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Friday, October 04, 2013

"Peer review is a joke"

The non-author of a sting paper peer-reviewed and published by Science points out that the open access sting published by Science is conclusive proof that so-called peer review is the problem, not open access publication:
Although it comes as no surprise to anyone who is bombarded every day by solicitations from new “American” journals of such-and-such seeking papers and offering editorial positions to anyone with an email account, the formal exposure of hucksters out there looking to make a quick buck off of scientists’ desires to get their work published is valuable. It is unacceptable that there are publishers – several owned by big players in the subscription publishing world – who claim that they are carrying out peer review, and charging for it, but no doing it.

But it’s nuts to construe this as a problem unique to open access publishing, if for no other reason than the study, didn’t do the control of submitting the same paper to subscription-based publishers (UPDATE: The author, Bohannon emailed to say that, while his original intention was to look at all journals, practical constraints limited him to OA journals, and that Science played no role in this decision). We obviously don’t know what subscription journals would have done with this paper, but there is every reason to believe that a large number of them would also have accepted the paper (it has many features in common with the arsenic DNA paper afterall). Like OA journals, a lot of subscription-based journals have businesses based on accepting lots of papers with little regard to their importance or even validity. When Elsevier and other big commercial publishers pitch their “big deal”, the main thing they push is the number of papers they have in their collection. And one look at many of their journals shows that they also will accept almost anything.

None of this will stop anti-open access campaigners  (hello Scholarly Kitchen) from spinning this as a repudiation for enabling fraud. But the real story is that a fair number of journals who actually carried out peer review still accepted the paper, and the lesson people should take home from this story not that open access is bad, but that peer review is a joke. If a nakedly bogus paper is able to get through journals that actually peer reviewed it, think about how many legitimate, but deeply flawed, papers must also get through. Any scientist can quickly point to dozens of papers – including, and perhaps especially, in high impact journals – that are deeply, deeply flawed – the arsenic DNA story is one of many recent examples. As you probably know there has been a lot of smoke lately about the “reproducibility” problem in biomedical science, in which people have found that a majority of published papers report facts that turn out not to be true. This all adds up to showing that peer review simply doesn’t work.
He's referring to John Bohannan's article "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?", in which the author submitted an obviously fake paper describing the anticancer properties of a chemical extracted from a lichen that was nominally written by Ocorrafoo Cobange, a fictional biologist at the nonexistent Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara, that was accepted by 157 open access journals and rejected by only 98. As Slashdot describes it: "The article reveals a 'Wild West' landscape that's emerging in academic publishing, where journals and their editorial staffs aren't necessarily who or what they claim to be."

This sting highlights the vital difference between scientody and the scientistry which is, most of the time, a fraudulent parody of what non-scientists believe science to be. Not only are scientists mere men rather than the white-coated demigods purely devoted to science they like to believe themselves to be, but due to the extraordinarily perverse incentive system to which they are subject, they are provably less honest in their occupations than the average individual.

Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you that you cannot take intelligent design seriously because it isn't peer reviewed or that you can soon expect to cook pasta in the Atlantic because the scientific consensus is 95 percent certain that Man is causing the oceans to boil. The fact is that scientistry has become increasingly disconnected from scientody, peer review is a charade, most published science papers are not reproducible, and what passes for science is simply not what you probably believe it to be.

The irony is that the Science article is, in itself, bad scientody. Bohannan did not utilize a control group; he did not submit the fake paper to a single conventional subscription journal. He also did not send it to the majority of open access journals on the grounds that they do not require article processing charges.

Science not only is not the sole arbiter of truth, the assertions of scientists shouldn't even be taken seriously until the "science" is transformed into something that is actually reliable, which is to say, engineering.

Labels: ,

89 Comments:

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 9:09 AM  

Science has failed our world

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 9:27 AM  

"Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you that you cannot take intelligent design seriously because it isn't peer reviewed"

You mean "Creation Science"?

There may be a god. There may not be. But I can promise you the truth won't be discovered by by putting the veneer of science on the teleological argument for the existence of guided creation. But more importantly, the fact that there are theists out there that want to appropriate the white light of science for their own decidedly unscientific cause should indicate how valuable the scientific method and the fruits of scientific pursuits have been and that the everyday Joe off the street knows this.

What the "Creation Scientists" rarely tell you is that the pursuit of truth via science has delivered up uncountable truths, insights and advances for man, while the pursuit of truth via "Creation Science" has delivered up none of this.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 9:34 AM  

What the "Creation Scientists" rarely tell you is that the pursuit of truth via science has delivered up uncountable truths, insights and advances for man

Really. Name what "Creation Scientists" are denying the advancements of science. Be specific and provide links to back up your claims.

Otherwise, you're just creating another strawman argument.

Anonymous Daniel October 04, 2013 9:40 AM  

Peer review just cost Cyclones the game against the Mack Brown Farewell Victory Tour, so you don't have to tell me what a crock that is.

Blogger James Dixon October 04, 2013 9:45 AM  

Golf Pro has been blinded by science

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 9:52 AM  

"Really. Name what "Creation Scientists" are denying the advancements of science. Be specific and provide links to back up your claims."

The frauds at the Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/men-dinosaurs/

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus October 04, 2013 9:55 AM  

This anything goes attitude to "peer-reviewed" scholarly publication doesn't apply to social sciences work that conflicts with the tribal-moral values of the leftist academic community. There it's the opposite: if the ordinary standards aren't severe enough to exclude heresy (and damage the career of the heretic), the upholders of the taboos raise the standards (only temporarily and in these special cases) till they are high enough to get the job done.

