Why We Should Never Question The Consensus Of Experts

I get messages posted here all the time by people calling me ignorant – for questioning a list of authorities who are happy to receive large quantities of global warming research money. What kind of evil person would question authority? After all, 97% of National Socialist German Workers Party Experts agreed that Jews were destroying Germany during the 1930s.

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31 Responses to Why We Should Never Question The Consensus Of Experts

  1. tckev says:

    Expert opinion insisted lobotomy was a good, scientifically based, treatment for a wide range of psychological problems for at least 20 years. There was a large consensus of practitioners that believed it worked.
    Indeed the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy (lobotomy) in certain psychoses”.
    Thankfully it has been totally abandoned as results prove it ineffectual at best, often very damaging, and sometimes fatal.

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      So maybe that’s what made me a “denier.”

      (Sorry long day, humor machine running on empty right now)

  2. Eric Simpson says:

    The “experts,” like Berkeley grad Michael Mann & Peter Gleick, are, it turns out, typically leftists or activists. A lot of good comments (sort by Best Rated [skeptics winning bigtime!]) at this dailymail article, including:

    – Chrome from San Francisco [said] “It is funny how every story supposedly challenging climate change has an ‘expert’ who isn’t a climatologist. In this case it’s a guy with no quoted credentials from a geography department. Why anyone would think an unknown geographer is credible on climate change I have no idea.”
    Yes but you see until recently there wasn’t a science called “climatology”, there were meteorologists, physicists, geographers etc. Then along come a load of activists calling themselves climatologists and bingo – no one else has a right to comment. Argumentum ad verecundiam at its finest.

  3. kirkmyers says:

    These co-called “consensus scientists” will never admit they were wrong about a theory they’ve promoted their entire career. Their reputation and prestige, now at all-time low, won’t allow it. Their ego absolutely won’t allow it. In addition, there are billions of dollars in research grants at stake. If the AGW hypothesis collapses, the alarmists will have to invent another scare. When you’ve had your hand in the taxpayers’ pockets your entire career, the prospects of working for a living can be scary.

    • Andy OZ says:

      Since AGW is close to mythbusted, I wager the next scare campaign will be “accelerated Continental Drift”, with the threat of California ripping off into the sea and New York sub ducting under the Atlantic plate, and proven by increases in earthquake frequency and strength, Tidal Wave height increase, likely all triggered by the moon getting closer.

      Hollywood has made movies to get this into the global consciousness, so next step is to get a bunch of Driftologists to present “peer reviewed” papers on moonthreat and chart the rate of acceleration in drift over the past 200 years, with some adjustment using a hockey stick, and away we go. And the only solution is nuclear weapons detonated along the fault lines. Now if only I can supply the uranium……..

  4. Rosco says:

    What is interesting is that the “consensus” has more often than not been completely wrong and the same defence tactics have always applied – villify the sceptic in the modern day equivalent of witch hunts.

    Semmelweiss persecuted because he wanted people to wash their hands – great consensus on that one.

    In more modern times the British medical authorities pilliored Banting for claiming insulin could treat diabetes.

    History is littered with examples where group think has been shown to act like a religion – climate scientists seem a little more stupid though.

  5. “Authority” is too flattering a word. “Experts” are what we are dealing with. Now, we can’t live without experts, but rational people have to appreciate that experts are frequently wrong. I’ve received expert medical advice that was not just of poor quality but bogus. (And these involved serious matters involving unnecessary surgical procedures.) I’ve had expert financial advisers tell me to invest in shares before the share market tanked. (I invested in property instead and that has been doing very well, thank you very much.) And so on it goes. So what is one to do? Firstly, consult multiple experts, not just those who may have a particular vested interest or point of view. Secondly, question experts on how they came to their conclusions and what their reasoning processes were. Here is a tip: the more offended or insulted an expert feels when you ask him to justify his conclusion, the more likely you are dealing with an incompetent.

  6. Don Gaddes says:

    Galileo spent two years in ‘heretic prison’ for daring to postulate that the Earth was not the Centre of the Universe. Then he dropped a couple of cannon balls off the leaning tower of Pisa, showing anyone standing underneath that there was Mass.
    The good scientists at CERN now tell us that many millions of particle accelerated dollars later -there is Mass. The proof being a ‘particle’ they haven’t explained, captured, identified or proven.
    Why was the Press Release (complete with tame reporter) brought on so prematurely?
    Why did the Director of the facility refuse to endorse the ‘findings’?
    Nothing to do with a cash-strapped Europe and CERN needing a Big Result to justify new funding, surely not! (although, where have we seen it before?) these guys learn fast!

    • Galileo got called up by the authorities because he was mocking the Church.

      If I was the director of CERN I would be endorsing findings rather carefully too. If a serious error is found, the conclusions get thrown out.

  7. Andy DC says:

    There was a consensus of high officials at Penn State that the rape of children should be tolerated and the victims thrown under the bus. Did that make it right? Does tolerating or even encouraging the rape of science at Penn State and elsewhere make that right?

