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Center for Political Science: News of the Day
  1. What To Know About The High-Stakes Congressional Standoff
    The U.S. government is facing the possibility of having to shut down on Thursday evening. On Capitol Hill, talks to avoid that are getting increasingly complicated.

  2. Arizona Recount Of 2020 Election Ballots Found No Proof Of Corruption
    A GOP-backed review of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona's largest county found no proof of former President Trump's lies about a stolen election.

  3. The Battle Over Biden's Infrastructure Bill Continues
    NPR's Scott Simon speaks to Rep. Josh Gottheimer D-N.J., about why he wants the vote for the infrastructure bill to take place on Monday even as his own party stands divided on several provisions.

  4. Week In Politics: Booster Shots, Haitian Migrants, Jan. 6 Investigation Committee
    The pandemic, migration crisis, and Congressional gridlock continue to create stumbling blocks for the Biden administration.

  5. Rural Hospitals Worry They Will Lose Staff Because Of Biden's New Vaccine Mandate
    In rural areas, hospitals and clinics are worried they'll be left short if staff quit rather than get COVID-19 vaccines required by the Biden administration's new mandate.

  6. Quad Countries Have 1st In-Person Summit At The White House
    President Biden hosted the first face to face summit with leaders of Japan, Australia and India. The four countries are known as the Quad and see themselves as a democratic bulwark against China.

  7. Disagreements Among Democrats In Congress Are Holding Up Biden's Legislative Agenda
    President Biden's legislative agenda hangs in the balance, in large part due to disagreements among Congress members within his own party. Democratic leaders are trying to chart a path forward.

  8. Germany's Sunday Election Will Determine Who Will Replace Angela Merkel
    The election in Germany will make the end of an era ? after 16 years as chancellor, Angela Merkel plans to step aside. The vote could also see her party out of power.

  9. Republican-Led Election Review In Arizona Determines Biden Did Indeed Win
    A widely discredited Republican-led review of the 2020 election in Arizona's biggest county has determined that Joe Biden indeed got more votes there than Donald Trump.

  10. 'View' Co-Hosts Test Positive For COVID Moments Before Harris Interview
    Two hosts of the The View were pulled live from the program on Friday, just before the vice president was scheduled to join them onstage for an in-person interview.



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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