This is strange, but we’ve grown accustomed to that sort of thing. The authors of what we’re about to discuss probably don’t have the first clue how much they’re revealing to us.
Let us consider, dear reader, At Last, a Consensus on Consensus, which is found on the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
One of the peculiarities of this Discoveroid article is that it’s authored by “Evolution News & Views.” That is, it’s the work of no one in particular. Looking at it another way, they all like it so much that it’s been given the status of official Discoveroid dogma to which they collectively adhere. That alone makes it worth our attention.
Okay, so what is this thing we’ve found? It’s their joint reaction to an article from Science Daily, Why ‘Scientific Consensus’ Fails to Persuade. Upon seeing that title, the Discoveroids were probably imagining that they knew the answer: It’s because some people — like the Discoveroids — are too smart to fall for the “consensus,” and they’re the true geniuses on the cutting edge of science.
If that’s what they were hoping for, the Discoveroids were disappointed. The article is about a study that says whether members of the public regard a scientist as being a trustworthy expert:
… is likely to depend on whether the position the scientist takes is consistent with the one believed by most people who share your cultural values.
It’s an interesting article. Here’s a bit more from it:
“We know from previous research,” said Dan Kahan, “that people with individualistic values, who have a strong attachment to commerce and industry, tend to be skeptical of claimed environmental risks, while people with egalitarian values, who resent economic inequality, tend to believe that commerce and industry harms the environment.”
It’s worth reading, but let’s turn to the Discoveroid blog to see their reaction. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Researchers have finally figured out why those of us in the public who are skeptics on scientific orthodoxies like Darwinism and human-induced global warming choose not to align our views with the scientific “consensus.”
Observe, dear reader, the conjunction of two different areas of popular skepticism. We’ve written about this phenomenon before. See: Discovery Institute Praises Global Warming Deniers. There we discussed a blog article by Casey about what he claims are the “virtues” of challenging the “consensus.” This is obviously a continuing theme with the Discoveroids — as well it should be. One can’t really do pseudo-science without occasionally praising the denialism of other fringe groups.
After a few small quotes from the Science Daily article, the Discoveroids say:
Isn’t that special? So if you’re a Darwin doubter it’s not because you’ve thought through the issue for yourself and come to a heterodox conclusion. You’re just a sheep, following what your hick friends and neighbors say.
It would seem that the Discoveroids’ feelings are hurt. Let’s read on:
The implication is that if people were rational, they would simply go with whatever has been officially pronounced as the scientific consensus on an issue. If they were rational, that is, they would dispense with thinking for themselves.
What? Rationality means unthinking acceptance of authority? The Discoveroids are confusing reason with faith. That’s not surprising, as they most definitely are creatures of faith who fiercely oppose reason — with which they have little acquaintance. Here’s the end of their article:
Isn’t it just this sort of naïveté and undisclosed bias on the part of scientists (and especially science organizations) that makes people doubt claims of consensus in the first place.
Hey — you may think it’s crazy, but that’s the joint position of all the Discoveroids. Make of it what you will.
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