The perception of the desirability of a scientific consensus on a particular topic and the strength of that conception has been described as a “bridging belief” on which other beliefs and then action are based.  I am specifically referring to the multitude of vaccines that many of us receive as children against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The modern fear that these vaccines could cause autism in children was started by a single study from 1998. Hundreds of studies followed to test the claims in this paper. A thorough review showed that none of them were able to establish a link between MMR vaccines and autism. Since then, the original 1998 study has been unmasked for an alarming number of reasons, including lack of statistical significance (it assessed only 12 children), conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. The scientific consensus on this is clear as day: vaccines do not cause autism. Several studies published in scientific journals1 show that 97% or more of climate scientists who actively publish *: global warming trends of the last century are likely due to human activity. In addition, most of the world`s leading scientific organizations have made public statements supporting this position. Below is an incomplete list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded Pluto from its planetary status in 2006. The IAU is an accredited scientific organization, so do you think the decision would have been the result of a significant consensus in this area, don`t you? Not quite.
It turned out that planetary experts were completely divided on this case. Scientific theories are not just guesses. They are subjected to exhaustive and reproducible tests. Some theories do not pass these tests and are rejected. But many theories are successful in light of these tests. It is these theories – the ones that work – that reach a consensus within the scientific community. Reaching consensus allows scientists to merge the accepted results of scientific research that have taken place over time. Therefore, a scientific theory is the end product of comprehensive research that combines all the most current and valid evidence to explain a wide range of phenomena (scientific observations). A scientific theory is the most powerful explanation that scientists have to offer. Consensus from time to time, politicians and the public are always invited to vote on new rules on GMOs. A requirement to label foods as GMOs was introduced in Congress and appeared earlier on ballots in Washington and California. Without a coherent response from the scientific community, people – myself included – often remain undecided.
But what is worrying is that we are always invited to make voting decisions on their use. *Technically, a “consensus” is a general consensus, but the scientific method directs us towards an objective framework. In science, facts or observations are explained by a hypothesis (a statement about a possible explanation of a natural phenomenon) that can then be tested and tested again until it is refuted (or refuted). . . .