What does consensus have to do with the validity of a scientific theory? Consensus has properly become a nasty word in some of the scientific debates of our day, especially when the outcome of the debates can have potential political and economic effects on our society.
What if we always stuck with the first popular scientific theory presented? What if no one ever challenged the consensus? Another way to ask it is, What if no one challenged the conventional wisdom or popular opinion?
We would still believe:
The planet Vulcan orbits the sun, life is created through spontaneous generation, any object that can catch fire, can only do so because it contains “Phlogiston“, the surface of Mars was covered with water filled canals, Aether carries light through the universe, Phrenology can tell us all about a person’s aptitudes and personality.
What about the fine sciences of: Aristotelian physics, Transmutation of species, Lamarckism, Inheritance of acquired characteristics, Maternal Impression,Miasma theory of disease, Emitter theory, Preformationism, Telegony (pregnancy),Vital essence theory,or the earlier atomic theories of: Plum pudding model, Rutherford model, Bohr model, Electron cloud model, and the atomic orbital model.
Our view of the universe is still up in the air since even the theory of general relativity, has its problems with large masses and small distances it’s still better than the Ptolemaic system, or the Geocentric universe, Heliocentric universe, the Copernican system or Newtonian gravity(which is still close enough to true that it is still utilized in schools).
Not to mention these former medical facts: For years, pumping kids full of narcotics was a great way to deal with everything from teething to colic, Mercury could cure about anything from scrapes to STDs, Heroin was great for coughs and Asthma, Cocaine was all you needed for tooth pain, electric shocks could cure impotence, and a lobotomy was sure to cure many mental problems. Read more here.
This is why we have a Scientific Method. Make observations, make a Hypothesis, test it, develop a theory, have others scrutinize it, and try to prove it false.
Global Warming supporters (Mostly the same people [or disciples of the people] who were Global Cooling supporters in the 70s) talk an arrogant talk, but as we have already seen they are ignoring the evidence and instead they are relying on faith in their computer models.
No true scientist, someone who is honestly searching for truth, will ridicule another for ignoring popular opinion and testing the validity of a theory. After all, what are theories for? A theory exists for scientists to attempt to prove or disprove. We don’t simply accept an untested theory as truth. We can’t accept a theory as true if there is no way to adequately test the theory. We also can’t ignore a theory that we don’t want to be true, or dismiss it out of hand simply because it brings our life view into question.
To see a graphic representation of this problem, see the move Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. You will see many scientists who desperately defend their religious beliefs (Darwinism) and refuse to even allow an opposing theory to be presented.
Come along and remember: The truth has no agenda