In the social sciences, "peer review" is political review.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 10:01 AM  

The frauds at the Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/men-dinosaurs/

Still doesn't answer my question. How does stating that man lived with dinosaurs deny the advancements of science?

Also, go to w3schools and learn how to use the anchor tag in HTML so you can provide proper links.

Anonymous daddynichol October 04, 2013 10:04 AM  

"...the white light of science ...,"

The proclamation of a religion, and lab coats are their priestly robes.

Anonymous tehstoopidhurts October 04, 2013 10:05 AM  

"...the white light of science ...,"

Obviously, Tad is raciss.

Blogger Giraffe October 04, 2013 10:15 AM  

Obviously, Tad is raciss.

He's got a lefty exemption with a fag bonus.

Anonymous Will Best October 04, 2013 10:16 AM  

Well real science is expensive and requires effort, which doesn't involve attending cocktail parties with rich dupes.

OpenID cailcorishev October 04, 2013 10:17 AM  

It'd be interesting to send the same article to two randomly selected groups of journals, signing it for one group as "Ocorrafoo Cobange of the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara," and for the other group as, "Ethan Fisher of the Bauer Institute of Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa," and see how different the responses are from the two groups.

Anonymous Feh October 04, 2013 10:21 AM  

If peer review is a joke in the sciences, imagine how much of a joke it is in the liberal arts.

"Peer review":
Does this make the warren comfortable and reinforce their pre-existing views?
1: Yes - ACCEPTED
2. No - REJECTED

Anonymous LL October 04, 2013 10:22 AM  

This is totally off topic, but I'm still waiting for Pox to say "I was wrong" in his comment about random attacks by blacks on whites as if they don't exist at all, and I want to keep reminding him that he should just man up and say it. I'd have more respect for him if he'd admit he was wrong.

Blogger IM2L844 October 04, 2013 10:23 AM  

What the "Creation Scientists" rarely tell you is that the pursuit of truth via science has delivered up uncountable truths, insights and advances for man, while the pursuit of truth via "Creation Science" has delivered up none of this.

You are either a blatant liar or profoundly ignorant or both. I suspect the latter.

I'll ask you once again to manifestly explicate your personally held concept of what truth is.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 10:29 AM  

Typical of Tad to try to move the fight to a battlefield he thinks is more defensible.

But, while you're here, Ben asked you on another thread what your degree is in. I second his question and invoke Rule 2. I want to know what, if anything, qualifies you to rant at us about what makes one iteration of science good and another bad.

Degree. Now.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 10:29 AM  

"Still doesn't answer my question. How does stating that man lived with dinosaurs deny the advancements of science?"

It wasn't little green men or gods that helped man determine that Men and Dinosaurs didn't exist together. And so with that, your question is answered.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 10:33 AM  

"I'll ask you once again to manifestly explicate your personally held concept of what truth is."

The portrayal of the world as it is.

Anonymous Dr. T October 04, 2013 10:35 AM  

I am an active scientist in a "hard" field - solid state chemistry and physics. In the line of my work I do peer review, too. When a journal asks me to review a paper and I feel that it does not fall outside of my area of expertise, I will normally agree to do a review. Now you must understand that this part of my work does not do anything for me. Nobody but the journal editor will know that I put work into this publication, and he will soon forget. This limits the amount of effort I am willing to put into the review. I certainly do not have the time to recreate any particular experiments. However, I know from my own work experience which experiments should be applied to a given problem, and what are typical indicators of reliable results. If any of these are missing, I ask the authors for clarification. If the conclusions are unusual, as was the case in the As-DNA paper, I make sure to check that they really have been verified. I am convinced that this procedure does stop quite a lot of bad science, mostly by deterring people from submitting it at all.

However, I never harbored the illusion that peer review is infallible. I might be tired, or in a rush, or simply wrong. If somebody just makes up results in a convincing way I probably will never know, unless he is unlucky enough to walk directly into the very center of my own work. If I reject a paper, the authors will try to publish it in a different journal. Hopefully after taken my criticism to heart and improving their paper. I certainly do. After all, the different journal might ask the same reviewer again. This actually happened to me once; I got asked to review a paper that was to the letter the same I had rejected just two weeks ago.

However, peer review is just the first step in the filtering process. If scientist publish bad papers, eventually they will be purged from the community, by not getting permanent positions, grants or instrument access. Some scientists, typically old ones at the end of their careers, devote a lot of time to expose flawed papers. Database editors routinely check each new input for quality and plausibility. Results of particular interest are used as starting point for follow-up experiments. And especially controversial results will actually be checked by recreating them. All this together serves as a very effective filter. The scientific vetting process works.

Of course, each individual paper might still be totally wrong. After all, once published papers are rarely retracted, only commented on. Scientist ought to know this. As my PhD advisor once asked me, "Do you believe everything you read?"

But if a whole scientific field is on the wrong track, much of this process does not work. This is especially true if a topic is politically sensitive, criticism of the mainstream opinion can be career-limiting, or studies are financed by groups with financial or political interest in the results. In such a case you'll have to wait for new developments resulting in contradictions so obvious that a paradigm change becomes unavoidable. Which might take a few decades.

All these limitations and flaws do not invalidate peer review. It is a very useful first step in the process of science vetting. And for this reason I am very skeptical if the authors shy away from submitting their results even to this first, most harmless step.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 10:37 AM  

It wasn't little green men or gods that helped man determine that Men and Dinosaurs didn't exist together. And so with that, your question is answered.

Archeology is not science. Or rather, it doesn't follow the scientific method. It merely digs up fossils and speculates what those fossils were.

