Consensus In Science Does Oppose New Discoveries

Dr Jones was Officer-in-Charge of the CSIRO Davies Laboratory faced a challenging problem, Leucaena, which is a shrubby tree introduced to Australia’s seasonally dry tropics to increase beef production, caused the cattle grazing it to became sick and thin. Dr Jones came up with a solution to solve the problem but the consensus opposed it, declaring in it’s typical dogmatic style that rumen bacteria were the same all over the world!

He had evidence to the contrary, but when he tried to have his science papers published, they were rejected! Was it because he is a creationist also? Dr Jones found that goats in Hawaii ate Leucaena without any problems. He concluded that perhaps the bacteria in the rumen (a special ‘stomach’ where the food is pre-digested by microbes in animals such as cattle, sheep and goats) were different in Hawaii. They were capable of breaking down the toxin, thus accounting for the lack of toxicity of Leucaena in Hawaii.

Consensus rejected such a suggestion that the microbes could be different so he was unable to get the much needed funding to take his research further! Not giving up, he paid his own expenses to follow up on his theory.

“Are the microbes special to the ruminants?’

“Yes, a ruminant couldn’t live on roughage without the bugs, because these digest the tough cellulose fibre in the plants the animals eat. And the bacteria are mostly highly anaerobic [do not like oxygen], and can only live in the rumen.”

“The animal needs the microbes and the bugs need the animal. It’s a good example of design. Evolutionists would argue it’s ‘co-evolution,’ but I don’t believe the incredible ruminant digestion system is the result of countless accidental mutations which just happened to parallel each other in the bacteria and the animals…”

Eventually funding was provided. Dr Jones then took Australian goats and Australian grown Leucaena to Indonesia where some goats had been discovered which could eat Leucaena without problems. With help from his team, he transferred some rumen fluid from the Indonesian goats to the Australian goats. Within two days the amount of toxin in the urine of the treated goats declined dramatically and they thrived. The theory was proven! This discovery is worth millions of dollars per year to Australia.

One has to remember, consensus (the majority of scientists) are human, many of which are full with pride, but they make mistakes. They also can and do interfere with the progress of science. Thus, we can’t take their opinions as gospel but rather with a skeptical eye.

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13 thoughts on “Consensus In Science Does Oppose New Discoveries

  1. “One has to remember, consensus (the majority of scientists) are human, many of which are full with pride, but they make mistakes. ”

    No, really ? Gosh …

    “Thus, we can’t take their opinions as gospel but rather with a skeptical eye.”

    No, of course opinions are not taken as ‘gospel’. No scientist does that. Science is not religion, and skepticism is intrinsic to science. Didn’t you know that ?

  2. Consensus is indeed a very unreliable guide, in science as much as any area of life. Interesting example you provide, Michael.

    But a lot of people don’t like critical analysis of ‘the consensus’, like Naturalists and Evolutionists for examples; they are particularly hostile to any skeptical rational analysis of their assertions, methods or philosophical beliefs.

    And in my experience Naturalistic and Evolutionistic scientists can be very touchy about admitting the possibility they can they can make mistakes. They seem to regard themselves as the measure of what is true and real and knowable and what is not; a heavy mantle they have chosen for themselves, not one that can readily concede error.

    And they are constantly trying to present their speculative opinions and ideas as absolute established fact.

    Indeed Naturalists and Evolutionists have a tendency to shy away from rational, skeptical, critical analysis; they seem to find it threatening. And they maintain something of a consensus of diversion.

    And indeed who really knows the enormous extent of the damage their philosophy has done to true science? Perhaps history will provide a clearer idea with the perspective of retrospection.

  3. Consensus is indeed a very unreliable guide, in religion as much as any area of life.

    But a lot of people don’t like critical analysis of their consensus, like creationists and intelligent design for examples; they are particularly hostile to any skeptical rational analysis of their assertions, methods or philosophical beliefs.

    And in my experience creationist and ID believers can be very touchy about admitting the possibility they can they can make mistakes. They regard themselves as the measure of what is true and real and knowable and what is not; a heavy mantle they have chosen for themselves, not one that can concede any error at all.

    And they are constantly trying to present their unfounded opinions and beliefs as absolute established fact.

    Indeed creationists and ID believers have a tendency to shy away from rational, skeptical, critical analysis; they seem to find it threatening. And they maintain something of a consensus of diversion.

    And indeed who really knows the enormous extent of the damage their philosophy has done to true science? Perhaps history will provide a clearer idea with the perspective of retrospection.

