As for consensus in science, no one could be more eloquent than Michael Crichton in his lecture, “Aliens Cause Global Warming
” at the California Institute of Technology in 2003:
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it
isn’t consensus. Period.
In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of.
Let’s review a few cases.
In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth . One woman in six
died of this fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were
infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver
Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compelling evidence.
The consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually
eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew,
ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever
until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five
years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent “skeptics” around the
world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of
By Michael Crichton
Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality
to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it. In 1865, Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was treacherously committed to an asylum
by his colleague, where he died, a mere 14 days later, at the age of 47, after being beaten by the guards, from a gangrenous wound, due to an infection on his right hand which might have been caused by the beating (officially of pyaemia
). Semmelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur
confirmed the germ theory
, and Joseph Lister
, acting on the French microbiologist
's research, practised and operated, using hygienic methods, with great success.
Consensus supporters don’t like to admit it, but the situation is getting perilously close to Lysenkoism. Lysenko was a poorly educated agricultural extension agent from Ukraine who gained complete control over biology in the USSR, with the full backing of the Politburo and the personal support of both Stalin and Khrushchev.
Lysenko maintained that the genetic theory of inheritance was a lie, supported by evil western industrialists. He insisted that acquired characteristics of living creatures could be passed on to their progeny…. and we’re not talking about the interesting phenomenon of epigenetics, but something much cruder. He apparently believed in the spontaneous generation of life. He blocked the introduction of hybrid crops to the Soviet Union. Scientists who expressed any doubt about Lysenko’s dogmas were lucky if they were only fired from their jobs. Many were sent to concentration camps in Siberia, and some were sentenced to death. Photos of Lysenko and one of his most prominent opponents, Nicolai Vavilov, are shown below. (See Valery N. Soyfer, Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science
[Rutgers University Press, 1994].)
Here is a major statement on the effects of C02 By William Happer you can label him a climate denier too if you choose.