So again, how does this deny the advancement of science?

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 10:38 AM  

I might be tired, or in a rush, or simply wrong. If somebody just makes up results in a convincing way I probably will never know, unless he is unlucky enough to walk directly into the very center of my own work.

That's a real pretty target you just painted on your forehead there, Doc. *grin*

Speaking only for myself (and I am unanimous in this!), I appreciate your honesty.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 10:40 AM  

"Archeology is not science. Or rather, it doesn't follow the scientific method. It merely digs up fossils and speculates what those fossils were."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_science

Anonymous Toby Temple October 04, 2013 10:45 AM  

The frauds at the Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/men-dinosaurs/

How ironic.

The Frauds of Evolutionary Biologists

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 10:46 AM  

@Golf Pro

Scientific Method.

Explain to me how the scientific method is applied to archeology? From what I see, there is dating artifacts (which is based on Carbon dating or geological predictions) and then inferring a conclusion based on said artifacts.

But this is all speculation based on the best data they have. While their conclusions may be correct, they are not absolute. This is why Archaeology is not true science anymore than Economics is true science.

True science deals in absolutes. Denying the archaeological record, while a bit foolish, does not deny any advancements in science.

Anonymous DonReynolds October 04, 2013 10:46 AM  

Anytime someone wants to impress me by saying that something was "peer reviewed", my knee-jerk reaction is to remember the life and times of Louis Pasteur, a chemist. If you are not familiar with his work, you should be.

Blogger rycamor October 04, 2013 10:47 AM  

Science not only is not the sole arbiter of truth, the assertions of scientists shouldn't even be taken seriously until the "science" is transformed into something that is actually reliable, which is to say, engineering

Yes, that's the best we can do, but even there we have plenty of problems. Our industrial/political system creates many incentives to provide an over-engineered but sub-optimal solution rather than focus on actually solving the problem. This comes to its apex somewhere between healthcare and food production, which has given us such monstrosities as flouride in the public water supply, Monsanto, and in general an over-drugged population susceptible to the increasing array of drug-resistant bacteria. In almost every case, a much simpler, direct approach to the problem would be preferable, but would of course result in far fewer federal grants and control over large bureaucracies.

Back in the 80s there was a civics engineer who solved the problem of a city's sewage by dumping it at the top of a series of terraced wetlands. As the water went down each terrace, it got significantly broken down by sun, algae and other environmental processes, so that at the bottom terrace it was perfectly clean water, proven by tests. This was a smart and parsimonious use of the natural world we have been given. So the city went with that solution, and THEN added a giant waste treatment plant at the end of all that anyway. I'm sure there were no federal monies involved. I'm sure the natural process engineer got paid way more than the guy who designed the treatment plant, right? I mean, since he solved the problem in such a cheap, low-tech kind of way?

OpenID 972989a8-d210-11e2-ac4d-000bcdcb8a73 October 04, 2013 10:48 AM  

Still doesn't answer my question. How does stating that man lived with dinosaurs deny the advancements of science?

By fostering an irrational fear or hatred of Carbon (half life) dating.

CaptDMO

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 10:52 AM  

"Still doesn't answer my question. How does stating that man lived with dinosaurs deny the advancements of science?"

By fostering an irrational fear or hatred of Carbon (half life) dating.


Exactly! People should be free to date any elements they want, with no interference from anyone!

/silly

Blogger James Dixon October 04, 2013 10:53 AM  

> It wasn't little green men or gods that helped man determine that Men and Dinosaurs didn't exist together.

It can be argued that we still do exist together, Tad. You need refresh your basic understanding of what is and is not a dinosaur. The pages http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurbasics/a/dinosaurages.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_alligator might be useful to you.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 10:54 AM  

"True science deals in absolutes. Denying the archaeological record, while a bit foolish, does not deny any advancements in science."

Advancing the notion that men and dinosaurs lived together is a complete rejection of an array of science-based conclusions and the advancements in science that produced them including those in the field of archeology, chemistry, biology and geology. Add to this the Creation Science Institute's claim that the earth is only many 1000s of years old. Again, it's a denial of a slew of scientific advancements that demonstrate the falsity of this claim.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 10:57 AM  

The pages http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurbasics/a/dinosaurages.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_alligator might be useful to you.

Those aren't science! Science is that which confirms to Tad what he knows in his heart to be true with the power of his degree in Embarrassing Studies.

Anonymous Feh October 04, 2013 11:00 AM  

True science deals in absolutes.

Science as practiced deals in ideological conformity.

Blogger James Dixon October 04, 2013 11:02 AM  

> Science is that which confirms to Tad what he knows in his heart to be true with the power of his degree in Embarrassing Studies.

Of course, Sigyn. We all know that. And Tad knows we know it. But he just can't stay away.

Anonymous VD October 04, 2013 11:09 AM  

If scientist publish bad papers, eventually they will be purged from the community, by not getting permanent positions, grants or instrument access. Some scientists, typically old ones at the end of their careers, devote a lot of time to expose flawed papers. Database editors routinely check each new input for quality and plausibility. Results of particular interest are used as starting point for follow-up experiments. And especially controversial results will actually be checked by recreating them. All this together serves as a very effective filter. The scientific vetting process works.

This is an example of what I mean when I talk about the trouble scientists have with basic logic. What you've described doesn't mean "the scientific vetting process works". It means it can work. I don't doubt it has worked in your experience. But you're saying this right after reading conclusive evidence that the scientific vetting process manifestly doesn't work more often than it does!

