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He said it: Michael Crichton on consensus science

Crichton was a writer, filmmaker, and author of Jurassic Park, among other things From The Poached Egg:

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

Interestingly, the officially Christian American Scientific Affiliation is totally into consensus science. Strange turnabout, really.

See also: Memo to ASA: If everyone tried to do “consensus science,” there would BE no science

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12 Responses to He said it: Michael Crichton on consensus science

  1. Looks like he believed the evolutionary consensus though:

    “….There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land….. life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety…….Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change…..When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself….”

    Prologue to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

  2. Curiously, he never mentions Darwin, nor states that Darwin’s theory accounts for it all – that’s the Bible among Darwinists, from what we can tell. We’re all heretics here, as it happens.

  3. smiddyone-

    That book is a work of fiction, which includes the prologue.

    Just sayin’

  4. “Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life”,
    “The evolutionary process would begin again.”
    “It promotes mutation, change”
    ” Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself”

    Are we allowed to take the subtext even though he never literally says The word Darwin.

  5. No as it does not make any reference to blind and undirected processes either. He could be talking about Intelligent Design evolution or front-loaded evolution.

    Just sayin’…

  6. At the very least he’s talking of the chemical evolution of life and common descent, two things most bloggers here don’t like.

  7. 7

    AMEN.
    This guy is right.
    The great achievers in “science’ wERE the ones who broke consensus.
    Once again a achiever in one field recognizes what other fields must do.

    Yes its about , or can be, one investagor being right and the others, even if a legion, are wrong.
    YEC and ID today are the few but are right.
    Creationists will prevail because we are right.
    Right will beat wrong where both play by the same rules.

  8. 8

    “Right will beat wrong where both play by the same rules.”

    can you have confidence that both sides play by same rules? if one side cheats, how can we know, how does play proceed?

    sergio

  9. 9

    sergiomendes
    As in the Olympics rules are clear .
    Playing by the same rules means accepting common methods of investigation.
    Evolution claims natures evidence and so by that evidence should evolution be judged .
    Evolution has gotten away with claims of authority and lines of reasoning for too long.
    Time for “science’.
    Time for peer review on bigger concepts evolution invokes.

  10. 10

    Robert Byers,

    “Time for peer review on bigger concepts evolution invokes.”

    bigger concepts? could you list please.

    sergio

  11. 11

    Sergiomendes
    Bigger concepts to be peer reviewed would be the use of fossils in any conclusion about biology unless clearly stated fossils are not a part of biological investigation.

    Then the whole issue of using lines of reasoning for the evidence of much of evolutionary claims to being a theory.

    Concepts like the presumption that some life forms are more primitive then others.they use this a lot to show progression from low to high.

    I could go on and on.
    This is what should of been peer reviewed.

  12. Robert Byers,

    “use of fossils in any conclusion about biology unless clearly stated fossils are not a part of biological investigation.”

    are not all fossils part of biological investigation?

    “using lines of reasoning for the evidence of much of evolutionary claims to being a theory.”

    is not theory resting on use of lines of reasoning for evidence? standard science practice, no?

    “I could go on and on.”
    that would be most welcome. thank you.

    sergio

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