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Center for Political Science: News of the Day
  1. Democrat Debbie Stabenow On President Trump's Senate Defense
    The senator from Michigan responds to opening statements on Saturday from the president's legal defense team.

  2. Trump Support In Conservative Stays Strong Through Impeachment
    Republican voters in Idaho are rallying behind president Trump during the impeachment trial, which some call a political distraction.

  3. Fox News Ditches Impeachment Trial Coverage In Favor Of Prime Time Shows
    Some TV networks have nonstop impeachment news, but Fox News broke away for its top-rated evening shows. CBS also cut out mid-afternoon. We speak to former NBC Vice President Mark Lukasiewicz.

  4. Sunday Politics
    After three days of arguments from Democratic House managers arguing that President Trump should be removed, Trump's defense team gave a "sneak preview" of their case Saturday. What to expect.

  5. 'Take Her Out.' In New Recording, Trump Heard Discussing Firing Ambassador To Ukraine
    In the 2018 recording, the president can be heard ordering the firing of his top envoy to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. "Get rid of her," he says.

  6. NPR CEO Defends Journalist After Pompeo Lashes Out Over Ukraine Interview
    NPR's Michel Martin asks NPR's CEO, John Lansing, to respond to an All Things Considered interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  7. Republicans Who Have A Say In Impeachment Trial Witnesses
    NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Jennifer Rubin, a columnist for The Washington Post, about key Republicans that may determine if the Senate allows new witnesses during the impeachment trial.

  8. The Impeachment Defense From Trump's Legal Team
    President Trump's legal team launched their defense on Saturday. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said the team does not intend to use the full 24 hours of speaking time allotted to it.

  9. After Contentious Interview, Pompeo Publicly Accuses NPR Journalist Of Lying To Him
    The secretary of state issued an angry salvo on Saturday against Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of All Things Considered. NPR stands by her reporting.

  10. Trump Team Vows To Deflate Democrats' Case As 1st Week Of Impeachment Trial Wraps
    President Trump's legal team opened its response to the Democrats' allegations with a rare Saturday session that said the accusers' facts were wrong and Trump must preserve his office.



Scientific Consensus - Politically Correct Words for Bullying

Commentary after commentary tries to browbeat opponents with the ‘scientific consensus’ of some point. As if the collective opinions of some group convey not just a stamp of approval on an issue but anoint their position with the ...

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Scientific Consensus - Politically Correct Words for Bullying

Commentary after commentary tries to browbeat opponents with the ‘scientific consensus’ of some point. As if the collective opinions of some group convey not just a stamp of approval on an issue but anoint their position with the certitude of absolute truth. Would that it were so. Scientific consensus has become the pronouncement of sophisticated lynch mobs who, unable to prove a position, resort to derision of opposing positions with a pronouncement of collective wisdom.

The problem is that, quite often, the consensus is wrong. Sometimes ruinous, deadly wrong. Remember Richard Jewel? The Atlanta bomber -- only he wasn’t. Duke lacrosse? Those nasty college rapists -- only they weren’t. How about the flat earth believers? No, not the iconoclastic society that states its beliefs tongue-in-cheek; the real flat earthers of the Renaissance period. THE thinkers who began the Modern age, leaving behind the supposed ignorance of the Dark and Middle Ages. Those Renaissance thinkers were sure that the earth was flat, that if one traveled to the edge, they would fall into an abyss. No less certain, the sun and stars revolved around earth as the center of the universe. It is said that the court of Spain had those who were sure that Columbus would sail off of the earth and never return. The Catholic Church is purported to have condemned Galileo in 1632 for his heretical notion that the earth was a round globe hurtling through space about the sun. Throughout history, the Intelligentsia has relied upon consensus to impose its assumption as the only rational belief.

The philosopher, Descartes, observed, "There is nothing", he said, "so evident or so certain that it may not be controverted. Whence then this widespread and deep-rooted anarchy? From the fact that our inquiries are haphazard." There is no question on which men agree. "[T]here is hardly a statement made by one man, of which the opposite is not loudly supported by some other?" So, disagreement is not new.

Consensus does not mean an absolute truth. Most often, it merely signifies which group is more prominent, at the moment. Later knowledge sometimes justifies the disbeliever over the body in power. Pasteur and Lister, with their beliefs in germ theory, have surpassed their critics who believed in evil humors and the need for blood letting. We do not praise the priests who inflicted torture with the Inquisition, we cringe at their cruelty. At the time, they were the powerful. The pain inflicted was with certitude of convictions driven by consensus.

The truth lies in Descartes’ observation “that our inquiries are haphazard.” It has been said that we can never know the truth because our observations will always be biased by our preconceptions. That is the problem with many group opinions. Consensus is not the product of divergent thought. Rather, like teenagers seeking to emulate their idol, a small nexus have a thought and the group follows, like lemmings. When that nexus has a private agenda, it can lead the group over a cliff, as was recently seen with the ‘global warming hoax.’

While a consensus opinion should not be rejected out-of-hand, it should be remembered that consensus is not an imprimatur of absolute truth. When consensus is used to foreclose differences of opinion, it is bullying -- particularly when consensus is based upon haphazard inquiries to further a private agenda. Consensus is not an adequate substitute for rigorous investigation and validation through scientific proof, rather than scientific opinion. Remember to keep an open mind and accept the possibility that consensus may be right but it can also be very, very wrong.



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