It certainly under girds a significant body of work and some powerful evidence. But that’s not the sort of situation Crichton’s talking about. Under most conditions, Kuhn argues, that’s precisely how science works, and works quite well. And power only wants more power. He specifically says *any* invocation of consensus is unscientific. To any scientists who have been involved in the IPCC discussions, why has the issue of the probability of different outcomes been avoided? How was agreement developed? The appeal to consensus arises from the fact that humans do not fully understand or agree upon the nature of knowledge or ontology, often making it uncertain what is real, given the vast inconsistencies between individual subjectivities. Good. Examples: Personality traits or behavior of parents, friends, their parents influence a child’s development. Climate Alarm- Where Does It Come From? And it’s always within our heads. Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. By citing a list of people who bucked the consensus and turned out to be right, Crichton seems to suggest that we should ignore the consensuses, and believe all the outliers. I happen to believe asking the smartest people we can find for their consensus view remains a good choice, which is why we do it all the time. (Again, that’s why I spend time reading Steve’s work.). As I read through this, I kept thinking of Thomas Kuhn, so I’m glad his name was brought up. Darn if i know but I do know that most of the so-called science is indeed ‘junk science’. It assumes that people want to preserve the status quo and those who want to change it … All wrong. After all, what are the chances all those people were all wrong? This can be applied to any system including the solar system, planet earth, ecosystems, weather, climate, societies, cultures, economies, cities, organizations and technologies. This is how, for example, we try to figure out which flu strains to vaccinate against. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. It’s as significant as Copernican or Darwinian theory and must not be accepted as true based on the esoteric “knowledge” of a handful of scientists. But I think throwing out the consensus every time one sees an alluring outlier is not a terribly helpful way to understand the state of any science. If one is ignorant of a branch of science, then one can neither be pro or contra that branch of science. Crichton is quaint, and talks too much. medical treatments for some specific conditions, think of a noncontroversial one. What is relevant is reproducible results. http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=265 Crichton says “the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus.” Fundamental to Kuhn’s analysis is the notion of “normal science,” which is the very definition of consensus – the agreed-upon body of knowledge and experimental program as understood by the majority of practitioners in a field. Cheers, Dr. McIntyre. The Greeks consult the Oracle of Delphi. While admitting no specialist expertise in climate, he relegates most of climate as “junk science”. This is the only road to progress in a field. This is a legitimate concern. 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. Any interesting science – and by that I mean a science where active research is underway on unsettled questions – has a mainstream view and outliers. As John’s extract from Crichton elabaorates, scientific consensus is not science, sensu strictu but politics. Some of the examples that would be used in the social conflict theory are authority. Today I would like to take some time to explore the premise of Contingency Theory and how it relates to real-world situations. I often hear people say things like “the vast majority of credible scientists believe global warming….” and I think “so what?” Does AGW theory “explain all the facts with which it can be confronted”? Of course it’s the warming crowd who both rely on threat assessments (climate models) AND prevent the inspectors (Steve et. has equally glaring defects, which I’m in the process of documenting. Lay turned to the article, “When Andrew S Fastow, the 37-year old CFO of Enron Corp. boasts that “our story is one of a kind’ he’s not kidding" it began”. No consensuses are invoked, and I am encouraged to ask tough questions about its implications without anyone impugning my possible links to shadowy Newtonian thinktanks. But we should never say that we have access to fact, when all we have access to is consensus. Ultimately I suspect Crichton is confused and thinks of himself as a scientist and historian of science instead of his truer nature – a marketeer of science. Consensus decision-making. Social exchange theory is a social psychology concept that views human relationships as a kind of results-driven social behavior. So no one’s gonna dispute e=mc2. "Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Society at large is more consensus-oriented. Link. The mainstream view could reasonably be called “the consensus view” and is codified in textbooks and freshman overview courses and much of the day-to-day work of practicing scientists. Functionalists assert that rapid social change is generally nonsensical and threatens the society's peace and stability. It’s a consensus of explanations. It is a particularly effective approach of inquiry and analysis. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. The varieties of philosophical positions that fall, or get thrown, under the heading of a 'consensus theory of truth', can be classified in accord with the diversity of senses attached to the component terms, 'consensus', 'theory', and 'truth'. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. What does CONSENSUS THEORY mean? And unlike Mr. Fleck, I don’t think Crichton’s words stray that far from what Kuhn was saying — or from what science history tells us. The second way would be to share with them what people like them are doing. Thus the IPCC itself may be distorting the lens. Another problem with the climate change issue is that the scientists involved in the IPCC process have not provided probabilities for any of the forecasts of potential future effects of increasing CO2. One clue may be in the IPCC process itself. The consensus remained wedded to the germ theory. Or let’s suppose that for some reason world leaders had taken it into their heads 10 years ago to create an International Panel on Curing Cancer with seemingly unlimited budgets for meetings. They were more than happy to participate; already that year, in its annual rankings, Fortune had hailed Enron as America’s best-managed company, knocking General Electric from the number-one perch. Gregory et al 2019: Does climate feedback really vary in AOGCM historical simulations? Y’all obviously disagree. