Orac’s Ad Hominem-Filled Response Proves Jay Richards’ Point

I usually ignore ScienceBlogs because unfortunately it’s a home for many ad hominem attacks and not serious response-worthy posts. However, given that Jay Richards’ second criteria on When To Doubt a Scientific ‘Consensus’ is “When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate,” it’s worth noting that over at ScienceBlogs, Orac has replied to me and Jay Richards with, you guessed it, ad hominem attacks. He argues that if you show “hostility” towards the consensus, then you are a “crank.” Orac further writes: If Casey had two neurons to rub together, he could answer the question in two sentences and echo how scientists would answer the question: When you have an actual scientifically valid reason, based on science, evidence, experimentation, and observational Read More ›

When Is it Appropriate to Challenge the “Consensus”?

Discovery Institute senior fellow Jay Richards has an excellent piece at The American titled, “When to Doubt a Scientific ‘Consensus’,” that gives 12 criteria to help us decide whether it’s appropriate to doubt a particular “consensus.” Richards of course notes that the very term “consensus” is often used to shut down scientific debate–but that hardly means the scientific “consensus” is necessarily wrong. Indeed, some wrongly challenge the consensus when it ought to be affirmed. Richards threads this needle carefully, explaining why we must carefully examine the scientific, sociological, rhetorical, and political dynamics of a debate to determine if the consensus deserves our assent, or our skepticism: Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune Read More ›

Is There a “Consensus” in Science? Remembering the Late Michael Crichton

Anyone who was awed when they watched Jurassic Park and saw realistic-looking dinosaurs walking around on the big screen for the first time should take a moment to remember Michael Crichton. Crichton, a famous science-fiction author, wrote the books that became the Jurassic Park movie series, as well as many other popular novels. He also had an appreciation for the importance of dissenting views within the scientific community and was a keen observer of how some in the scientific community use rhetoric to quash minority scientific viewpoints. Crichton passed away earlier this month after losing a battle with cancer, so in remembrance of Michael Crichton, I’d like to re-post this quote from a speech he gave that was recently reprinted Read More ›