However, when one considers how consensus can influence areas beyond science, it is rare for scientific consensus to lead to political change. It is even rarer for the public to reflect the same convergence as the experts. When I wrote this blog, I realized that there were more questions to ask than “How many times do scientists agree?” What we should really ask is: what steps should we take with the current knowledge we have, even if it is incomplete, as in the case of GMOs? And who should have the power to rule on an issue if a scientific community fails to agree on a controversy, as with Pluto? The following page lists the nearly 200 global scientific organizations that defend the position that climate change is due to human action. www.opr.ca.gov/facts/list-of-scientific-organizations.html I refer in particular to the full range of vaccines that many of us receive in childhood against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The fear today that these vaccines will cause autism in children was initiated in 1998 by a single study. Hundreds of studies followed to test the claims of this paper. A thorough review showed that none of them were able to find a link between MMR vaccines and autism. The original 1998 study has since been unmasked for alarming reasons, including lack of statistical significance (it assessed only 12 children), conflicts of interest and ethical breaches. The scientific consensus on this issue is now clear: vaccines do not cause autism. Yes, the vast majority of climate scientists who actively publish — 97% agree that humans are responsible for global warming and climate change. Most of the world`s major scientific organizations have issued public statements, including international and American scientific academies, the United Nations Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change, and a range of serious scientific bodies around the world. A list of these organizations can be find here.
Consensus allows scientists to mix the accepted knowledge of scientific research that has taken place over time. Therefore, a scientific theory is the final product derived from comprehensive research that combines all the current valid evidence to explain a wide range of phenomena (scientific observations). A scientific theory is the most powerful explanation that scientists have to offer. In summary, science research focuses on probability rather than safety. Scientists accept that not all scientists need to know and remain objective and that they must remain open to other possibilities for conducting scientific research. Consensus is achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, the replication of results reproducible by other scientific debates and peer review.