When Science Is Wrong: The Threat of 'Truth' by Consensus

The point of highlighting the fallibility of science is to engender some healthy skepticism about our modern scientific paradigm. When Governor Rick Perry questions the claims of anthropogenic climate change, he is regarded as a heretic. Of course, heresy is relevant to articles of faith, not scientific claims. Science is not a belief system. Science proclaims no dogma. Science is not democratic, and its findings are certainly not contingent upon consensus.

In the closing months of 2009, which saw the revelations of Climategate, a quieter story broke which was just as damaging to the green gospel. Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT found that increases in global temperature correlate to increases in the amount of heat escaping the atmosphere into space. This finding was precisely opposite the assumption upon which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based their computer models predicting disastrous global warming. As any respectable computer programmer will tell you, when you put garbage in, you get garbage out.

Again, that’s how real science is done. What is true is true despite any consensus to the contrary. That’s the lesson of scientific history and moments like CERN’s when previous beliefs are challenged or shattered. Since truth is not a matter of consensus, and since the nature of government is force, the politicization of science is something to both avoid and decry.

Images: Zhanna OcheretRicky Barnard, Mathagraphics / Shutterstock