Some on the anti-science right never run out of ways to repeat their absurd arguments that scientists are generally wrong and consensus statements should be ignored. The latest news report to generate such a claim comes from a report in The New York Times. New fossil evidence suggests that once again we have to rearrange the exact pathway in the evolution of modern man.
This is hardly anything new. Dealing with limited evidence from fossils there has always been controversy over the exact pathway, and different views have been predominant at different times. Scientists are quite aware of the limitations of our knowledge here and this report is hardly revolutionary.
The rather misnamed Astute Boggers tries to adapt this to their anti-scientific beliefs on climate change:
These two cases shod;l stand as a warning to anyone and everyone who argues that “warmening”/AGW must be true because “it’s the scientific consensus!”
What is the PC theory at any given time is subject to change because CONSENSUS IS NOT PROOF.
Only the scientific method can offer proof.
Other than that logical arguments and logical conjectures merely make one hypothesis more plausible than another.
We should not wreck our economy and our industries and allow the federal government – or any “world government” to have more control over our lives and liberty because many scientists find one theory more plausible than another. That’s merely “scientific consensus” and it should carry little to no weight in the political realm. Because it is subject to change.
Their first error here is in the misuse of consensus. There has never been a consensus on the pathway of human evolution which is comparable to the consensus on climate change. Many scientific viewpoints do change. A consensus as strong as that on global warming is not very likely to.
The next error is that they are confusing ideology with science. Their political biases are clear as they repeat the usual right wing talking points about “world government” and loss of liberty which are totally irrelevant to the scientific viewpoint. They have bought the right wing propaganda as to what the solution to climate change would be. As they do not like what they falsely believe is the solution, they respond by denying the scientific facts.
Their final error is in thinking the possibility that science can be wrong means that there is a high likelihood that the science is wrong and it can be ignored. Considering that a consensus agreement of this magnitude is very unlikely to be wrong, and considering the consequences if the scientists are right, it is hardly worth risking the survival of much of the planet on the fantasies of a bunch of right wingers with a flat earth mentality. Even if global warming does not turn out to be a serious problem, we would still benefit by changes which would result in energy independence–and which do not require a “world government” taking control of our lives.