"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.
Excerpt continued below from Michael Crichton's State of Fear: Author's Notes:
Read the whole bit here starting on page 49 of the PDF: http://webcontent.harpercollins.com/text/excerpts/pdf/0060820640.pdf
"In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of.
Let’s review a few cases. In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth. One woman in six died of this puerperal fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and that he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes presented compelling evidence that puerperal fever was contagious, but the consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored his findings, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent “skeptics” around the world—skeptics who were demeaned and ignored, despite the constant ongoing deaths of women."