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Groupthink theory is a behavioral science facet of sociology related to group pressure producing bad decisions and wrong conclusions for mainstream followers. This thread is about the negative effects of Groupthink theory on society, science, or any other aspect of group thinking which you wish to discuss.

 “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. ... Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the "outgroup".” Simply put, Groupthink often produces wrong conclusions and theory in any field of study.

Here on our X-Christ network I learned of Groupthink Theory again, and a link to it, as a postscript on Joshpantera’s postings. I wish to thank him for my reintroduction to Groupthink theory concerning all the ‘F’ ups and steps backwards as a result of Groupthink. From the old cliché, science is the process of “taking two steps forward and one step backwards,” also applicable to many other fields of study and circumstances as well. Upon my research of this and other related links I realized again all the countless problems and steps backward IMO that have been taken as the result of Groupthink theory in science.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

Groupthink Theory has been around since the early 1970”s but the phenomena has been around as long as human culture has existed.. Upon first hearing of Groupthink Theory, I didn’t give it the attention it deserved. At that time, as I have read, the theory was applied to Vietnam era thinking, to both the pros and anti Vietnam sentiments. I may have dismissed Groupthink theory then as being mainly sociology or political in nature. I then generally forgot about it.

Groupthink in religion

“Religion, pure and simple, is groupthink at its worst. The mass monopolization of people's hopes and fears coagulate into different indoctrinate directives. It doesn't matter what you believe, you're being swindled; robbed of rationality, precluded from choice, and contracted by apparition”

http://www.collegiatetimes.com/opinion/column-religion-is-nothing-more-than-groupthink/article_5505c1d9-7d56-580e-8e92-8069a9256218.html

 

Groupthink in science

 

“Commonly held ideas about science do not envisage the possibility that a scientific consensus could bring misguided policies and actions on a global scale. What most people know — think they know — about science is that its conclusions are based on solid evidence, and that the scientific method safeguards against getting things wrong, and that science that has been primarily responsible for civilization’s advances over the last few centuries.”

 

“Those things that most people know are also largely mistaken. Science is a human activity and is subject to all the frailties and fallibilities of any human activity. The scientific method and the way in which it is popularly described does not accurately portray how science is actually done.”

 

Science is not about finding a consensus of beliefs (mainstream theory), but rather about open discussion of alternatives and discovering the truth, however controversial. 

 

https://evolutionnews.org/2011/08/when_a_consensus_-_on_science/

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-groupthink-2795213

https://scimedskeptic.wordpress.com/tag/groupthink-in-science/

https://www.britannica.com/science/groupthink

 

My academic expertise concerns what I perceive to be the almost countless mistakes and problems with science theory, especially modern physics and Cosmology, most of which relate to the errant results of Groupthink theory. If you wish to talk about this subject, my answers could be quite informative.

 

Man-Made climate change and Global Warming as a classical example of Groupthink theory.

 

“Global Warming, A case study in groupthink:

 

"Climate certainty is baffling.

It is not baffling that so many scientists believe humanity might be to blame for global warming. If carbon dioxide causes warming, additional CO2 should produce additional warming. But it’s baffling that alarmist climate scientists are so certain that additional carbon dioxide will produce a climate disaster, even though there is little empirical evidence to support this view, and much evidence against it, including a decade of non-warming. This dogmatism makes it clear, at least to those outside the alarmist climate paradigm, that something is very wrong with the state of “consensus” climate science."

 

Concerning Groupthink theory in general: “….how do otherwise intelligent people come to believe such arrant nonsense despite its implausibility, internal contradictions, contradictory data, evident corruption and ludicrous policy implications. Booker convincingly shows the power of ‘groupthink’ to overpower the rational faculties that we would hope could play some role. The phenomenon of groupthink helps explain why ordinary working people are less vulnerable to this defect. After all, the group that the believers want to belong to is that of the educated elite.”

 

https://www.masterresource.org/debate-issues/climate-groupthink-booker/

https://capx.co/groupthink-on-climate-change-ignores-hard-facts/

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/global-warming-a-case-study-in-groupthink-booker/

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/why-climate-science-is-a-textbook-example-of-groupthink/

https://theconversation.com/groupthink-is-it-a-valid-argument-against-climate-science-123050

 

Covid 19 and the Dangers of Groupthink Theory, as to the Policies and actions taken

 

The almost countless other science based detriment to society and humanity other than solely medical considerations as to the death of the most vulnerable among us.

“Where Americans once thought for themselves, the government has taken control. Where Americans once decided on their own, bureaucrats have seized the reins…… What’s worse is the government has successfully turned those who want to think for themselves into Public Enemy Number One.”

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/leadership-in-covid-19-the-dangers-of-groupthink-in-crisis-leadership/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-future-self/202010/social-influence-groupthink-and-the-coronavirus

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-04-01/Groupthink-not-China-poses-the-biggest-threat-to-the-U-S--PkHy2V83tu/index.html

https://www.cebm.ox.ac.uk/news/views/leadership-in-covid-19-the-dangers-of-groupthink-in-crisis-leadership

 

 

 

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My impression is that "science" is not a set of models, but more a set of procedures that can produce those models, refine them and ultimately refute them. If any present theory, and I mean theory in

That's a good example of groupthink.   When you take good intentions and then try and politicize them, it often turns out nasty. Jordan Peterson pointed out that maternal instinct psychology

The psychology of groupthink is an important topic to explain the irrationality of public debate.  The media and the public generally operate at a tribal level, accepting arguments based on the author

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On 11/1/2020 at 5:31 PM, pantheory said:

Here on our X-Christ network I learned of Groupthink Theory again, and a link to it, as a postscript on Joshpantera’s postings. I wish to thank him for my reintroduction to Groupthink theory concerning all the ‘F’ ups and steps backwards as a result of Groupthink.

 

You're welcome! 

 

It's a very interesting analysis in my view. I actually picked up the article from @midniterider

 

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The psychology of groupthink is an important topic to explain the irrationality of public debate.  The media and the public generally operate at a tribal level, accepting arguments based on the authority of those who make them rather than the underlying basis of evidence.  Science seeks to overturn this fallacious tradition of argument by authority, but is itself quite susceptible to groupthink. 

 

The eminent scientist Richard Feynman defined science as "the belief in the ignorance of experts." (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, p.187).  Such rigorous scepticism about established authorities is the only way to advance knowledge, but is deeply unpopular and difficult.

 

On your point about climate science, I agree that the climate policy community suffers from groupthink, but I see it differently from your argument. 

 

The science of global warming is settled by basic physics.  However, the science of what we should do about it in response is highly contestable.  The tribal problem of the climate action community is that they elide from the settled science to the assertion that cutting emissions is the only way to stop global warming.

 

The emerging debate now is that geoengineering, by increasing reflection of sunlight and by mining carbon from the air, must play the main role in stabilising the planetary climate, while emission reduction is only marginal.  Annual emissions only add to the committed warming from past emissions by 2%, so the main warming problem is past emissions, which are not cut by cutting future emissions. 

 

That science confronts a strong groupthink reaction from the climate action community, who support the false 'moral hazard' argument that geoengineering only encourages more emissions and so must be banned. The problem with that argument against geoengineering is that the climate action line has confused means and ends.  Their goal should be a stable climate, but they see the only path to this as shutting down the fossil fuel industry.  Then the groupthink comes into play, since shutting down emissions (the means to the end of a stable climate) requires a strongly socialist political strategy, constructing a partisan divide between good and evil to build a "united popular front of progressive forces". 

 

Any merely scientific information cannot easily penetrate such a strong groupthink carapace.

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12 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The psychology of groupthink is an important topic to explain the irrationality of public debate.  The media and the public generally operate at a tribal level, accepting arguments based on the authority of those who make them rather than the underlying basis of evidence.  Science seeks to overturn this fallacious tradition of argument by authority, but is itself quite susceptible to groupthink. 

 

The eminent scientist Richard Feynman defined science as "the belief in the ignorance of experts." (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, p.187).  Such rigorous scepticism about established authorities is the only way to advance knowledge, but is deeply unpopular and difficult.

 

On your point about climate science, I agree that the climate policy community suffers from groupthink, but I see it differently from your argument. 

 

The science of global warming is settled by basic physics.  However, the science of what we should do about it in response is highly contestable.  The tribal problem of the climate action community is that they elide from the settled science to the assertion that cutting emissions is the only way to stop global warming.

 

The emerging debate now is that geoengineering, by increasing reflection of sunlight and by mining carbon from the air, must play the main role in stabilising the planetary climate, while emission reduction is only marginal.  Annual emissions only add to the committed warming from past emissions by 2%, so the main warming problem is past emissions, which are not cut by cutting future emissions. 

 

That science confronts a strong groupthink reaction from the climate action community, who support the false 'moral hazard' argument that geoengineering only encourages more emissions and so must be banned. The problem with that argument against geoengineering is that the climate action line has confused means and ends.  Their goal should be a stable climate, but they see the only path to this as shutting down the fossil fuel industry.  Then the groupthink comes into play, since shutting down emissions (the means to the end of a stable climate) requires a strongly socialist political strategy, constructing a partisan divide between good and evil to build a "united popular front of progressive forces". 

 

Any merely scientific information cannot easily penetrate such a strong groupthink carapace.

 

You and I have similar thinking on this matter. One difference in our thinking might be some kind of surety that we are in a period of global warming. Although I think it is likely, NASA has asserted that we are on a path toward global cooling, at least for the next 3 decades, because of reduced solar activity. I think more science needs to be done based upon solar activity. I also think we saw the same program about geoengineering climate change. I think this is a long shot but that more money needs to be spent on such research. My opinion also is that what we now call scientific information is also likely another facet of Groupthink gone wrong and is generally no more than opinion, some right, some wrong, in the guise of the certainty of science, having similarity to Richard Feynman's quote.

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6 hours ago, pantheory said:

Although I think it is likely, NASA has asserted that we are on a path toward global cooling...

 

I could swear they have been saying we are warming... I remember arguing about it with some previous members and they were basically calling NASA fake data and shills for agreeing with "globull warming".

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ITT there is a subtle, but crucial, difference between identifying authentic instances of groupthink and actively engaging in conspiracy theories.

We must be careful.

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2 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

I could swear they have been saying we are warming... I remember arguing about it with some previous members and they were basically calling NASA fake data and shills for agreeing with "globull warming".

 

Yes, the vast majority believe that global warming at the present time is real. Only a small minority still question to what extent man may be contributing to it. 

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2 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

I could swear they have been saying we are warming... I remember arguing about it with some previous members and they were basically calling NASA fake data and shills for agreeing with "globull warming".

Yes, as a scientific organisation, NASA takes an evidence based approach to understanding the planetary climate, and endorses the scientific assessment that the planet is rapidly warming due to human-caused CO2 emissions.

 

The climate effect of changes in solar radiation is miniscule compared to the effect of adding about 15 cubic kilometres of carbon to the air every year, as we now do.  NASA has a great website at https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ that sets out its views on climate change, explaining the scientific basis.

 

Where groupthink enters the picture is in the argument that switching from fossil fuel to renewables should be the main focus of climate policy.  That is a hypothesis that is far harder to base just on science, as it involves many political factors.

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1 hour ago, disillusioned said:

ITT there is a subtle, but crucial, difference between identifying authentic instances of groupthink and actively engaging in conspiracy theories.

We must be careful.

 

The misguided and wrong theories in science as a result of Groupthink are totally unrelated to conspiracies IMO. Few scientists have ever considered the possibility that science has been perverted by Groupthink. Maybe even fewer have considered the damaging effects of Groupthink involving religion and other aspects of society.

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19 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Yes, as a scientific organisation, NASA takes an evidence based approach to understanding the planetary climate, and endorses the scientific assessment that the planet is rapidly warming due to human-caused CO2 emissions.

 

The climate effect of changes in solar radiation is miniscule compared to the effect of adding about 15 cubic kilometres of carbon to the air every year, as we now do.  NASA has a great website at https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ that sets out its views on climate change, explaining the scientific basis.

 

Where groupthink enters the picture is in the argument that switching from fossil fuel to renewables should be the main focus of climate policy.  That is a hypothesis that is far harder to base just on science, as it involves many political factors.

 

Of course yours is the majority opinion, even at NASA. But the same fossil fuel burning that causes increased CO2 emission also causes global cooling, some believe even more so than the warming effects of increased CO2. The net effect of pollution would then be global cooling.  Do I believe it, maybe not but such an effect should not be discounted.

 

https://e360.yale.edu/features/air-pollutions-upside-a-brake-on-global-warming

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Where groupthink enters the picture is in the argument that switching from fossil fuel to renewables should be the main focus of climate policy.  That is a hypothesis that is far harder to base just on science, as it involves many political factors.

 

I agree that the "what should be done" is a tricky question.

 

My main concern when it comes to climate science is the outright denial that it's happening. If people don't accept it's happening then no solution will work.

 

I do read that some scientists are abandoning a "reduce carbon emissions" stance as it's gone too far already, and are adopting a "lets look at geoengineering"  view. I've heard that one such solution to the arctic is being explored where they essentially reflect the radiation back out into space to keep the air over the arctic cooler. The ide being that if you can stop a run away effect in the arctic you can mitigate a lot of the consequences down stream.

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13 minutes ago, pantheory said:

fossil fuel burning that causes increased CO2 emission also causes global cooling, some believe even more so than the warming effects of increased CO2. The net effect of pollution would then would be global cooling.

The cooling effect of pollution is far smaller than the warming effect of greenhouse gases.  The table below shows pollution as reducing radiative forcing by one watt per square metre.  That is less than one third of the warming effects that increase RF by more than three watts per square metre. 

  concentration-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere-

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The cooling effect of soot is far smaller than the warming effect of greenhouse gases.  The table below shows pollution as reducing radiative forcing by one watt per square metre, one third of the warming effects that increase RF by more than three watts per square metre. 

  concentration-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere-

 

 

 

Of course your link could be true and is the majority opinion, but others believe the effects of increased soot and aerosol pollutants can outweigh the global warming effects of increased CO2, as the link I posted suggests. Such is the case for volcanic eruptions where vast quantities of both increased CO2 and soot are emitted at the same time. Again I am not arguing against actions concerning global warming, only that possible undesirable global cooling effects should not be ignored in our abatement and possible geoengineering plans.

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2 hours ago, disillusioned said:

ITT there is a subtle, but crucial, difference between identifying authentic instances of groupthink and actively engaging in conspiracy theories.

We must be careful.

 

QFT. Was thinking exactly this.

 

Creationists claim that  'evolutionists' are all fallen prey to groupthink. No doubt flat earthers think the same. We cannot claim groupthink simply because we disagree with a particular consensus. 

 

Regarding solar irradiance causing the temperature rise:

 

2165

 

https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/189/graphic-temperature-vs-solar-activity/ 

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13 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

We cannot claim groupthink simply because we disagree with a particular consensus. 

Exactly.  To accuse opponents of groupthink requires strong evidence of their failure to consider relevant facts.  That is fairly easy for refuting the fantasies of popular religion, but very difficult when it comes to challenging a scientific consensus.  Groupthink only enters the picture as a possible psychological explanation when challenges to a consensus are rejected on political rather than evidentiary grounds.

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1 hour ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Creationists claim that  'evolutionists' are all fallen prey to groupthink.

The reality of course is that the groupthink involved in creationism is far worse than in evolution.

 

Yet there is likely to be some groupthink among evolutionists - not in the science of evolution but rather in the cultural attitudes such as contempt for religion that are widely associated with scientific belief.

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2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Exactly.  To accuse opponents of groupthink requires strong evidence of their failure to consider relevant facts.  That is fairly easy for refuting the fantasies of popular religion, but very difficult when it comes to challenging a scientific consensus.  Groupthink only enters the picture as a possible psychological explanation when challenges to a consensus are rejected on political rather than evidentiary grounds.

 

How many geologists, meteorologists, chemists etc. do you think have seriously considered and studied whether CO2 really causes global warming or that global warming is bad in the first place. Many have looked at Earth's records concerning global warming, sea levels etc. but practically none, I expect, at the most fundamental level. It's obvious that water is heated by the sun and will produce global warming. CO2 contains carbon which absorbs heat and can then radiate it. But is global warming really bad for the whole world? maybe?

 

https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2009/10/07/scientist-carbon-dioxide-doesnt-cause-global-warming

 

Let me change gears here a little if you don't mind? As a practicing scientist, I have seen what I consider to be catastrophic consequences of Groupthink in science by following mainstream beliefs like a religion, for instance. I write scientific papers in the field of cosmology and think that every single aspect of the Big Bang model, for instance, is wrong. That not one thing about the theory is correct. IMO the universe is not expanding, there is no dark energy, no dark matter, there was no era of Inflation, there was no hot beginning of the universe, the microwave background radiation we observe has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe etc. etc. And I believe there is as much or more evidence to back this up.  If every aspect of this theory were wrong, let's say, how could such a large group of very intelligent people come to believe this theory is true? How could so much money and time be wasted on such folly and pure imagination?  The answer IMO is simply the effects of Groupthink. The biggest negative of Groupthink may be its suppression of opposing ideas. If opposing ideas are wrong, in time they will fade away and lose consideration because of evidence to the contrary, but should they initially be discounted without at least some serious consideration because they contradict existing ideas?

 

A mainstream theory is built upon majority opinion, little by little, until the theory becomes big, important, and lots of money is being spent on it rather than possible alternatives. My suggestion is that we, as a group or society, should spend a little more time and effort, thinking of, and looking at/ for alternatives with Groupthink theory in mind concerning mainstream ideas. Taking at least some time, effort, and funding away from mainstream ideas and proposals to seriously look at what we may first consider to be totally wrong proposals. My problem is not just with the Big Bang model, but with almost every aspect of modern physics and everywhere in science and elsewhere where it seems to me that Groupthink theory might be at play.  Not that mainstream ideas are necessarily wrong, but that possible alternatives are not seriously considered and often dismissed as nonsense when it is totally contrary to everything that we have heard or studied. When a lot is at stake, if we are wrong one way or the other, shouldn't we at least carefully look at such obstinate ideas via their pros and cons? Most people cannot.

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9 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

The misguided and wrong theories in science as a result of Groupthink are totally unrelated to conspiracies IMO. Few scientists have ever considered the possibility that science has been perverted by Groupthink. Maybe even fewer have considered the damaging effects of Groupthink involving religion and other aspects of society.

 

I disagree almost entirely.

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On 11/3/2020 at 10:58 PM, Robert_Tulip said:

That science confronts a strong groupthink reaction from the climate action community, who support the false 'moral hazard' argument that geoengineering only encourages more emissions and so must be banned. The problem with that argument against geoengineering is that the climate action line has confused means and ends.  Their goal should be a stable climate, but they see the only path to this as shutting down the fossil fuel industry.  Then the groupthink comes into play, since shutting down emissions (the means to the end of a stable climate) requires a strongly socialist political strategy, constructing a partisan divide between good and evil to build a "united popular front of progressive forces". 

 

Any merely scientific information cannot easily penetrate such a strong groupthink carapace.

 

That's a good example of groupthink.

 

When you take good intentions and then try and politicize them, it often turns out nasty. Jordan Peterson pointed out that maternal instinct psychology plays a big role in how these types of groupthink tend to play out. It's similar to a mother bear or any animal trying to protect it's offspring. The 'protecting dynamic' can become violent and deadly in some cases. The end (violence and / or verbal polemic) justifies the means of trying to protect people. This goes for riots or even just the general negative talking points towards people viewed as contrary to the party line way of thinking. 

 

Without going into a political direction, I think we can discuss some of these issues from a scientific or soft science (psychological) direction. Partisanship spans science, religion, and politics alike: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/partisanship

 

One reaction that I see to this case study of groupthink, is that it will often be resisted by others who see it as a negative cloaked in a positive outfit. And don't buy into the narratives. That can lead to further issues of denial and conspiracy theory on the more extreme spectrum of resisting a given groupthink narrative. 

 

Disagree with narrative ------- deny the existence of narrative basis ------- claim that the narrative is an elaborate conspiracy

 

And with global warming or any similar number of issues, you can see people fall into these general categories of opinion. And I think that the groupthink factor drives a lot of it, because if you simply pick up on some kind of groupthink in progress, even if you don't understand the details at play, the whole thing can become very off putting. You can't put your finger on it, but somethings not right. There's something wrong about what what everyone is claiming or doing. This is the way I felt as a freshman dorm student at academy. Something was very wrong with the group, but I didn't know the details. I just knew that everyone was going with the crowd and peer pressuring everyone else to go along with the crowd as well.  All while preaching not to go with the crowd and asking questions like, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do the same?" Never even realizing that calling everyone up front to the stage to show that they, "love jesus," is the very same thing - peer pressure to groupthink. 

 

I think it's very similar with partisanship and groupthink in science and politics. Most of it is done unconsciously and with a lot of cognitive dissonance involved in it. 

 

 

 

 

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I heard of a theory called complex systems theory. What I understood is that stuff which are complex systems like climate, like human anatomy, which involve huge amounts of particles in a dynamic, present major problems in determining causality. Like, now, with all the science, covid effects still dumbfound many specialists. So it is good to have reservations about cause and effect. And many ppl collate simple systems with complex systems. This seems plausible.

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6 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

I disagree almost entirely.

 

You're a smart guy so I respect your disagreement. Maybe I could have reworded my beliefs that you quoted above so that you wouldn't have almost entirely disagreed with them :).

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14 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

How many geologists, meteorologists, chemists etc. do you think have seriously considered and studied whether CO2 really causes global warming or that global warming is bad in the first place. Many have looked at Earth's records concerning global warming, sea levels etc. but practically none, I expect, at the most fundamental level. It's obvious that water is heated by the sun and will produce global warming. CO2 contains carbon which absorbs heat and can then radiate it. But is global warming really bad for the whole world? maybe?

 

https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2009/10/07/scientist-carbon-dioxide-doesnt-cause-global-warming

 

Let me change gears here a little if you don't mind? As a practicing scientist, I have seen what I consider to be catastrophic consequences of Groupthink in science by following mainstream beliefs like a religion, for instance. I write scientific papers in the field of cosmology and think that every single aspect of the Big Bang model, for instance, is wrong. That not one thing about the theory is correct. IMO the universe is not expanding, there is no dark energy, no dark matter, there was no era of Inflation, there was no hot beginning of the universe, the microwave background radiation we observe has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe etc. etc. And I believe there is as much or more evidence to back this up.  If every aspect of this theory were wrong, let's say, how could such a large group of very intelligent people come to believe this theory is true? How could so much money and time be wasted on such folly and pure imagination?  The answer IMO is simply the effects of Groupthink. The biggest negative of Groupthink may be its suppression of opposing ideas. If opposing ideas are wrong, in time they will fade away and lose consideration because of evidence to the contrary, but should they initially be discounted without at least some serious consideration because they contradict existing ideas?

 

A mainstream theory is built upon majority opinion, little by little, until the theory becomes big, important, and lots of money is being spent on it rather than possible alternatives. My suggestion is that we, as a group or society, should spend a little more time and effort, thinking of, and looking at/ for alternatives with Groupthink theory in mind concerning mainstream ideas. Taking at least some time, effort, and funding away from mainstream ideas and proposals to seriously look at what we may first consider to be totally wrong proposals. My problem is not just with the Big Bang model, but with almost every aspect of modern physics and everywhere in science and elsewhere where it seems to me that Groupthink theory might be at play.  Not that mainstream ideas are necessarily wrong, but that possible alternatives are not seriously considered and often dismissed as nonsense when it is totally contrary to everything that we have heard or studied. When a lot is at stake, if we are wrong one way or the other, shouldn't we at least carefully look at such obstinate ideas via their pros and cons? Most people cannot.

 

 

Pantheory,

 

I have two points to make in this post.  I submit that opposing ideas do not fade away from the minds of those who oppose the status quo.  This was seen when Michael Behe took the stand in the Kitzmiller vs Dover case.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

 

At one point 54 science textbooks were piled up in front him as an example of the weight of evidence for evolutionary theory.  His response was that they were 'not good enough evidence’ to change his mind. Which prompts the question, how much evidence would have been "good enough" to persuade him of the reality of evolution?  Probably NO amount of evidence ever would.  That's because he's not willing to look at the evidence with an open mind.  His religious views colour his thinking.

