One of the most un-scientific mantras bandied about in the debates over climate change and Darwinian evolution is that the science is settled; there’s a consensus in the scientific community. This notion that there is a consensus among scientists is dangerous to the philosophy of science.
Why is this dangerous? It creates a prohibitive atmosphere for dissent. Because there is a consensus lauded, credentialed scientists who voice any opposition or question the reigning paradigms are dismissed as quacks, or worse. Why would anyone risk their career, their ability to secure grants, their opportunity for tenure by dissenting from “the consensus”? There is little to no benefit in challenging the status quo. Someone who might be considering challenging the consensus has two choices: risk your career, or don’t do the research (i.e., shut up and tow the line).
If an evolutionary biologist hints at challenging the Darwinian model, he is castigated as a creationist who believes the Bible over science. Likewise, a climate researcher who investigates climate anomalies and challenges the consensus climate models, they’re branded AGW denying conspiracy theorists who resist the evidence.
You see, when one appeals to a consensus they will automatically resist any data and evidence which runs contrary to their firmly held conclusions. If you can paint the dissenting professional as a “denier” or “creationist” you essentially color them as crazy, someone not to be trusted or considered. We all know we can’t trust crazy people to produce unbiased studies, right? In fact, we don’t have to waste any time reading what the people who buck the consensus publish… because they’re crazy. See how that works?
Just like we don’t have to consider what white supremacists have to say about minorities, we don’t have to consider what “deniers” and “creationists” have to say either. See that? Those who question the Darwinian and AGW models are just like white supremacists.