Consensus Is NOT Proof!

To paraphrase what lots of people seem to believe about consensus equalling proof:

“My theory is peer-reviewed! So it is true!”

That is not proof that it is true. That is simply an appeal to authority. There are many things in peer-reviewed papers that are clearly not true, especially in physics today.

Now, I think I might have gone over this before, but it bears repeating.

Any number of people agreeing with something does not in any way itself suggest that X is true. Truth is not a matter of consensus, it is a matter of concordance with reality. If it was, the fact that millions of people thought the Earth used to be flat would have meant that it was so. Nonetheless, it was and is a sphere.

If you want to argue X is true, present the evidence. The fact that people believe it, regardless of their authority, is not an argument. At best, if you can show that if enough reputable authorities believe X, then a layman can assume it very well might be true.

Peer-reviews are conducted by people. And those people are fallible and can hold incorrect premises that lead them to make the wrong conclusions. In fact, a peer-review is only as good as the dominant philosophical premises and expertise of its members.

It works both ways. Even if something is not peer-reviewed, that does not mean it is not true or that because it is rejected by a peer-review, that it is not true. What matters is its concordance with reality.

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