How can I find out what theories are 'widely accepted' in the scientific world at the moment? When I read about a theory, or read a paper, how can I tell what 'the scientific world' thinks of these?
When hearing about development or history of science, the phrase 'widely accepted' is quite popular. One of the common stories seems to be of some discovery which nobody wanted to believe when published, but a decade or a few later the scientific world came to accept it and it turned into consensus. Prime examples in history would be the heliocentric world view or the theory of evolution.
More recently, I have read 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins. He takes every chance to provide evidence that the theory of group selection is unnecessary to explain evolution. The book was published in 1976, when group selection was apparently quite popular. In annotations of the current edition, he gives comments about how the scientific world has now more accepted that group selection is wrong. I asked a question about one of his claims which I did not fully understand (irrelevant here) on Biology.SE and - unexpectedly - promptly got answers by people claiming that group selection was presently very widely accepted.