Is it wise, always uncritical to rely on long-term scientific consensus? If not, what are the exceptions and why?

A2A.Andries, a consensus sometimes exists only briefly between research groups.

As Per poppers ‘ definition, science is an activity that falsifies knowledge, i.e. that existing consensus is challenged by competing ideas.Indiscriminately trusting consensus is unwise.

Rarely a consensus exists long.The longest ever is the existence of the four elements water, fire, earth and air lasted several thousand years. Da Vinci still relied on it, and usually a consensus does not take a hundred years. Think but disappearance of Phlogiston, warmth as ‘ liquid ‘, Ether, vein let, devil extrusion. Diseases sometimes disappear very quickly. In Germany, the most diagnosed disease is a heart weakness. They do not know other language groups with that denomination. Bet that disappears quickly?

A Dutch example of a disappeared disease denomination can be ‘ mad ‘.The Dordtse museum is decorated in a building for ‘ Gekken ‘. In that historical sense, the crazies are no longer there. The container term ‘ gekte ‘ no longer has a consensus. We specify that term to details that were not previously recognized, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, etc.

A nice current example of combating consensus is the physical postulate that there would be ‘ Dark Matter ‘.Groups of astronomers fight this with alternative theories:

COSINE-100 Experiment Challenges Previous Claims About Dark Matter

COSINE-100 Experiment Challenges Previous Claims About Dark Matter

Others support this:

Scientists Find Evidence That Dark Matter Can Be Heated Up and Moved:

https://scitechdaily.com/scienti…

Original question: Is it prudent to always rely uncritically on long-term scientific consensus?If not, what are the exceptions and why?


It’s never wise uncritical to trust any consensus.Trust should be based on critical judgement, always. Blind Faith is never good.


Perhaps you should ask yourself why Some scientific consensus continues to exist for a long time.In particular, consider the purpose of science and the methodology used, and of course the nature of the consensus itself.


The purpose of scientific research is to find explanations for observed phenomena.The methodology used is mainly dependent on the nature of the phenomenon to be explained. In the case of mathematics and logic, for example, axiomatic methods are mainly used. But in the natural sciences, besides all sorts of mathematical models, we also have to deal with an underlying reality against which we can and should test our models. To create these models, a never-ending process is essentially finished. Hereby hypotheses are formulated as a possible explanation for a phenomenon, the effects of these hypotheses are viewed to further predictions about where to take behavior done, and experiments done to verify them. Depending on the results, we start completely overnew or we adapt the hypothesis (s) and repeat everything over new.

Consensus arises when a certain group of hypotheses is widely accepted as the best explanation given current knowledge by the practitioners of the specific discipline, eg, physicists if it concerns a physical phenomenon.

Now it is of course possible that a different kind of consensus is reached, namely that we have insufficient information (can) to give an explanation for somewhere.This is in essence the consensus that there isno consensus.


In answer to the question, if a consensus gives sufficient answers to the questions to be asked in any area, then I see no reason to be specially critical.It is irrelevant how long the consensus already exists.

If you are not an expert in the specific area, you can safely assume that the consensus is the least wrong vision.

Of course there are branches of science where there is no consensus, or where knowledge is very uncertain or only partial knowledge.

If you are an expert in a field of science, it is the intention to challenge the consensus and to find experiments that test and critically assess the consensus.That is the attempt to reject the consensus or falsification.

I would not mention uncritical trust, but rather “critical trust”.

A theory continues to exist until a better one is found (and if the last defender of the old theory has died -scientists are also just humans and also have an ego -.

Uncritically trusting the consensus is in itself still a worse idea.

Often though.You can hardly do anything else.

If you go to the doctor and are prescribed a treatment, you are confident that the doctor knows the scientific consensus and that this scientific consensus is currently offering the best solution.However, it is almost certain that this consensus will in many cases still shift. It can sometimes be useful to ask for a second opinion, but it is seldom wise to deviate completely from the consensus if you have insufficient knowledge. Often so-called critical thinking often comes down to the opposite and you come to pseudo-sciences.

When you step into an airplane, you rely on the scientific consensus around aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, material leather, and much more.Even if you’re just sitting in your house, you rely on the scientific consensus your architect has used and his competencies. You just can’t do anything else. You could barely function if you don’t. You trust the scientific consensus continuously without realizing it.

What can be useful is a certain sense of the strength of the consensus.Our fundamental ideas of quantum mechanics have proved enormously useful and are not really questioned either. There is, of course, Kuhn opposite, who argued that science evolves within paradigms that are occasionally undergoing revolution.

On the other hand, look at a discipline like psychiatry, where the diagnoses are constantly changing because the underlying knowledge is very precarious. Not so long ago, Homoophilia was a psychiatric diagnosis.Today, that idea is absurd. A realization that science is constantly evolving is important. A consensus is not the same as an absolute truth.

Remember that science is an imperfect instrument to deal with the world around us, but remember also that a consensus arises often because there is a lot of evidence for a particular vision and/or because it just works well.Perhaps our knowledge about this world is not perfect, but we have touched it to the moon and we can communicate with it.

If you are not a scientist yourself, you will not be able to trust anything else.The matter of the sciences is not, as a rule, accessible for laymen to be able to make a deliberate judgement on this.

No, always remain critical.

After lengthy consensus, you get the best answer.This doesn’t necessarily have to be the right answer.

Within cosmology there is long-term consensus about the first moments of our universe.

However, alternative scenarios are also constantly being devised.However, most of those alternate scenarios can be returned to the garbage after they are better studied.

The consensus arose because no one could give a better answer.

It is impossible to show whether a theory is true with science.You can only prove that a theory is not right.

Demonstrating that a well-known theory is not right makes you famous as a scientist.Then you can easily get to funds to investigate even more things. There is therefore sufficient motivation to investigate whether this consensus is justified.

Of course it is exciting to call in a popular scientific article that Einstein might have been wrong.But in the end it turns out often or wrong or overly presented.

When it comes to something you personally find, I would leave it to depend on the consequences.

If, for example, a naturalist tells you that you feel better when you put a stone under your pillow, it goes against the consensus. However, it does not seem to be much evil.

But when someone says that you can only live with air, I would advise you to keep it in the general consensus and to keep eating and drinking.

Is It always wise to rely uncritically on long-term scientific consensus?If not, what are the exceptions and why?

It is never wise to rely uncritically on anything.Not even coming the morning. The fact that there is scientific consensus only says that the models and used facts support each other. This does not automatically mean that it is correct. We assume that quantum physics is correct. But that doesn’t have to. It may be that over a year or fifty we come to insights that make this theory completely redundant, but keep the remaining outcomes equal if technological development is so far. There are no exceptions for being critical. Being self-critical is something to be critical about:D

When it comes to problems with your body such as depression and your art says take these pills against this.Ask yourself then: mutildered This my symptoms alone, is it for the profit of the farmasutic industry, is there any alternative proven cure? People often ask too few questions.

Leave a Reply