Michael Crichton, MD on Consensus Science

Michael Crichton, MD on Consensus Science

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

— Michael Crichton, MD, best-selling author, producer, director and screenwriter



One Response to "Michael Crichton, MD on Consensus Science"

  1. Jack   March 6, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    This shows he was mostly an ideologue. Consensus is needed for branches of science that can’t be proved 100% in a laboratory, and precautionary principles must apply. We can’t wait around to fully prove global warming, nor should we when signs are already obvious.

    Consensus requires context. The weight and intelligence of the people doing the science must be factored in. Crichton got too far out of his own discipline, and he never actually practiced medicine, either. Fitting that he was a storyteller, not a true science worker.


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