All that matters

March 23, 2017

The feature on Harry Collins (“Authoritative testimony”, 9 March) says: “Building on the role of government scientific advisers, Collins and [Robert] Evans propose a detailed set of mechanisms for communicating the scientific consensus – and the strength of that consensus – to policymakers.”

In my opinion, anyone who uses the term “scientific consensus” immediately disqualifies themselves from being taken seriously. Consensus does not matter at all to science. All that matters is how well a hypothesis accounts for observations. If 99 or even 999 “scientists” believe that some hypothesis is correct and just a single scientist presents a hypothesis that better accounts for the observations, there is no question in science who is correct.

As for scientists giving their opinions to policymakers, that’s a dangerous path. Pretty soon you have scientists distorting their work in order to align it to the views of policymakers in an effort to garner more funding.


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