Group Behaviour

30 Dec 2011

The phoney CAGW alarmism has given us all an upfront view of group behaviour. It is not so much something that has bitten the legs off the plebs but has mainly been prominent amongs the educated classes - not just here in the UK but in North America, in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. Some blogsters and posters see it through a political lens but it is somewhat odd that even scientists have been caught up in the same malaise - or is it that odd? At the anthropological blog site www.johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/metascience/couzin-decision-out-of-afric... he wonders why the Out of Africa hypothesis has taken hold so strongly, a consensus piece of science that is not based on 'real' facts. The analogy with CAGW is obvious and not least that under the political magnifying glass some of the same kinds of people are involved. Those disputing Out of Africa, like those decrying CAGW, are portrayed as not simply old fashioned as far as motives are concerned but guilty of the extremity in viewpoint and attitude, debunked at a personal level rather than at a data level. Consensus rules - Out of Africa is the fashionable meme and John Hawks is not amused. How did this come about when it was just a few short years ago (he must be getting on as it has dominated for a couple of decades at least) one hypothesis among several others. He concludes that it was once a minority opinion that has blossomed, negating the multi regional evolution theory. He suggests it came about when most of the important paleo-anthropologists and geneticists decided to 'sit on the fence' - and allowed a vociferous minority to dominate the debate. We are of course talking solely about scientists here - but science was used to push the CAGW debate into public view. The majority of physicists, geologists, and other scientists have sat out the CAGW debate, and rarely make a comment - but they contribute by paying lip service to the general group behaviour. The plebs on the other hand were always more realistic - they saw CAGW as a means by which the better off could push down the aspirations of the Oiks. It seems that because facts are now coming home to roost which contradict both CAGW and Out of Africa their days might be numbered - and consensus dogma is about to meet its payday. Or is that wishful thinking?