Miscellaneous Science-Related Notes
1) Scientific Consensus
The media use the term "scientific consensus" to justify a certain point of view and to add support that it is "correct". The problem is that history has shown that the consensus view is often incorrect.
To quote Aaron Kheriaty, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center:
"Science is an ongoing search for truth & such truth has little to do with consensus. Every major scientific advance involves challenges to a consensus. Those who defend scientific consensus rather than specific experimental findings are not defending science but partisanship."
Most of the discoveries that I made in my career studying the inner ear went against the prevailing scientific consensus. Some were initially dismissed, but over time all have now become generally accepted. If you look back at history, many major breakthroughs also went against the consensus of the time. (Galileo anyone? Also see our history page: the ear was initially thought to be concerned only with hearing and not with balance). The consensus view (otherwise known as the current dogma) is often incorrect. Today, discussion of consensus is a method used to shut down those with opposing views. It is mostly used by narrow-minded people who don't understand science and who have difficulty reconciling multiple viewpoints. The concept that "all scientists agree" only occurs when the scientists who disagree are censored, are prevented from publishing their work by reviewers holding the majority view, or who choose to stay silent (perhaps to keep their grant funding). This is destroying science.
The reluctance to consider results that disagree with the current dogma led Max Planck to state
"A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
One can only hope that those in the censorship-industrial-complex pushing false, supposedly consensus views hurry up and get on with their part.
Dissenting views should be a normal part of any discourse
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will only make the situation worse. AI is generally based on the programmer's selection of "socially-acceptable" knowledge.
As our society increasingly silences and ignores dissenting perspectives, "unexpected" outcomes (i.e. outcomes contrary to the consensus view) will occur more frequently. Critical thinking and skepticism are essential for good science.