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Discussion > Guardian Science: Why bad ideas refuse to die, and other thoughts on "consensus"

This was interesting, of course I guess Climate would be squeezed in (apparently oil funding, but without any definition of what is in denial)...

Guardian Science: Why bad ideas refuse to die

The article and the comments clearly show why "bad" ideas refuse to die, and those writing cannot see it.

Some of the techniques are interesting.

- Designate something as ludicrous, associate someone with it, then any statements from that person have no relevance.
- Believing consensus is "absolute truth"
- "Bad" is absolute
- Scientific authority is infallible
- Enforcing/effecting intellectual superiority for purpose of self worth
- Debate is not allowed.

The article and the comments all show these attributes, why "bad" ideas do not die and I am glad they do not.

Related to this,

Prof Brian Cox criticises ‘nonsensical’ university speaking bans

which is very much a related element.

Personally I have always enjoyed counter arguments and ideas, because they create energy. Energy to solve challenges. Some of my best work has been from the "I will prove you wrong".

Irrespective of the EU Referendum result, one thing it has exposed is this "absolute truth". Remaining in the EU is a just a consensus, and much of the issues have been that realisation or denial for people. You can look down at Brexit flat-earthers, but more difficult for 30% of the population. EU isn't Europe, but it has become for so many, so when the EU is rejected coming to terms with that is an issue.

Anyway just some thoughts on "consensus"...

Jun 29, 2016 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

It is interesting to note the links provided by Dana Nuccitelli and others writing in the Guardian to Skeptical Science's 97% Consensus.

There seems to be an idea that this bit of 'bad science' can not be allowed to die, as they have no 'Bad Science Plan B'.

The logical conclusion is that only 3% of climate scientists are any good, and the other 97% don't want anybody else to know.

Jun 29, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Media Hoar
For clarification leaving the EU wasn't a consensus?

Jun 29, 2016 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy, perhaps the way to look at it was that EU seemed to be an absolute truth, an accepted fact. An Establishment fact almost. But it wasn't permanent. As was shown. What we will have now is irrelevant to the argument. Will it be replaced by another "absolute truth" hiding as consensus? It takes time for these things to become accepted "facts", but yes I guess.

All am I trying to say is to repeat the frequent messages from history..."consensus is not fact"...

Jun 29, 2016 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

I read what MH wrote as "Remaining in the EU is a just a consensus" ie a consensus among Guardianland folks, not fact.

Jun 29, 2016 at 4:30 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The BBC and Guardian are trying to fabricate a Consensus that more than 50% of the UK population are wrong, and a fresh referendum is required.

"Too big to fail" is another Consensus view about the EU, that has never been tested before, or perhaps it was, hence all the financial bail-outs.

Spin Doctors and Public Relations Officers believe in manipulating the Consensus view, and many Spin Doctors and Public Relations Officers rely on the EU for their employment. The EU is not unique

Jun 29, 2016 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golfCharlie. Disagree. Can least four columns in the Guardian arguing that the majority vote last week should not be challenged. I never read the paper's editorials, but I would be amazed if they argued differently.

Jun 29, 2016 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan kendall

Media Hoar
Thanks, I think that a consensus needn't be much more than 50% of a population.

I agree that history is full of consensuses which were in the end replaced. I'm trying hard to think of a non-scientific consensus which fell by the wayside when proved to be incorrect rather than by a desire for change, or a desire for something better*. It is doubtful the consensus about the EU ever universal in the UK, I don't think it was in all Europe either. I seriously doubt that it ever got more than the two thirds in the first UK referendum. I'm old enough to remember De Gaulle saying Non, he knew that Britain would never engage in the sort of full-hearted partnership required in something like the EEC/EU. He knew the British better than most as it turned out in the 40 years after the UK finally joined. It's interesting that the areas of the UK voting in favour of remain were Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the case of Scotland a union with shared sovereignty is nothing new, particularly one as a junior partner due to population and economics. I don't know about Northern Ireland which seems more complex.

* Because we don't have time travel to go back and re-run time we'll never know if it was/is better.

Jun 29, 2016 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

golf charlie
I've said before than 52% of those who voted is not 50% of the UK population. It's an 8 out of 10 cats statement to say that it is. But it is a majority of those who voted which is all that matters. We have no idea what those who didn't vote think.

Jun 29, 2016 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS 7:59, entirely agree! What the hell is a consensus? With cat food, it would have to be 6 out of 10, but could be 51 out of 100

Alan Kendall 7:55 I did not read a paper copy of the Guardian, but the articles on-line, that I saw, did reflect comments I heard on BBC Radio

It is rare that I watch day time TV. At lunchtime, Emily Thornberry kept emphasising Corbyn's overwhelming support of the rank and file. I have just been listening to Radio 4 news in the car, and again the Corbyn supporters are saying the same thing, and that MPs who stand against him (such as Eagle) will have to answer to their constituency party.

Politics is a dirty game. It seems the first casualty of Brexit, will be Labour. Shredded, by abuse of the 'Democratic' process by a vociferous minority. I am not sure Her Majesty is going to get much value from Her Opposition for a while.

Jun 30, 2016 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Though I am obviously being presumptive. I would doubt Her Majesty would expect much value from Her Opposition having suffered such a p*** poor performance from both sides of Her Government over the last few decades.

I thank you for your tolerance Ma'am, long may you live, your successor does not yet project a steadying influence. Though to be fair he is young enough in mind, to someday, hopefully soon, train on?

Jun 30, 2016 at 12:51 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand
I would say that the majority of her subjects expect much value from their government either.

Jun 30, 2016 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Had an email from the Guardian saying they were after money from web users of the their site!

I suspect they will not be very successful

Jun 30, 2016 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards