This is something the late author and physician Michael Crichton addressed during a guest lecture at Cal Tech back in 2003.
I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.Crichton went on to list a number of major failures in regards to “consensus science”, some of which caused the loss of many lives. Others destroyed careers, even though later it was discovered that those who went against the consensus were right and everyone else was wrong.
Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.
The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus: Period.
Albert Einstein had his own take on consensus, having once stated “It doesn't matter if ten thousand scientists agree with me. It only takes one to prove me wrong.” One of the smartest men in the modern era understood the fallacy of consensus science.
And this is the weakness of the 'theory' of Anthropogenic Global Warming. At the moment it's all consensus and no hard proofs. People, many of them non-scientists, look at some of the presented data and see a correlation between global average temperatures and the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. They come to the conclusion that the increase in carbon dioxide is the cause of the temperature rise. They've fallen into the Correlation Trap. Unfortunately, so have some of the so-called climate scientists, like Al Gore.
As anyone who deals with data and statistics can tell you, correlation does not imply causality. This means just because two factors correlate to each other does not automatically mean that one caused the other. There may be other factors that affect both and cause the correlation but have not been discovered, or have been discounted through ignorance, bias, or conscious decision.
Another possibility the correlation may show but that the warmists have chosen to ignore: CO2 concentrations have changed because of changing temperatures, something ice core samples from Antarctica have shown to be the case over the past 400,000 years, where CO2 levels have lagged temperature changes, not led them. By why should they let that data change the narrative? After all the 'consensus' is that it's all our fault, meaning no further discussion is needed or wanted.
Yeah, that will work out well for all of us.