    ==Mutatis Mutandis

  4. No, Dom. What’s interesting is that you should claim that creationists are skeptics.

    To get a paper published in Answers in Genesis or in BSG, the author must sign a pledge to uphold biblical creationism. To teach science at Biola University, Liberty University, or all Seventh Day Adventist colleges, a professor must agree to uphold the Bible. The Discovery Institute requires all employees to sign a similar pledge. In other words, skeptics need not even apply.

    On the other hand, Michael himself provides an example of a skeptical scientists who successfully battled a consensus. Speaking of Australians, recall the doctor who provided solid evidence that H. pylori causes stomach ulcers, not stress as the consensus had it. Recall Alfred Wegner who prosecuted continental drift against majority doubters. Ludwig Boltzmann gathered evidence for 30 years to persuade continuum physicists of the validity of atomic theory. Einstein overturned Newtonian dynamics with a totally new—and seemingly incredible—theory of gravitation.

    What is different between creationism and science in terms of “consensus”? Creationism refuses to admit any contrary hypotheses. Its beliefs cannot be overthrown, even with mountains of evidence. In science, a consensus has a lot of inertia—and it should, because it is supported by previous evidence. But, when experiments and observations uncover opposing data, the consensus changes. Not always immediately, but eventually.

    On the other hand, when is the last time that evidence convinced a creationist of anything at all? Fat chance.

    Two years ago, Science conducted a small study to determine why the percentage of atheists and agnostics is higher among scientists than in the general population. What they found was surprising—not that science causes unbelief, but that people who are unbelievers to begin with are more attracted to scientific careers.

    The responsible personality trait is skepticism. That is, young people who are already predisposed to skepticism in general fit in better with scientists. However, people who are disposed to follow a leader or a belief unquestioningly are more likely to be religious.

    So much for lack of skepticism in science.

  5. Over lunch, I was reading an article that challenged the consensus view since 1930 that resting mental signals are mere noise, and not important.

    “At first, our studies were met with some skepticism. In 1998, we even had a paper on such findings rejected because one referee suggested that the reported decrease in activity was an error in our data…. Other researchers, however, reproduced our results for both the medial parietal cortex and and the medial prefrontal cortex…. Both areas are now considered major hubs of the DMN.”[1]

    Seems that a consensus said no, a skeptic found contrary data, and the consensus changed.

    A coincidence? No. It happens all the time.

    Except in creationism, where the “consensus” never changes.

    ===============
    [1] Raichle, “The Brain’s Dark Energy,” Scientific American, March 2010, pp44-49, at 47.

  6. THIRD REQUEST:

    Eelco has again called your bluff about readership. (Feb. 18 comment to your Feb. 5 post)

    You also owe me your qualifications to discuss any kind of science. (Mar. 5 comment to your Feb. 27 post)

    You can run, but you can’t hide.

  7. Remember that Michael is the one who thinks that zinc is some kind of ultra-complex organic molecule capabale of “storing energy.” Whereas even the beginning high-school chemistry student knows it as good old element 30 in the periodic table, the soft white metal that we use for battery anodes, solder, oil-paint pigment, and deodorants. (“Are Evolutionists Coming To Grips With Primordial Soup?” post on February 13, 2010.)

    Knowing Michael’s qualifications is important in determining whether he is world-calass ignornat or deliberately lying to us. In either case, of course, he should not presume to tell anyone about either the content or the opractice of science.

    How about it, Michael? Do your really think your readers are that stupid?

  8. MICHAEL PLAYS THE PERSECUTION CARD—

    “He had evidence to the contrary, but when he tried to have his science papers published, they were rejected! Was it because he is a creationist also?”

    Of course! Jones was denied funding for a project that has nothing at all to do with any subject remotely involving creationism, because he’s a creationist! That must be it.

    Once again Michael takes the prize for making stuff up.

  9. Eelco states, “No, of course opinions are not taken as ‘gospel’. No scientist does that. Science is not religion, and skepticism is intrinsic to science. Didn’t you know that?”This is such a “beg to differ comment” apparently not all know otherwise Dr Jones from the CSIRO Davies Laboratory would have gotten his science papers published and grant money from the very beginning. Now physicists at Oxford University call dark matter an illusion and are researching to try and prove it, yet they get their papers published and funding, why is that Eelco?

  10. Michael. I think you just disproved your own point:

    Sooo Dr Jones doubts a consensus and had his funding and papers delayed. But in the next breath, scientists who doubt a consensus on dark matter do “get their papers published and funding.”

