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“”Extreme political or religious conflicts resolve by war. Extreme scientific conflicts resolve by a search for better data.
|—Neil deGrasse Tyson|
Scientific consensus is what most scientists in a particular field of study agree is true on a given question, when disagreement on the question is limited and insignificant.
The consensus may or may not turn out to be confirmed by further research. When it is, a hypothesis becomes known as a (lower-case) theory, or, given enough time and evidence, an (upper case) Theory, such as Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Numerous times in the history of science one theory has been superseded by another as anomalies or counter-examples accrued over time and the scientific community has discarded an older theory in favor of a new theory which accounted for more of the data in a more satisfactory way. This often occurs as the result of improvements in the accuracy of the instruments used to observe, record and measure phenomena.
Pseudoscience advocates tend to see scientific consensus as just an argument from authority (or even a conspiracy). This is a twisting of science was wrong before and the Galileo gambit — that since the notion of falsifiability exists (no theory can never be fully certain) we should then ignore the mountains of literature already available.
Portraying scientific consensus as a form of majoritarian rule is hilarious for two reasons: a) the scientific community's inherent role is to keep a check on popularly-held (either right or wrong) opinions; and b) if one study is proven correct over mainstream academic thought, it will eventually become the new consensus.
 See also
- Essay:Scientific consensus for a more thorough examination of this topic
- Steven Novella explores the issue of scientific consensus.
- The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus in acceptance of science, Psychology Today
- ↑ Hostility towards scientific consensus: A sign of a crank, Respectful Insolence
- ↑ Scheufele, Dietram. "Communicating science in social settings." PNAS 110(3), 2013.