Consensus in Science

If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus.
Michael Crichton

I recently read the quote above by Michael Crichton — and it pretty much sums up my opinion of consensus in science. I usually refer to Thomas Henry Huxley’s “Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.”, but Crichton nails it as well.

Turns out this quotation is from a speech, which is also cited in the one-page editorial titled “Consensus Science and the Peer Review” by Jorge R. Barrio. And yeah, the editorial is well worth reading.

As easy as it would be, and as grave as problems are seen — science must not become instrumentalized by politics, or, even worse, activism. Science must not lose its integrity, its search for truth — knowing it can never be sure to have found it.

Science is not a cudgel for mission-creep-happy activists.


Linked Article: Barrio, J. R. (2009). Consensus science and the peer review. Molecular Imaging and Biology, 11(5), 293–293.