Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
And has been thus since the dawn of time.

The set of "facts" that determined the state of the world 500 years ago are today considered to be at best only quaintly archaic. Turns out the world really wasn't flat after all. And the immutable laws of nature as we know them today are "facts" only until they suddenly aren't.

Ask if the speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second as observed from any frame of reference. The answer won't (or shouldn't) be "Yes, that's a fact." It will (or should) be "Yes, that's what the consensus of experimental observations has shown so far..."

Meaning we are treating it as a fact for now, until the time comes that we discover by consensus a better reason to treat it as merely quaintly archaic. Or perhaps as a newly defined subset of some larger truth that we have come to understand. Or think we understand.

There is however quite a lot of difference between scientific consensus (facts as we know them), and the new internet driven social consensus (facts as rabble wish them). I agree that it has always been so, but before the Internet, the idea (to plagiarize a favorite) that democracy means 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge never had quite so wide a forum. Now that you essentially have interns and less editing what passes for news one really shouldn't expect much. I'm simply surprised that some people do.