Tags » Appeal To Authority

When to Doubt a Scientific Consensus

  • Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune to the non-rational dynamics of the herd. Many false ideas enjoyed consensus opinion at one time.
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Michael Lawrence Langan, M.D. reblogged this on Disrupted Physician and commented:

The 12-red flags below are very applicable to American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) related consensus and public policy.    When viewed through this lens the science and research all falls apart. (1) When different claims get bundled together. (2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate. (3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line. (4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish. (5) When dissenting opinions are excluded from the relevant peer-reviewed literature not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but as part of a strategy to marginalize dissent. (6) When the actual peer-reviewed literature is misrepresented. (7) When consensus is declared hurriedly or before it even exists. (8) When the subject matter seems, by its nature, to resist consensus. (9) When “scientists say” or “science says” is a common locution. (10) When it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies. (11) When the “consensus” is maintained by an army of water-carrying journalists who defend it with uncritical and partisan zeal, and seem intent on helping certain scientists with their messaging rather than reporting on the field as objectively as possible. (12) When we keep being told that there’s a scientific consensus.

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Michael Lawrence Langan, M.D. reblogged this on Disrupted Physician and commented:

IMG_6274 2 The validity and reliability of opinions lie in their underlying methodology and evidence base. Reliance on the personal authority of any expert or group of experts is the fallacy of appeal to authority. I have asthma but that does not make me a Pulmonologist.  That addiction “specialist” diagnosing and treating you may have 5 years prior been a proctologist; and maybe not even a very good one at that. Somewhere there may be doctor with no post-graduate training in surgery wielding a scalpel and calling himself an expert surgeon, but it is difficult to imagine that he is a very good one. http://disruptedphysician.com/2014/11/18/disrupted-physician-101-2-for-what-its-worth-appeal-to-authority-and-the-logical-fallacy-of-special-or-secret-knowledge/   Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.12.01 AM [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]Addiction Medicine: The Birth of a New Discipline Somehow, I don't think this is quite what they had in mind!

Thinking Clearly, Part 1

Have you ever heard someone say something like this, “Evolution must be true because Dr. Smith, my biology professor, teaches it as a fact” ?  It’s obvious that “Dr. 401 more words

Clue Of The Week

Dodging arguments - Appeals to Authority

I was listening to a radio discussion about correct Bible interpretation.  One of the three men dismissed the entire conversation with this comment:

“There’s something wrong about 3 white guys talking about how to understand the Bible!” 413 more words


Are all beliefs equal? Part 6

Phew!  After a lengthy wander through the forest of religious and factual beliefs we are almost out the other side.  In this post I address the final two characteristics of Van Leeuwen’s religious credences and summarise our journey.   1,523 more words