In 2003, the late science fiction author Michael Crichton delivered a lecture at Caltech entitled, “Aliens Cause Global Warming.” The purpose of the lecture was to take to task the sort of science that uses political and social pressure to enforce groupthink. His lecture is often cited in critiques and criticisms of global warming.
The pertinent portion of his lecture, for the purposes of this article, is the following:
“Iwant to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. 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…
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