 

And this is the sticking point.  One that applies not just to Creationists or Climate Change Denialists, but to anyone who denies the validity of mainstream scientific evidence.  We have seen it time and again in this forum. Belief always trumps evidence.  Not just religious or political belief, but excessive self-belief too.   A person with a superabundance of self-belief can believe that they alone have the key to properly understanding reality, while the rest of the world can’t and/or won’t acknowledge their genius. No amount of evidence that contradicts what they believe to be true would ever persuade them.  As such, these people are not and will not look at the evidence with an open mind.  They are blinded by their self-belief just as much as a religious person is blinded by their faith.  

 

The person behind this site is a good example.  http://www.newtonugeam.com/index.html

 

Given enough chutzpah a person can genuinely believe that they can rewrite all mainstream science, shaping it to their liking and rubbishing the efforts of millions of mainstream scientists in the process.  The citizen scientist Ramesh Varma certainly thinks this way. 

 

Which brings me on to my second point, Pantheory.  

 

You suggest taking time and money away from mainstream science to investigate the claims of people like Varma.  The question is, how can what is correct and what is incorrect be decided?  Varma and yourself and thousands of other ‘alternative’ scientists consider only themselves to be correct.  Any attempt to judge who is right and who is wrong will simply generate a fresh bout of anger and suspicion from those consider their genius to still be unrecognized.  The time and money would be wasted because its impossible to satisfy thousands of unrecognized geniuses who all claim that they alone are right and everyone else is wrong.

 

So I agree with Disillusioned and disagree with almost everything you say here.

 

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Walter,

 

It's not how much "evidence" there is, it's the quality of the evidence that counts. Let's take the theory of natural selection, for instance. There is a mountain of evidence to support it. No one in their right mind would deny most of the evidence similar to the Earth is round fact. I would bet my life against a six pack that the general theory of natural selection is valid. But a main question of evolution theory is whether natural selection is the main driver of evolutionary processes. Again, myself and nearly all of those in the field of biology believe that it is. But there are other known driving factors and possibilities including unknowns that someday may prove to be maybe a little more important than natural selection, so certainty should somewhat be mollified when those of knowledge might now or someday have a different opinion concerning the most important driving factor of evolution, for instance.

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Pantheory,

 

Your post doesn't address the two points I raised for your attention.

 

 

The first concerns the self-deluding nature of overly strong belief.

 

Unwavering belief, whether religious or just in one's own abilities, can blind a person to the highest quality of evidence.

 

I know that you accept that overly strong religious belief does this.

 

So please tell me if you think an excessive belief in one's own abilities can do this too.

 

Do you accept that it can?

 

 

Please also address my second point.

 

How do you propose to fairly judge between thousands of people, all of whom firmly believe that only they are right and all others are wrong?

 

 

Thank you,

 

Walter.

 

 

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1 hour ago, WalterP said:

Pantheory,

 

Your post doesn't address the two points I raised for your attention.

 

 

The first concerns the self-deluding nature of overly strong belief.

 

Unwavering belief, whether religious or just in one's own abilities, can blind a person to the highest quality of evidence.

 

I know that you accept that overly strong religious belief does this.

 

So please tell me if you think an excessive belief in one's own abilities can do this too.

 

Do you accept that it can?

 

 

Please also address my second point.

 

How do you propose to fairly judge between thousands of people, all of whom firmly believe that only they are right and all others are wrong?

 

 

Thank you,

 

Walter.

 

 

Of course I believe in my own theories in physics since I've lived with them for over 60 years with little changes to them considering all the new evidence. But  IMO "overly strong" belief in theories should have no place as a part of intellect or open mindedness. Absolute open-mindedness is the back breaker of Groupthink.

 

As to your second point, because millions of people of high intellect believe in the truth of a certain theory, is of little importance to me concerning the validity of an argument.

 

Argumentum ad Populum

 

All my leanings are instead based upon what I consider to be well thought-out  interpretations of the observations involved. 

 

 

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