  8. Ivan says:

    After all, 97% of National Socialist German Workers Party Experts agreed that Jews were destroying Germany during the 1930s.

    …and supported by the MSM of the day as well, I might add, which largely pushed this junk without comment:
    STRESS IN GERMANY.
    HOPELESS FINANCIAL OUTLOOK.
    Policy of the Hitler Party.
    …Particularly does his party hate the Jews, whom they believe control all international finance. The party hates France, but are most friendly towards England.”
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/32656541
    ~24 Feb 1932

  9. scizzorbill says:

    Consensus has always been about a half a step above worthless. As Einstein said “consensus is destroyed by one fact”. The Sheeple are susceptible to consensus as they want to be told everything. Ignorance is bliss.

    Today’s ‘expert consensus’ is available for a price.

  10. Lorne50 says:

    Steve sorry bring the Jews into it ? I know they piss us all off(mann and them and the fools who follow )But that post make’s us all look bad!!!!

  11. Don Gaddes says:

    Sounds like a ‘Catholic’ defense Will!
    We are also now informed that the NASA ‘discovery’ of micro-organisms living happily on the bottom of an arsenic polluted lake, therefore allowing us to live in the poisonous atmosphere of other planets, (please give us the necessary trillions and we’ll get you there,) was untrue!
    Go back and try again. The gullible have continued to fund us for another five years, by which time we will have come up with an even more incredible set of ‘facts’!

    • I’m not defending anyone. I’m just describing the situation accurately. The Church was upset with Galileo not primarily because of his scientific ideas, but because he was calling them idiots for debating with him. Migrate to any dictatorial country and call the authorities idiots, and see how well you do.

  12. Lorne50 says:

    Sorry sir read it again and I still see the same thing in my 53 year old driller head (after all, 97% of National Socialist German Workers Party Experts agreed that Jews were destroying Germany during the 1930s.)

    • Me says:

      What about the part of, “What kind of evil person would question authority?” that came before that….

    • When people blindly follow the consensus, great evil happens.

      • Steve, “consensus” as used now is a recently invented nonsense word. I studied for many years the history and philosophy of science in academia and never came across the word ‘consensus’ once in the actual literature. You can search Popper/falsificationism, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, the positivist movement, etc. It’s not discussed anywhere, and this is because it was never taken seriously by anyone who seriously studied epistemology.

        However, outside of academia, sceptics (mostly amateur) have used the term informally to mean a rule of thumb principle that a particular research topic is (a) little changed over many decades and (b) well understood.

        Somehow recently the word has morphed into something that is supposedly of great significance. However, the intellectual justification for using it this way is completely lacking.

      • Ben says:

        “Consensus” as now used has been alive and well for quite a while. Look at the drubbing of poor Prof. Zacharias for his views on centrosomes http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=1600&as_yhi=1900&q=consensus

        There have always been souls brave and willing enough to use consensus to control perception.

  13. Lorne50 says:

    I get what you where trying to say and do agree but?

  14. Don Gaddes says:

    Let’s invent a new word more redolent of these ‘straited’ scientific times. ‘CONCENSUS’.(compiling the occurrences of the Scientific Con!)

  15. tckev says:

    Do we have a consensus that group think, or consensus, in science is wrong?

  16. gofer says:

    How many have died because of “consensus”? It took decades to accept pellegra was induced by diet, not by the “pellegra germ.” The examples in the medical field are numerous and cost a lot of lives before people could accept being wrong.

    From seeing the blatant fraud being sold as climate science, I now wonder about a lot of scientific claims, especially in the health field. The public learns about bad drugs from lawyers running ads……”If you have taken x drug, please call this number.”

  17. Robertvdl says:

    Why We Should Never Question Those in Power
    Is this not all about a small group of people finding ways to control a big group of people but with the approval of the members of the big group.They had to find a way to be irreplaceable. What good would it be if you say you can talk with god if people don’t believe in a god. If you are the only one that can protect but there is no enemy. Religions, Kings, Politicians, Bankers etc are always looking for ways in which we voluntarily give our freedom, power away. Climat Change is just one of the many. Can anyone tell me why we need Religions, Kings, Politicians, Bankers if all what they give us are wars and misery to fight wars and misery. When do we understand that they are few and we are many ? This is what the US Constitution is all about, We the People. That is why they are killing it and replace it by We the King again.

    By the way, it was among more American money that brought Hitler to power.

    • Robertvdl says:

      Hillary Clinton calling for “consensus”

      ‘Right now, gun grabbers from around the world are in New York City to draft the UN Small Arms Treaty.
      Speaking for the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton has already given her blessing to this global gun grab, calling for “consensus” in order to “avoid loopholes.”

      My suspicion is that “loopholes” for Mrs. Clinton include our Second Amendment.

      http://falfn.com/CrusaderRabbit/?p=13723#more-13723

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