School Sucks Podcast #334: Scientific Consensus vs. Dissent (Part 1) – Introduction and Definitions

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Direct download: schoolsucks_2015-02-07T07_14_52-08_00.mp3

This show begins a series that will examine the concept of scientific consensus and contrast it with voices of the dissenters who find value in minority scientific opinions, theories and conclusions. It will also ask the question: is there any way to bridge the gap? Darrell Becker will be co-hosting all episodes in this series.

-Clarification of goals and definitions
-A healthy distrust of Academia
-Understand how science can be politicized, both ways
-Frustration with skeptics

-People are all coming to eventually form various conclusions based on personal and secondary/tertiary supportive evidence (including appeals to various authorities). Some folks seem to consider that there are verified opinions formed amongst a scientific majority (often erroneously called the “scientific consensus”).

-These theories and opinions are widely publicized in scientific periodicals which are widely used and distributed by the scientific academic communities in universities, those researchers who are beneficiaries of research grant funds, and are taught in such educational facilities and other venues

-Others have developed a healthy skepticism regarding the scientific majority opinions on a wide variety of topics. It seems that many of us “dissenters” prefer to have dissenting opinions (academically and tangibly) from some (but not all) of those conclusions held by the widely-published scientific majority

-Will some of us be dissenters forever?

-As dissenters to the majority opinion of widely-publicized scientists, many of us notice that many people who take the majority opinion can get very emotional when hearing criticism of the majority conclusion which was taught to them, which they independently discovered or which they merely heard of and conclude “must be true”.

-How Darrell came to “Liberty” through his studies of medicine

-Any idea in science carries the seeds of its own destruction

“My thesis is that the criteria by which individuals are deemed qualified or unqualified to become professionals involve not just technical knowledge as is generally assumed, but also attitude—in particular, attitude toward working within an assigned political and ideological framework. I contend, for example, that all tests of technical knowledge, such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), are at the same time tests of attitude and that the examinations used to assess professional qualification are no exception. I consider in detail how the neutral-looking technical questions on such examinations probe the candidate’s attitude.

The qualifying attitude, I find, is an uncritical, subordinate one, which allows professionals to take their ideological lead from their employers and appropriately fine-tune the outlook that they bring to their work. The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology. The political and intellectual timidity of today’s most highly educated employees is no accident.” -Jeff Schmidt Disciplined Minds : A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives.

Look Closer:
Darrell’s Site: Voluntary Visions –

Darrell’s Communication Glossary –

Disciplined Minds : A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives –

Scientific Consensus and the Argument From Authority –

T&H Trivium Resources –

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, the prophet of bacteriology –

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