Why science should listen to “lone genius” dissenting voices

The concept of the “mad scientist” with crazy hair who dallies about the lab mixing chemical-filled beakers has become something of a stereotypical image in the public mind. That’s because entertainment and media almost always portray scientists as “lone geniuses” who rely solely only on their own intellects and imaginations to come up with new theories or proofs. But is this actually the case? Or a better question might be: Are these lone genius voices something to be ignored simply because they might not coincide with the consensus?

History shows us that the so-called dissenting voices who appear in the history books (and on television and in movies) who have gone it alone in making some groundbreaking discovery actually had close contacts with whom they corroborated. While they may have contradicted the prevailing views of their day, these individual scientists were able to make the discoveries they did precisely because they went against the grain.

This seems to be the way real science works, after all. The scientific consortium gets comfortable within the confines of its own dogmatic views – to its own detriment. Science grows stale in such environments until along comes a lone genius to shake things up. There are many examples of this throughout the course of time, one prominent example being Sir Isaac Newton. Newton, of course, is credited as being one of the fathers of modern physics – if not its proverbial patriarch.

But just like many other genius scientists, Newton is also pegged in the history books as having preferred to work alone, which some believe may have stemmed from inherent distrust and dislike of his status quo colleagues. You see, in order for Newton to make the amazing discoveries he did, it was likely necessary to go it alone for a while as his breakthrough theories likely would have been ridiculed by all of those other scientists anyway.

James Clerk Maxwell, the father of electromagnetism, was similarly isolated, at least according to official accounts. And, of course, the quintessential mad scientist himself, Albert Einstein, who in developing the theory of general relativity, did so all by himself – crazy hair and all. All of these examples suggest that working alone – and more importantly, challenging the status quo – is often important for drawing truth to the surface.

The great geniuses of our time DID have close confidants and fellow colleagues who affirmed their work

But even despite their reputation for having worked alone in procuring their genius, each of these men actually did collaborate with others in the process. It isn’t necessarily recorded in the history books this way because, quite frankly, the way they worked did deviate from the norm in the sense that they weren’t on the same page as many of the other scientists of their day. So to onlookers, it may have appeared as though they were lone geniuses when, in fact, they were geniuses supported by other geniuses.

Newton, for instance, is said to have looked down on the vast majority of his contemporaries while also communicating regularly with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a kindred spirit of sorts who himself was working on the development of calculus. Similarly, Maxwell studied at a number of prestigious universities where he regularly interacted with people of high intelligence. And Einstein made most of his famous discoveries while in the presence of close confidants whom he used as sounding boards for his ideas.

So despite what the history books and modern entertainment would have us believe, none of the great geniuses of our time were “islands.” While their ideas may have existed in seeming isolation as compared to mainstream thought, the work they uncovered was a joint effort in most cases. But it all starts with critical thinking, which can only come when an individual – not a group – embraces the truth with conviction, even if almost everyone else isn’t necessarily convinced.

“Because the for-profit GMO sellouts, poison pushers, vaccine zealots and corporate front groups continue to conduct their activities under the false name of ‘science,’ the term is losing its meaning,” says Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, about the problems of modern-day “scientific” consensus. “As we’ve seen all too frequently, ‘science’ can be easily distorted or exploited to achieve a desired political or profiteering goal.”

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