Anonymous JCB October 04, 2013 11:19 AM  

Peer review undboubtedly has value among honest sceintists seeking knowledge without an agenda. But if I don't give a shit about that, and just want to promote an agenda that will make me rich/increase my political power, fraudulent peer review gives me the gravitas I need to get the rabbits hopping in the right direction. Release the findings through the mainstream media & the jellyfish will lap it up. If the study is later proven to be a massive fraud, who cares? The lie is imbedded into the national psyche, and people don't like to admit (even to themselves) that they have been played for fools. Fluoride isn't toxic runoff from the fertilizer industry! It's a magic potion that is good for teeth! The more vaccines, the better! Man-made global warming is real!

Anonymous Mudz October 04, 2013 11:20 AM  

@ Golf Pro

Then of course you accept this one: www.halos.com

You're not anti-science. It passed peer review and everything.

Anonymous Daniel October 04, 2013 11:20 AM  

Now I peer reviewed a long time ago
Something bout how the world gonna turn to snow
But climate change cold was somethin I don't wanna
So I reject sci-denier cuz he was a goner
He don't care 'cause he prolly fundamental
Freaked out Christian with a major schizomental
I won't do science with useless people
I peer reject the fools cause my science ain't feeble

Non-consensus science - put her on a stretcher
Slide a body bag on even if she screamin', y'all betcha
Just quit your cryin if my peer review reject ya!
The only science we do is when we vivisect ya!

We keep our gates tight cuz science is exclusive
To the Consensus Test - ooh she so elusive.
I can prove it, y'all, watch the panel rotation
It all adds up to incesty situation

So get up get, get get down
Peer review is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Peer review wears the truth down

Peer review is a joke.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 11:23 AM  

But if I don't give a shit about that, and just want to promote an agenda that will make me rich/increase my political power, fraudulent peer review gives me the gravitas I need to get the rabbits hopping in the right direction.

This might explain why the Left is so deathly afraid of fundamentalists of all stripes: They are fundies themselves, and there is no law nor principle they themselves will not violate "for the greater good" as they believe it to be.

Because they view us as the enemy, they think we see THEM as the enemy; because they would annihilate their enemies if given a chance, they think we would annihilate them as cheerfully.

It's raw projection. "As it is in my heart, so it is in every heart."

Anonymous DrTorch October 04, 2013 11:29 AM  

I don't doubt it has worked in your experience. But you're saying this right after reading conclusive evidence that the scientific vetting process manifestly doesn't work more often than it does!

I missed that part. Care to point it out more explicitly? The real unknown in all of this was stated here, I am convinced that this procedure does stop quite a lot of bad science, mostly by deterring people from submitting it at all.

Advancing the notion that men and dinosaurs lived together is a complete rejection of an array of science-based conclusions and the advancements in science that produced them including those in the field of archeology, chemistry, biology and geology

Take chemistry off of your list, you know-nothing. I'll leave it for people proficient in other fields to discuss those. I suspect you'll get varying opinions from bio and geology, but not much factual support for your claim.

Anonymous Mudz October 04, 2013 11:33 AM  

I saw a fun debunking on youtube once. It was about a temple or some doohickey that had dinosaurs carved into it.

You know how the guy disproved it? He took a magic marker and coloured out all the stuff he thought shouldn't be there. You know, like the bone plates that stick out of a stegosaurus' back. It was obviously a mistake.
Problem solved.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 11:35 AM  

By fostering an irrational fear or hatred of Carbon (half life) dating.

You do realize that Carbon dating only goes back about 4700 years, right? Human beings have been around longer than that.

Next time you decide to make an anonymous statement like that, try not to look like a troll.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 11:43 AM  

Advancing the notion that men and dinosaurs lived together is a complete rejection of an array of science-based conclusions and the advancements in science that produced them including those in the field of archeology, chemistry, biology and geology. Add to this the Creation Science Institute's claim that the earth is only many 1000s of years old. Again, it's a denial of a slew of scientific advancements that demonstrate the falsity of this claim.

Again, we are not dealing with absolutes here. At best, we have educated guesses from men with lab coats. These guesses are made using what we do know of the current world based on the physical laws we observe in the current time period.

There is no way that the scientific method can prove or disprove the claims that dinosaurs were around with humans as well. And thus, we see that what you described as denying science is in fact, just two groups guessing about prehistory based solely on different sets of data. In reality, they are not denying the advancements in science, but merely the speculations of self-proclaimed (non)scientists about humanity's past.

Anonymous VD October 04, 2013 11:44 AM  

Care to point it out more explicitly?

Sure. The aspect of the vetting process you cited, and the effectiveness of which is presently unknown, clearly was not sufficient to prevent the majority of journals from accepting fake science for publication.

I'm not denigrating or denying the validity of your experience. I'm simply pointing out that the logical extrapolation of your experience to science as a whole is not only unwarranted, but flies in the face of the evidence provided in this Science article.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 11:44 AM  

Correction: Carbon dating goes back 60,000, at least according to this link.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 11:51 AM  

Um, Fox, I think the good captain was being sarcastic. You didn't pick up the "phobia" language?

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 11:52 AM  

...Is it "Fox" or "Mark" or something else? I mean, I don't mind typing out the whole name, but it's a bit long. *smile*

Anonymous Daniel October 04, 2013 11:52 AM  

To be more accurate, C-14 dating (assuming the Libby constant) theoretically goes back 60,000 years, if time and cosmic rays are also a constant, and the original quantity of carbon is known.

Good thing those cavemen kept such great carbon content records...

Anonymous Noah B. October 04, 2013 11:53 AM  

"You do realize that Carbon dating only goes back about 4700 years, right?"

More like 50,000 years.

Anonymous Noah B. October 04, 2013 11:55 AM  

Of course the 50k-60k is only under ideal circumstances... where past concentrations of radiocarbon are somehow known.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 11:58 AM  

...Is it "Fox" or "Mark" or something else? I mean, I don't mind typing out the whole name, but it's a bit long. *smile*

The Mark 1 was a failure, but swiftfoxmark2 has had much more success.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 04, 2013 11:59 AM  

More like 50,000 years.

Yep, posted a correction.

Anonymous Mudz October 04, 2013 12:05 PM  

It's only been historically corroborated up to 4500 years or such. A piece of wood from an Egyptian ship I think.

The rest is If We Already Know The Answers To The Questions Being Asked.

Anonymous Dr. T October 04, 2013 12:07 PM  

"But you're saying this right after reading conclusive evidence that the scientific vetting process manifestly doesn't work more often than it does!"

On the contrary. Your assumption would only be true if the vetting process stopped with publication. But the very fact that we are having this discussion is due to the fact that bad and fraudulent publications are found out after publication.

Anonymous DrTorch October 04, 2013 12:16 PM  

Sure. The aspect of the vetting process you cited, and the effectiveness of which is presently unknown, clearly was not sufficient to prevent the majority of journals from accepting fake science for publication.

Just for clarification, Dr. T and I are different people.

As for the issue, peer review has flaws. No doubt about it. But you didn't demonstrate the case that "the scientific vetting process manifestly doesn't work more often than it does!" neither in your commentary, nor demonstrated in anyone else's.

It might be that 51% of published articles are severely flawed. Or I think your statement would hold if for every 10 bad articles caught, 11 get published (even if the rest were 100 legit articles). But you provided no evidence of that.

And your statement is in the same paragraph that you start with, "This is an example of what I mean when I talk about the trouble scientists have with basic logic." So it would seem that a gap in logic is something that can strike anyone occasionally.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 12:21 PM  

To be more accurate, C-14 dating (assuming the Libby constant) theoretically goes back 60,000 years, if time and cosmic rays are also a constant, and the original quantity of carbon is known.

I always wondered about this.

The Mark 1 was a failure, but swiftfoxmark2 has had much more success.

Har. Okay, full name it is from here out.

Anonymous MendoScot October 04, 2013 12:22 PM  

cailcorishev wrote:
It'd be interesting to send the same article to two randomly selected groups of journals, signing it for one group as "Ocorrafoo Cobange of the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara," and for the other group as, "Ethan Fisher of the Bauer Institute of Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa," and see how different the responses are from the two groups.


This was already done to show that peer review is sexiss.

Anonymous kh123 October 04, 2013 12:49 PM  

Author could've really gotten a rise if he'd cited the Wannsee Institute.

Anonymous Nathan October 04, 2013 12:57 PM  

Funny that most people stirred up with threats to science love to beat on the religion issues, but fail to even consider advocacy science, the addiction to models over experiment, theorists proposing ideas that cannot be proved by experiment ever (as opposed to not having the current tech to do it), expert overreach as an expert in one field pontificates about matters he has no expertise in, government subsidies shunting research into narrow and often dead-end fields, and the general stagnation in the sciences since the 70s.

Also, Golf Pro, if it's truth you want, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall.

Anonymous Sigyn October 04, 2013 1:06 PM  

Also, Golf Pro, if it's truth you want, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall.

With one comment, Nathan whipped all the rest.

Anonymous MendoScot October 04, 2013 1:13 PM  

I have almost 30 years of experience with peer review and take a rather dimmer view than Dr.T of the process. In that time, I have seen pretty much every abuse you can imagine, up to and including the outright criminal.

There has certainly been a decline in the quality of peer review and, consequently, in the reliability of the peer reviewed literature over the last decade. This was predicted some 60 years ago when the concept of "publish or perish" was mooted and rejected. Now that it is the de facto standard of professional evaluation, the published literature has expanded to the point where it is no longer realistic to expect fair and competent reviewing.

I recently submitted a paper to an open-access journal, whose online interactive peer review system promised to be an improvement over the traditional model. It wasn't. The process was so far removed from the Journal's own guidelines that, for the first time in my career, I wrote a stinking letter to the Chief Editor. Made no difference.

In my field, the neurosciences, there are many high-profile papers in the top peer-reviewed journals that are known to be crap, but that have never been corrected, retracted or contradicted. My colleagues in other fields tell the same story.

Blogger wrf3 October 04, 2013 1:53 PM  

Meh. "Peer review" is to scientific publications what "code review" is to software. There are reviewers who rubber stamp whatever is presented. There are reviewers who wouldn't know a mistake if it came up and bit them. There are reviewers who are diligent enough to find mistakes. Every once in a long while they find all of them.

Blogger hga October 04, 2013 1:56 PM  

MendoScot: I wonder what field Dr. T is in. I've gotten the strong impression that the closer you get to "medicine", which neuroscience is fairly close to, the worse this gets. Not entirely sure why, although maybe there's more completion, and the general "this will save people" thing seems to be a part of it.

I do wish various people would not ignore Dr. T's greater point in their somewhat excessive attack on science as it's done today; to quote the complete paragraph:

"However, peer review is just the first step in the filtering process. If scientist publish bad papers, eventually they will be purged from the community, by not getting permanent positions, grants or instrument access. Some scientists, typically old ones at the end of their careers, devote a lot of time to expose flawed papers. Database editors routinely check each new input for quality and plausibility. Results of particular interest are used as starting point for follow-up experiments. And especially controversial results will actually be checked by recreating them. All this together serves as a very effective filter. The scientific vetting process works."

You bolster the argument by pointing out "there are many high-profile papers in the top peer-reviewed journals that are known to be crap ... the system might not be punishing the wicked, or at least wrong, but how much it is being hindered by these papers? In my own one time field of chemistry there are some like that, e.g. check out the delightfully named ChemBark blog.

Anonymous Mr. T October 04, 2013 2:10 PM  

I pity the fool who believe these peer reviewed science journals.

Anonymous MendoScot October 04, 2013 2:43 PM  

hga wrote:

MendoScot: I wonder what field Dr. T is in.


He specified solid state chemistry which is, ahem, pretty hard.

I've gotten the strong impression that the closer you get to "medicine", which neuroscience is fairly close to, the worse this gets.

Regrettably true. I've worked with clinicians throughout my career and they have a "save the patient" mindset that can be problematic. Of course, it might not help that I point out that I don't care whether the patient lives or dies, as long as I learn something concrete from the outcome.

Clinicians doing biomedical science are overrepresented in at least the high-profile fraud cases, though that might be selection bias.

Anonymous Myrddin October 04, 2013 2:58 PM  

Denying conclusions about the fossil record != denying the fossil record.

Creationists don't typically deny the existence of dinosaur bones or the ordering of strata in a given location or the aamount of argon in thos or that rock.

Two men are arguing over how long the faucet has been running. The water is proceeding forth at a measurable rate and the sink is full to a certain amount.

Also, there's a note saying "I turned the faucet on at 5:30 this morning. -Steve."

The first man has calculated a start time of three weeks ago based on the speed of the water and volume contained in the sink.

The second man calculates a start time of 5:30 this morning because he believes that Steve is real, the note is truthful, and he's reading it correctly. He assumes, therefore, that there may already have been water in the sink when the faucet was , or tsomeone added more later, or that the valve was opened wider at some point, or some combination of these things.

To claim that Creationists deny archeological data is like claiming the second man denies the current water speed or level or the math the first man used. None of which is true. He simply denies specific assumptions about past conditions on the basis of Steve's note.

Anonymous Noah B. October 04, 2013 3:11 PM  

"To claim that Creationists deny archeological data is like claiming the second man denies the current water speed or level or the math the first man used. None of which is true. He simply denies specific assumptions about past conditions on the basis of Steve's note."

Well said. The whole issue is really about what assumptions and beliefs you start out with, which is why attempts to "disprove" creationism using things like the fossil record, evolution, etc. are just silly.

Anonymous MendoScot October 04, 2013 3:42 PM  

...the system might not be punishing the wicked, or at least wrong, but how much it is being hindered by these papers?

Hard to know. While she was writing up her doctorate, my grad student came running into my office waving one of these papers around and babbling about how relevant it was to her research, and wasn't it great, etc. I calmed her down and disillusioned her - that's what a thesis supervisor is for, no?

The first author of the paper (in fact three, in Nature, PNAS and Cell) got a tenure track position in the Ivy League as a result. I've kept an eye on him, but he has published a bunch of reliable if not very creative papers over the years. Still, I always view his work a little more critically than I would otherwise.

Actually, I just checked citations of his Nature paper - 50 in the PubMed database (very low for Nature), mostly in the 90's and definitely tailing off in the last five years. I scanned the most recent ones, and they are still repeating his ideas, but only one attributes much importance to them. Damage done? Hard to tell.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 5:04 PM  

"Denying conclusions about the fossil record != denying the fossil record."

That's correct. It's really about trying to convince us that the Flintstones was a documentary instead of a cartoon.

What's fun is to notice that the vast majority of "Creation scientists" that believe the Flintstones is a documentary also make the case that the earth itself is only a few thousand years old. They don't come to this conclusion entirely based on the compelling information provided by six seasons of The Flilntstones or the famed scientists Hanna and Barbera. Much of their conclusions for a "young earth" are based on the science laid out in the scientific journal, "The Bible". The problem is, it's kinda hard to have a peer review of the Bible. But then again, the claims these Flintstone Scientists make really isn't on the science side of the ledger, is it.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 5:09 PM  

"Also, Golf Pro, if it's truth you want, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall."

It's not a bad suggestion. "Truth" and "Science" and "Religion" are all important elements in just about any metaphysical investigation or scheme. It just so happens, however, that when looking for things or ideas that are accurate portrayals of the world, the religion part of the metaphysical exercise usually gets dropped pretty quick.

Anonymous Noah B. October 04, 2013 5:27 PM  

Creationists don't believe in the accuracy of the Flintstones any more than LGBT activists believe Modern Family is an accurate portrayal of typical male homosexual relationships.

Anonymous MendoScot October 04, 2013 5:29 PM  

And just when you thought you had seen it all:

Spiegelman, who is certain that the paper is “made up”, is keen for there to be a criminal investigation. He says that lawyers have told him that the faked paper represents fraud, not just academic misconduct — a view shared by Carafoli. But Spiegelman says the lawyers also advised that although he might have been the target, there would be little basis for him to sue, whereas Elsevier, BBRC and the University of Thessaly could have grounds to press fraud charges..

Blogger tz October 04, 2013 5:30 PM  

As for as men and dinosaurs being contemporaries, the problem is the question is begged. If a stratum was discovered (like some possible evidence of coexistence), it would be dismissed because it would not fit into the paradigm. The most absurd nonsense would be proposed to explain where it came from.

But in short, because we have the myth of the progression of organisms loosely derived from fossils, it admits of no other reality, not through science (including whatever archaeology or paleontology).

I'm agnostic on the age of the earth, but the creation scientists are asking proper scientific questions, and dispute their data, interpretation, and/or conclusions. They will debate you.

It is the evolutionists who are dogmatic and out to burn heretics.

Anonymous Noah B. October 04, 2013 5:51 PM  

"It is the evolutionists who are dogmatic and out to burn heretics."

I've seen plenty of it from creationists too, but as a group the evolution adherents do seem to be more unthinking and dogmatic, while surprisingly few of them are even aware of gems like the Species Problem.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 04, 2013 6:00 PM  

Evolutionist are dogmatic??? Lets not foget they the Creation "Scientists" take there cues from scripture, which they view as inerrant from the get go.

So, lets not go too far off the cliff. The evangelists that masquerade as scientists are the very definition of dogmatic.

Anonymous Mudz October 04, 2013 6:03 PM  

As opposed to the evolutionists that masquerade as scientists.

See what I did there? I implied that scientists who believe in evolution aren't really scientists, and therefore their existence is invalid. Isn't that clever? Oh no wait, it's the other thing. Stupid.

Anonymous Mudz October 04, 2013 6:38 PM  

Ah, here's that dinosaur temple I was thinking of.

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2009/03/stegosaurus-rhinoceros-hoax/

I've heard of quite a few examples of 'anachronistic' dinosaur carvings, like carvings from 16th century Spain and such-like, so it's you know, totally hum-drum Jurassic Park stuff, but so far the debunkings on this particular one are hilarious as all heck.

'That's not a stegosaurus, it's obviously a non-specifically-descript dinosaur-like animal of some kind with giant leaves on its back!'

And then concluded by 'visual recordings of dinosaurs from this time is simply not evidence of the existence of dinosaurs at this time' (while providing pictures of the evidence for us to not consider).

I'm going to roll the dice on this one and say 'gonna have to do better than that'. It looks pretty legit so far, if the bob and weave of their arguments is anything to go by. It'll be interesting to see if this develops.

Dinosaurs are awesome.

Blogger Eric October 04, 2013 6:53 PM  

All these limitations and flaws do not invalidate peer review. It is a very useful first step in the process of science vetting.

Agreed. The problem I have is the way the press reports it. To a reporter, "peer reviewed" is the same as "factual in every detail".

Anonymous kh123 October 04, 2013 7:01 PM  

"Evolutionist are dogmatic???"

Surprising what one discovers outside the cabin, in'it.

Anonymous kh123 October 04, 2013 7:17 PM  

"It just so happens, however, that when looking for things or ideas that are accurate portrayals of the world, the religion part of the metaphysical exercise usually gets dropped pretty quick."

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.

No, wait; Out Of Africa, by [select anyone from the Leakey cadre].

Ach, wait; Your Inner Fish, by Niel Shubin.

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.

Then there's the magical story of which dino quidditch team took to flight first, the Arboreals or the Cursorials.

Anonymous Eric Ashley October 05, 2013 12:14 AM  

Creation's Tiny Mysteries by Robert Gentry is pretty hard-core science (I dislike using the word 'absolute' with 'science'.)

The fossil record is a Creationist's good pal. The most reluctant adopters of Darwinism were not the Christians, but the paleontologists who pointed out that the bones did not support Darwinism back in the 18th Century. Since then, its gotten worse for the devotees of St. Darwin.

Darwinism held back biology until they yielded to the teachings of a monk named Mendel with the Neo-Darwinian Syntheses.

Its interesting that a number of historical markers go back around 4500 years or so....almost like a major catastrophe happened then.....and there's another way Darwin held back science. Nowdays, Catastrophism is much more widely accepted, but for a long time the Disciples of Darwin promoted Uniformatarianism with their gov't cheese.

Myrddin, the Creationist notices that there is another bowl, broken, and damp with flowers on the bathroom floor. And there is dust on the edge of the sink, and a shelf above the sink, and a cat in the house, and he thinks that the bowl might have been knocked over by the cat, and the bowl water added to the sink water.

The Evo claims that the bowl was broken when the house was built and nobody cleaned it up.

Anonymous Mudz October 05, 2013 1:55 AM  

The old 'now just hold still while I'll map the data of a few decades onto a 4 billion year model of you with unconfirmably yet presumably correct assumptions of you not doing stuff our model doesn't say you do. Also we can't predict earthquakes."

I always had trouble reconciling Uniformatarianism with the theory of Asteroid Wipes Out The Dinosaurs and other Extinction Level Events. I'm sure they must have somehow, but I dunno, it always said 'catastrophe' or 'catastrophe-like' event to me. Maybe I just don't understand science.

You guys might find this link interesting. Some interesting confirmations of 'issues' with carbon dating. Your Friendly Hyperlink to NCSE webpage. (It's the little things).

Anonymous Kevin October 05, 2013 2:24 AM  

Eric, interesting you should note the many markers that only go back 4500 years or so. One that i find pretty cool are the sequoias. They are virtually indestructible. Forest fires, bugs, disease, nothing knocks them out--they just keep on living and growing. Basically, men with saws are the only thing that destroy sequoias. The oldest? About 4000 years old. Almost like something big happened, but it certainly couldn't have been a flood.

Anonymous rycamor October 05, 2013 10:14 AM  

Mudz October 05, 2013 1:55 AM

You guys might find this link interesting. Some interesting confirmations of 'issues' with carbon dating. Your Friendly Hyperlink to NCSE webpage. (It's the little things).


There is this gem: Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years.