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigat… Consensus is a condition that is both a necessity to the foundation of any field of science shared by more than one scientist and a contingency that should be revisable when evidence suggests as such. This may be intended to improve the quality of outputs by incorporating the diverse perspectives of a group. The fact (reiterating Mr. Fleck) is that Einstein had the scaffolding built of years of others’ solid work to launch from. Don’t tell people how “everyone” is using your product – consensus – when they’re not. Consensus an a narrow sub-discipline of one area of research (maize genetics, say) and consensus on the broadest cross-cutting quesiton ever encountered in the history of science (AGW) are two different things entirely. But sure enough, I keep reading these statiastics about ‘x’ number of scientists agree that global warming is due to …and blah, blah, blah. These "expert consensuses" are not passive but have actively suppressed, delayed, censored or ignored contrary evidence which has later shown itself to be correct. Alas, Crichton’s fallacious thinking on the nature and role of consensus in science rears its ugly head once again. 654 Berkeley Place North Experiment is our only gateway to fact. This is the immediate surroundings that influence a child’s development. I think there was disagreement. If John Fleck takes consensus to mean the former then I agree with him. I innocently assumed that audit-type or engineering-type replications would be standard in science before being applied to policy, little realizing that attempting to apply such a standard would itself end up becoming a story in itself. One of the curious features of this process is the vast number of meetings at various relatively nice places all over the world, at which the scientists attempt to reach “consensus”. Is there not consensus on E=mc2? But if large amounts of money are involved, then no-one is immune from error and checking and auditing of types of treatments, types of drugs, dosages, surgical success is a requirement of all modern healthcare programs. The examples can be multiplied endlessly. We can perform experiments, and we can talk with people. Westerville, OH 43081, https://www.influencepeople.biz/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/logo.png. Another characteristic of functionalism is that it is wary of fast social change. But sometimes facts change, or new ones emerge which may run counter to the paradigm. (p.227), After months of effort, Karen Denne from Enron’s public relations office landed the big fish: CFO magazine had selected Fastow as one of the year’s best chief financial officers. Teaching junk science by consensus makes sense among geostatistocrats who deny that each distance-weighted average has its own variance. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. However, to accept a view without question, be that Crichton’s or theories of an impending ice age, is to ignore the practice of scientific inquiry (a hard won discipline, at that). Gregory et al 2019: Unsound claims about bias in climate feedback and climate sensitivity estimation. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. This happens in astrophysics with the study of black holes, just as it does in climate change. The first arises naturally ( if it is to exist at all) because many independant lines of thought or study converge to a common point. Authority takes into account the family, patriarchy, race and ethnicity hierarchies of authority. But what do we do in situations where it’s not yet clear what the “true to itself” science is? With respect to science, the assumption behind the [alarmist] consensus is science is the source of authority and that authority increases with the number of scientists [who agree.] Why do some climate scientists feel it necessary to constantly misconstrue or malign other researchers based upon their supposed links to fossil fuel companies rather than deal with evidence in a professional manner? “Teach the controversy!” On climate change, it’s the left hitching its wagon to the consensus while the right embraces the Crichton argument. F = BC' + AC. I think you’re right that a consensus isn’t worth much “in the absence of cold, hard, evidence that has been checked and audited and replicated,” and that’s what’s happening now. First off, Crichton’s statement: “Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.” — this is ridiculous. For consensus theory, social order exists or can exist through producing and maintaining shared values and beliefs. I’m sure that they would deliver all sorts of lurid projections about increasing cancer rates in the year 2100 and recommend vast amounts of new research. For example, is someone angry because they are bad-tempered or because something bad happened? Over time, most of the outliers whose views lie outside that consensus turn out to be wrong, and the consensus holds. The outliers poke away at the inconsistencies. The variable C is present in complemented form. The consensus of scientists said it was infectious, and what was necessary was to find the “pellagra germ.” The US government asked a brilliant young investigator, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, to find the cause. He himself says it this way: “Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.” Agreed. These two quotes are from Kurt Eichenwald’s Conspiracy of Fools, which is a terrific read. The following are illustrative examples. Our understanding of electronics, computers, physics, robots, whatever: It is in our head, and it is stuff we know. We no longer need to question it, test it, prod it- we just say “this is the thing, here’s how it works, end of story.” It’s a black box, and it just magically works, to our perception. Let’s review a few cases. Consensus definition: A consensus is general agreement among a group of people. This may make it easy to write “consensus statements”, but those statements are worthless for rational policy evaluation since we need to be able to weigh likely costs and benefits to make policy decisions. Only time will tell, and I think it’s important that he keep at it. False Consensus Effect Examples: There may be a number of good examples of the false consensus effect. He … I think you’re right that a consensus isn’t worth much “in the absence of cold, hard, evidence that has been checked and audited and replicated,” and that’s what’s happening now. Here are some interesting examples – two from Enron showing how fragile a "consensus" can be, one from a geologist surveyed in one of the surveys supposedly showing a consensus among scientists. These issues have debated under the term “evidence-based medicine”. Exactly. Goldberger concluded that diet was the crucial factor. Consensus is the business of politics. Goldberger demonstrated that he could induce the disease through diet. