Once any theory becomes “consensus,” it can be very hard to change or ever challenge it, and in some cases, can even be dangerous and risky to the person who does.
Human beings are pack animals, so they are wired to follow their herd, cooperate, comply, and oppose (through censoring, canceling, capturing, or even killing) any “outliers” who question or contradict the herd’s “consensus,” especially as it relates to “science,” as defined by the herd “leaders.”
Here are just a few of history’s most significant scientific discoveries that changed the prevailing “consensus” at the time, thanks to “outliers” who were brave enough to challenge it.
Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician in the mid 1800’s who is famous for his work on childbed fever, a disease that was killing many women who had just given birth. Semmelweis hypothesized that the doctors and medical students were carrying some sort of infectious material from the cadavers they dissected in the morgue to the delivery room, and that this was causing the high rate of childbed fever.
To test his hypothesis, Ignaz implemented a strict handwashing protocol. The deaths dropped dramatically, from around 10% to less than 1%. Semmelweis published his findings in 1847, but his ideas were met with resistance from many of his colleagues, who, through “consensus,” refused to believe that something as simple as handwashing could prevent disease. He was also accused of being disrespectful to his fellow physicians and was fired from his job at the hospital.
Semmelweis continued to promote his handwashing protocol, but his efforts were largely ignored. He became increasingly outspoken on his theory, knowing that it was saving lives, until his colleagues committed him against his will, to an insane asylum, where he died just two weeks later, at the age of 47 after a brutal breathing from the guards.
Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, who in 1610, used telescope observations of the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter to support the idea that the Earth was round. However, he faced opposition from the Catholic Church, which at the time supported the “consensus” of a flat Earth. Galileo was censored and eventually tried by the Inquisition which forced him to recant his support of the round earth theory. Perhaps even more interesting was the fact that Nicholas Copernicus came up with this theory over 150 years prior to Galileo, but due to the “consensus” at the time, never gained traction, showing how “consensus” can override valid new scientific observations and theories for generations.
Pierre Louis, a French physician in the mid-1800s, published his contrary views on the value of bloodletting, a technique used worldwide for thousands of years, with a widely established “consensus” on its effectiveness.
Few were questioning this age-old “proven” technique. Pierre was among the first to rigorously test the efficacy of bloodletting and other traditional medical practices using scientific methods. His studies showed that bloodletting was ineffective and even harmful, and he argued that physicians should rely instead on careful observation and scientific analysis to guide their medical practice, which, of course, offended these proud physicians, and brought fierce criticism to Pierre.
Gradually, bloodletting fell out of favor, and was completely abandoned by the 1900’s because it was indeed proven to do more harm than good (thanks to Pierre’s courage to question it), even in spite of its long history and belief in its effectiveness.
Below is a video excerpt from a Del Bigtree interview with scientist Neil DeGrass Tyson on the subject of consensus, where you can see this phenomenon on display, almost to the point of panic, as Neil senses his views are threatened by dissenting opinions from highly esteemed physicians and scientists.
As you can see, Del was merely trying to point out that none of these highly esteemed physicians and scientists were invited to the table to contribute to forming the “consensus” Neil so firmly believed in (and those experts were, in fact, canceled, censored, and some even stripped of their credentials for questioning that “consensus”).
Neil’s only reply/deflection was to tell Del to bring them to HIS table, which Neil obviously didn’t realize Del already had. But even in doing so, it didn’t help to include them in the “consensus” because they were black-listed from being bold enough to question it.
If the “consensus” is only allowing “yes men” to contribute to it, and no one is allowed to question or challenge it, that makes it anti-science because real science loves being questioned (the basis of the scientific theory) and invites challenges, no matter who is challenging or where it is coming from. Period. Full stop.
Otherwise, it’s called a controlled narrative, coming from an agenda, created by a source benefiting from that agenda. Period. Full Stop.
4/17/23 Update: Here’s a great article I just stumbled across, on the same topic and worth a read: