Consensum (was Re: Hyperthesis)

Dan Fabulich (
Tue, 05 Aug 1997 19:21:50 -0700

At 06:45 PM 8/5/97 -0400, wrote:

>I think that I question that. Is it wise to allow the misuse of a term to
>invalidate the term? I can think of many in which that is exactly the case.
><inflation, mutation,liberal/conservative,)...might it not be better to
>defend the correct usage rather than scurry off into the bushes...invent a
>new term...only to have it bastardized at a later date?

I think the point is that the current term is ambiguous, which is
guaranteed to cause misuse.

I agree that it's important that there be a new word, though I agree with
Sumner who pointed out that trying to get people to use the word
"hyperthesis" would be a hard fought battle. I know I couldn't guess the
definition just by looking at it, and that's half the battle with a neologism.

I feel like "consensum," or some other word derived from "consensus" might
fair better. Consensum would be defined as "the judgment arrived at by
most of those concerned," or "that which has been concluded by consensus."

This word provides a number of important advantages. First, it's fairly
obvious within context as to what "consensum" means. ("Consensum of
evolution? The Big Bang consensum? Well, it must be related to
consensus...") This is important, particularly when talking to people who
will have had little Greek or scientific education.

However, it is obviously different from consensus, ending in "um" which
gives it the sound of empricism. It rings of "momentum." All this works
together to make people think that they have heard the word before; that
the word is actually very OLD and if they just thought a bit they would
remember the definition. IMHO this trait is much more memetically useful
than the sexier "hyperthesis" (which is sexy primarily because of the
hyper- prefix), because it makes a person think that the word is already in
use, and that they use a new OLD word by using it.

A secondary but equally useful advantage is that it also infers that most
people already agree with the "consensum," much like calling yourself the
"Moral Majority" or the Bolshevik party makes it appear that you are
actually in the majority. When used with a self-titled "creation
scientist," it emphasizes that the theist argues against a well established

I think this term conveys meaning better while also filling in the painful
gap we find between "theory" and "law." Thoughts?