you're wrong!" these days, huh?
Usually weighted by the degree to which 'they' get publicity (= funding?) for their position while 'I' get labeled as a hack, not worth the attention it takes to examine my argument.
Is Oreskes somehow related to Piltdown Mann?
She would at least begin to make more sense.
Hope she never becomes as vile.
BTW, there is no better reading than Mark Steyn’s opening statement. Always loved his dagger wit.
Yeah, but everyone says this Substack is great...!
Consensus? The world is flat. The sun goes around the world. etc.
Consensus is not science. Science is based on "falsifiable predictions". Einstein had to wait for measurements of solar light bending for proof.
There is a falsifiable prediction unlaying all the Green theory. The IPCC says that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 400 to 800ppm will significantly increase the amount of Earth's IR radiation absorbed. This could be tested in a lab and proven or falsified. No one wants to do this because they are afraid of the results. BTW, NASA data (NASA Technical Memorandum 103957) rather elegantly proves it false.
Another humdinger of an article.
I particularly like the telling point that 33% of the respondents said they had read a study that did not actually exist - shades of the Sokal Hoax https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair
I like how you finish with a profound but obvious truth:
"It is tempting to think that surveys of scientific views to identify a scientific consensus offer a short cut to the truth. The truth is, there is no real short cut. Science is the short cut."
Scientific consensus is maintained by the editors of peer-reviewed journals. It is their function to ensure that a submitted paper meets the criteria of the journal. In this they have absolute control. It presents huge opportunities for corruption, both noble cause corruption and the old-fashioned venal sort. Papers critical of the existing consensus never make it to peer review let alone publication. Furthermore, it means any cross-disciplinary explanation for an observed phenomenon is never going to make it because it won't fit the said criteria. An example is the role of ocean floor volcanoes in mixed layer heating. Too much oceanography for for a geology journal and too much geology for an oceanography journal. As a result the smoking gun of the 4 degree sea surface temperature anomaly observed in June 2023 in the North Atlantic was ignored by all the journals. Besides we all know climate change is the origin of all ocean warming. No journal editor is going to risk being labelled a denier by accepting the possibility of an alternative explanation.
Science is not self-correcting if guardians of "the consensus" impose penalties on dissenting voices. It takes a chest full of character to point out flaws in the conventional wisdom when doing so might cost you your job and wreck your peace of mind with slander, libel, calumny and contempt. There is a saying that "Silence implies consent." Not so. Silence implies fear, fear that speaking up will cost you your career, your livelihood and the good opinion of friends. For these reasons, I regard the influence of those insisting on "scientific consensus" as pernicious. Michael Crichton had it right when he wrote, "Consensus is the tool of politics, not of science."
Now "consensus" has become the last refuge of scoundrels!
“He who pays the piper calls the tune”. It’s as true with scientists as it is with people in other professions. Government funds a lot of the research and they want the results to create a “consensus” shutting down any debate, and justifying the centralization of more power and resources within the government. It’s why when studies or assessments are incorrect, a phenomenon called out in these pages reasonably often, the errors are always in the same direction.