    Do you see the inconsistency yet, Michael, or do we have to point it out in excruciating detail?

    .

    More importantly, do you glimpse the difference between science and creationism? Scientific consensus changes with the evidence stacks up against it. Creationism never changes, no matter how much evidence refutes it.

    Creationists are usually also global-warming denialists, conspiracy theorists, and anti-vaxxers. Studies have found that this type of person is generally one who feels that he has little control over his environment, and is pushed to and fro by forces he can’t influence.

    In an attempt to cling to something that remains known and unchanging, creationists must deny the reality of all evidence that contravenes their beliefs, because it creates a cognitive dissonance.

    Everyone has periodic feelings of losing control. But most either get over it or maintain enough balance to allow change over time.

    Another aspect of such strong beliefs, however, is that derision by others leads to hardening of the belief—sometimes to the point of delusion. You might wish to read up on people who are convinced that the Earth is hollow,[1] who claim to have seen humans suddenly burst into flame,[2] who receive telephone calls from dead people,[3] who believe that the Americas were visited in ancient times by Greeks, Celts, Arabs, Chinese, East Indians, Libyans, and others[4] who believe that cities and events in world history conform to an astral pattern,[5] who believe that prehistoric works resulted from landings by space aliens,[6] that another planet hides from us in the solar system,[7] who believe in a universe-wide “morphogenetic field” that can form patterns and create life,[8] and who can show you conclusively that the great biblical miracles were caused by close passes of Venus and Mars to the Earth’s orbit.[9] Need we mention the people who swear they were abducted by aliens in UFOs?

    But, you say, these people are obviously delusional. They reject all evidence to the contrary, all logical argument, all common sense. I am plainly different. A 6,000 year age for the Earth—and the entire universe—is rational and substantiated by my interpretation of the Bible, and no other interpretation is even thinkable

    Then look around. Do you see yourself in the cracked mirror yet?

    ==============

    [1] “The Hollow Earth” (Bell 1969) by Raymond Bernard, AB, MA, PhD, who claims that Adm Byrd’s discovery of this hollow interior has been suppressed by science.

    [2] “Spontaneous Human Combustion” (Dorset 1992) by Dorset & Hough.

    [3] “Phone Calls from the Dead” (Prentice-Hall 1979) by Rogo & Baytless.

    [4] “Saga America” (Times Books 1980) by Barry Fell.

    [5] “Anti-Gravity and the World Grid” (Adventures Unlimited press 1987) edited by David hatcher Childress.

    [6] e.g., “In Search of the Gods” (Angel 1989), a compendium of Erich vo Daniken’s three books.

    [7] “In Search of Planet Vulcan” (Plenum 1997) by Baum & Sheehan.

    [8] “A New Science of Life” (J.P.Tarcher 1981) by Rupert Sheldrake

    [9] “Worlds in Collision” (Macmillan 1950) by Immanuel Velikovsky.. The Velikovsky Society published a journal, Kronos, from 1975-1988.

  11. The Smithsonian Institution has launched a new web site on human origins. You will find materials on human fossils, genetics, and behavior. Some of the Smithsonian’s research projects are described as well. These include field work in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Inda, Indonesia, and China. The focus is on the long-term adaptation of early humans with their environment.

    Education resources in human evolution include lesson plans, an educators’ guide, a teachers’ forum, and an education network.

    WARNING: The Smithsonian Institution is supported by millions of your hard-earned tax dollors.

  12. Ah, consensus. Hard to move against it.

    I’m reading a book right now by one who challenges the consensus in his field. He has had trouble getting his ideas published, so he turned his PhD thesis into a book and published it.

    The century-old consensus view is that the early Church used a variety of texts–many different gospels, different sets of letters, and so forth—in their services. Then, over a period of three centuries, the list was narrowed down to the books we have today, which were finally canonized at the council of Nicaea.

    Skeptic David Trobisch, however, argues that the New Testament was already in almost exactly its final form by about 150 AD, and was intended to be read as a whole at that time. It was widely circulated, and formed the basis for all surviving copies of the New Testament. It was merely adopted at Nicaea, rather than compiled there.

    Michael, since you battle the consensus yourself, you should read Frobish’s “The First Edition of the New Testament” (Oxford U. Press 2000). Don’t worry—it’s short; only 106 pages.

  13. Frobisch’s book might also serve as an introduction to evidence-based historical research, yet another subject where you are woefully ignorant.
    Yiou might wish to critique his methodological techniques, his interpretations nominal sacra, quires, redactional frames, and so forth.

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