For instance, “theory” to the layperson does not have the same meaning as “scientific theory” does to an actual scientist. The same idea applies to the phrase “scientific consensus.”
You can’t simply look at the dictionary definition of a word and apply one specific version of the word across the board.
Ethan Siegel explains:
[U]nless you are a scientist working in the particular field in question, you are probably not even capable of discerning between a conclusion that’s scientifically valid and viable and one that isn’t. Even if you’re a scientist in a somewhat related field! Why? This is mostly due to the fact that a non-expert cannot tell the difference between a robust scientific idea and a caricature of that idea.
So the issue becomes that as most of us are not actually researchers, we don’t have the depth of knowledge most scientists do, so we’re left to rely on their best understanding of the world around us. This incorporates not only their formal education, but also their work experience and background knowledge of their specific area.
And please, for the 389272nd time, reading an article you found as the result of plugging in bad search terms into Google is not actually considered research.
So we’re left to trust scientists. They’re the experts, after all. Why would anyone think that they know more than someone who has been in the field as a result of doing 20 minutes of intense web browsing? Would you trust your plumber to do electrical work on your house? They might do an “okay” job, but they also might cause a fire.
The fact is that there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is actually occurring, and humans are at least partially responsible for it. GMOs are safe. Vaccines work. And yes, we did evolve from filthy monkey men.