This is an answer to part of an article written by a person called The Last Contrarian, published on the 3rd of October 2013, at 07:44. http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Creationism-Is-CRUCIAL-to-Science-20131003
Scientific consensus is not what people such as The Last Contrarian thinks it is.
The Last Contrarian writes:
A lot of established science hides in the grey areas that exist only because of a consensus (mere mass opinion amongst scientists) and speculation. These grey areas, in particular, must be attacked so that we can get the complacent experts who explain things from their own uncertainty to either back up their claims with evidence or discovery, or retract / rephrase their unfounded assertions and find a more suitable occupation.
No. Scientific consensus is not ‘mere mass opinion amongst scientists’, at all. That’s not how scientific consensus works.
Scientific consensus is obtained by research. Published conclusions obtained from data.
Scientific consensus is reached when each person researching their own part of the myriad of sub-disciplines in a subject publishes their results and those conclusions reach consensus.
Together with not even one paper being able to refute the research of the other people.
I can give an example on climate change.
100% of all papers published agree that climate change is occurring.
Around 97 % of published papers reached the conclusion that humans contribute to climate change. Of the other 3%, they did not refute human-induced climate change, they just did not support the notion that it was human-induced, but happens regardless of humans’ intervention.
That’s scientific consensus.
Here is one source to look at: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm
In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them. A survey of 928 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004).
A follow-up study by the Skeptical Science team of over 12,000 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subjects of 'global warming' and 'global climate change' published between 1991 and 2011 found that of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming, over 97% agreed that humans are causing it (Cook 2013). The scientific authors of the papers were also contacted and asked to rate their own papers, and again over 97% whose papers took a position on the cause said humans are causing global warming.
In science, as in all other aspects of life, a small percentage of scientists would be crazy, or never change their views regardless of facts or devoutly religious never accepting anything contrary to their views and/or all of the above. The scientific method eliminates those as far as possible.
That's one of the reasons the thousands of people venting off by writing nonsense on websites or in religious 'articles' are not even considered. Data counts.
The results of research are accepted. That’s why science is accepted; not believed.
That is scientific consensus.