Anonymous rycamor October 05, 2013 10:24 AM  

Mudz October 05, 2013 1:55 AM

You guys might find this link interesting. Some interesting confirmations of 'issues' with carbon dating. Your Friendly Hyperlink to NCSE webpage. (It's the little things).



There is this gem: Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years.

Also, I love how quickly they abandon uniformitarianism when it serves their purpose:

Question: Creationist Thomas G. Barnes has claimed that the earth's magnetic field is decaying exponentially with a half-life of fourteen hundred years. Not only does he consider this proof that the earth can be no older than ten thousand years but he also points out that a greater magnetic strength in the past would reduce C-14 dates. Now if the magnetic field several thousand years ago was indeed many times stronger than it is today, there would have been less cosmic radiation entering the atmosphere back then and less C-14 would have been produced. Therefore, any C-14 dates taken from objects of that time period would be too high. How do you answer him?

Answer: Like Cook, Barnes looks at only part of the evidence. What he ignores is the great body of archaeological and geological data showing that the strength of the magnetic field has been fluctuating up and down for thousands of years and that it has reversed polarity many times in the geological past. So, when Barnes extrapolates ten thousand years into the past, he concludes that the magnetic field was nineteen times stronger in 4000 BC than it is today, when, actually, it was only half as intense then as now. This means that radiocarbon ages of objects from that time period will be too young, just as we saw from the bristlecone pine evidence.


Yes, that old dependable friend Extrapolation. We can throw him off the train any time we like. He'll always come back when we need him.

Blogger Mercy Vetsel October 07, 2013 2:57 AM  

The problem with intelligent design isn't lack of peer review but rather lack of substance and credibility. Michael Behe's argument of irreducible complexity is a joke easily dismantled by observing very simple examples of "irreducible complexity" such as arches that clearly happen naturally but EVEN IF it were credible it wouldn't have any bearing on the great historical debates over Darwin like the origin of man or more broadly "The Origin of the Species".

It's been years since I've heard from Behe, so I did a quick check on Wikipedia and found the following quote interesting:

"Behe says he once fully accepted the scientific theory of evolution, but that after reading Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, by Michael Denton, he came to question evolution."

Now that's funny because I also thought Denton was the best of the mostly laughable Creationist lot, but lo and behold, Denton changed his mind. NOW he thinks that evolution is not just the natural process that explains the tree of life but an INEVITABLE natural process that's built into the fundamental structure of matter.

Here is what Behe's mentor has to say NOW:

"One of the most surprising discoveries which has arisen from DNA sequencing has been the remarkable finding that the genomes of all organisms are clustered very close together in a tiny region of DNA sequence space forming a tree of related sequences that can all be interconverted via a series of tiny incremental natural steps"

So unfortunately for VD the leading lights of Creationism, um, sorry "Intelligent Design" (ever notice that loser labels have to be perpetually granted new euphemisms -- stupid -> moron -> retarded -> special or progressive -> fascist -> liberal -> progressive) now FULLY ACCEPT darwinian theory.

VD is left fumbling over some territory that no one really knows or cares that much about like the origin of life while his creationists brethren are left to fight the good fights "man didn't evolve from apes" all on their own.

If the best Creationist of the 90's could see the writing on the DNA wall, what's wrong with VD?

Mercy

Anonymous Mudz October 08, 2013 9:04 AM  


There is this gem: Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years.


To be fair they also use K-Ar dating for such-like, which is superior in its 100,000 year minimum meaning it cannot be substantively be verified in the same way (and one wonders how they date something as 'old enough' to then be dated). Though they have tried on Mount St. Helens, to disputed results.

If the best Creationist of the 90's could see the writing on the DNA wall, what's wrong with VD?

The ability to have his own opinions rather than leeching off others, would be my guess. I've never even heard of Denton let alone agree with anything he says or grant him the accolade 'the Bestest Creationist That They Ever Dun Seen in the 90s'. That is before my time, after all.

Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's contemporary peer in the development of evolutionary theory, also changed his mind. He's became an ID proponent. So Darwinism's obviously a crock. I kinda like this criteria.

such as arches that clearly happen naturally

Yes, those wonderful organisms that evolved their ability to erode functionless uniform matter into less functionless uniform matter. How could we have forgotten those?
You're trying to argue for biological evolution with non-biological matter, by saying it erodes. You're a genius.

That's about as much interest as I can summon for your post.

Anonymous Mudz October 08, 2013 9:20 AM  

No, wait, not quite done:

"One of the most surprising discoveries which has arisen from DNA sequencing has been the remarkable finding that the genomes of all organisms are clustered very close together in a tiny region of DNA sequence space forming a tree of related sequences that can all be interconverted via a series of tiny incremental natural steps"

So?

Plus: You idiot. The guy's said all this and he's still a proponent of ID, and an agnostic. You know what that means? You've just demonstrated that ID and Creationism aren't the same thing as you just tried to claim.

That same book you took that quote is publicised on the DI website: http://www.discovery.org/p/521

Do the research properly next time. It took me 3 seconds of googling and a 5-second attention span to confirm you don't know what you're talking about.

Anonymous aeroguy October 17, 2013 8:03 PM  

Bullshit, even the hard sciences speculate. We just speculate with very high degrees of confidence. There is no absolute certainty, only greater degrees of confidence. My background is in aeronautical engineering and science. The navier stokes equations are as solid as you can get but if something could yield better predictions, like if we got to a point where relativistic effects come into play, we would revise it. We have confidence, not certainty. This is why we still build wind tunnels in spite of having CFD, especially with hypersonics, observed data matters, we never put blind faith in our equations, we verify through observation. But in some cases we are confident enough in our equations to build aircraft without a wind tunnel, which is basically speculating.

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