Scientific controversy exists when multiple scientists assert different viewpoints on a scientific matter.
Politicized science often takes the viewpoint that there is a scientific consensus on an issue and use this stance as a justification for suppressing scientific debate. In extreme cases, advocates for one point of view have engaged in character assassination.
Scientific controversy is the driving force of scientific advancement. Historically, paradigm-shifting scientific "breakthroughs" have almost by definition been scientific controversies. The existing majority view becomes a ruling paradigm and the fact of controversy is often denied, with dissenting views ridiculed and relegated to the fringe. In successful cases the fringe becomes a controversy and the controversy establishes a new majority view.
Stephen C. Meyer wrote:
- Scott and Branch attempt to associate our position with that of holocaust deniers and creation scientists. They also repeatedly use the perjorative term ‘anti-evolutionist’, thereby confusing the issue and mischaracterizing the motives and rationale of those of us who want to see students informed of the scientific controversies that exist within and about aspects of contemporary darwinism.
- Teaching students about scientific controversies is less a matter of fairness (still less, to religious sensibilities as they imply) than it is a matter of full scientific disclosure.