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. I realize that the analogy doesn’t apply to most science. There are two separate lines of arguments threaded together, I fear: the question about whether the notion of consensus is in itself inherently unscientific (which is the argument Crichton makes, and which is I think patently bogus) and the question of whether the alleged consensus in the case of climate change has been appropriately developed. I suspect that the “science” that “proved” WMD as a “fact” was not in consensus. I’m very conscious in business situations that “consensus” is fragile. But we can never magically know, by divine revelation, the facts of the universe. That’s what’s so bizarre about Crichton’s attempt at explaining how science works, and what’s so frustrating when I see people repeatedly quoting him approvingly whenever mainstream science arrives at a consensus they don’t like. Lay smiled to himself. It gets somewhat far afield from the subject here, but what’s usually missing from discussions of WMDs and Iraq is that what was being produced were threat assessments, not proofs. I’ll tell you: NOTHING. al.) Learn how your comment data is processed. Consensus is different from conformity, or ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. (A certain House Committee played a role in this investigation. Consensus arises when there is uncertainty about something and a show of hands is required to resolve the issue. Dispositional Attribution Example: Attribution Theory in the CLassroom By Michaela Schaller Student and Teacher Relationships Attribution Theory Attribution Theory in Academic Success Attribution theory attempts to explain how people judge others differently based on the meaning we give to each specific behavior. (p. 260)”Lay opened his briefcase and pulled out the latest issue of CFO magazine, glacing at the cover. What much of the evidence in this thread seems to be suggesting is that people don’t like it when politics and science become conflated. The question is what to do in these situations where most of the scientists working in a field believe “A,” while some handful say no, it’s “B.” If it’s black holes, we can all watch with patient amusement while they duke it out. An assignment I have been given asks us to give four examples of differences between consensus and conflict theories "from social life". People were brought into conformity (quibbling all the way) to match the interests of an underlying agenda. The second is negotiated ( like Kyoto )and is likely to be a compromise between competing points of view. I think Steve’s onto something far more useful here than Crichton – a specific critique of the process used in this case to come to our understanding of the majority of expert opinion, rather than the more general (and I would argue useless) critique that Crichton has offered, in which any appeal to consensus is automatically invalid ’cause that’s not how science works. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therap6y…the list of consensus errors goes on and on. You don’t like political interference in science? Whether big or small, conflict is not confined only to a person and the people around her/him. Outliers need to poke away. Beneath it were the words: How Enron financed its amazing transformation from pipelines to piping hot. One is a general agreement among the members of a given group or community. I think it’s a healthy debate as long as those of us on both sides of it are attentive to the work being done by people who come to conclusions we don’t like. These theorists … A conflict can, for example, be between people and the prevailing laws. From the speech “Aliens cause global warming”. On the teaching of evolution, the Christian right is suddenly Crichton’s friend. Around 53% of people agreedto … I suspect agreement was derived by rule of authority. You haven’t convinced me, and I still think the balance of the evidence weighs against you, but I still come back here regularly to read your stuff, because I think you’re raising important questions that need to be sorted out. This is obviously silly. Now REAL politicians are involved in decisions of science because real money, real economies and real people’s lives are at stake. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?”, “¢’¬? And shall we go on? A few years ago a survey was circulated in our department. Consensus reality is that which is generally agreed to be reality, based on a consensus view.. There were questions on climate change…emissions, etc. In fact, I think your Iraq example is a bad one, but even if it’s apt, one can also cite tons of cases where the consensus turns out to be right, so we’re still stuck at square one in terms of having a way to tell the difference. When I talk to scientists about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, I get chapter and verse on its mathematical robustness and its 100% empirical record. Nobody has seen e=mc^2 written as divine revelation, the stars did not move in the sky for some scientist, and read “e=mc^2.” Rather, scientists have performed a bunch of expirements that conform with our understanding: e=mc^2. And the important thing is to keep asking questions of the evidence. I stumbled into what I’m doing now when Mann said that he had forgotten where MBH98 data was and Rutherford said that it didn’t exist in any one place. Then suppose they asked this IPCC to produce recommendations. In this case, the IPCC process, with its emphasis on a political form of process rather than an engineering audit, seems to result in a type of mutual reinforcement and excitement more characteristic of market phenomena and fads, than what I take to be the more usual scientific process where there is no attempt to negotiate and institutionalize a “consensus”. It takes the form of a consensus: trusted and mutual agreement that the thing is true. […] had 4.5 stars, some with more than 100 reviews. John (Fleck), I think that there’s a qualified compliment here and if so I appreciate it. "cat"), communication is clear. Sure. Example-1. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. I know which choice I made. The consensus theory emphasizes that the social order is through the shared norms, and belief systems of people. (Well aimed Exocet for the wrong reasons). In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. Here, we have three variables A, B and C and all are repeated twice. These two theories are very much used in social sciences. Would you like Weekly Updates? Therefore, all foreign groups who’d looked into the situation came to the conclusion that there still such weapons and a grave threat that left alone Saddam would try to get more. They do specific tests and feasibility studies. 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