peer
The role of a peer-review board is like that of the Supreme Court, which sole
function is to determine whether a law is constitutional. The board does not consider
the merits of the case. The purpose of the board is to determine solely whether a
theory is scientific, philosophical, or fantasy. In order to ascertain that a theory
meets the criteria of rational philosophy, the peer must consider three aspects:

1.        Whether a paper has a rational foundation.
2.        Whether the paper has a valid hypothesis.
3.        Whether the theory is consistent with or follows from the foundation and the
hypothesis.

There is nothing wrong with tyranny in science if we mean by tyranny that few
papers are published. Indeed, this should be the norm, and not like we see today
where purportedly scientific journals publish a lot, most of which is poppycock. What
does a black hole (object) have to do with science if advocates have yet to furnish a
foundation, the first step of the scientific method (Science Mag)? What does curved
space have to do with science if the proposal itself violates logic (arxiv Scientific
American)? What do fantastic time-travel theories have to do with science (Nature)?
Another thing that has little to do with science is the allocation of grants for research.
The US is especially guilty of using money to forward the pursuit of science.
However, just like money may buy sex, but not love, so money can buy technology,
but not wisdom. The fact that the approval of a paper implies the granting of funds
should not have anything to do with whether a paper is scientific. The best sign of an
unscientific individual is one who investigates phenomena in hopes of obtaining the
Nobel Prize. In Physics there are no prizes comparable to the medals given at the
Olympics, the crown given at a Miss Universe Contest, or at the Oscars at a movie
screening. In Physics, the only prize is the satisfaction of having visualized the
secrets of nature. Nobel Prizes and those granted by ultra rightist religious groups
like the Templar Foundation should be a cause of embarrassment to true scientists.
If they are what provides incentive to a scientist, we are doomed. These prizes
cheapen true science and can only distract from a path of seeking the truth.
In order for a philosophical theory to be scientific as well, a peer must determine in
addition that it makes testable predictions regarding the outcome of a tangible
experiment. Theories which cannot be tested via tangible experiments remain either
philosophical or fantastic. The phrase ‘scientific merit’ is an oxymoron. Science is
objective. Merit is subjective. If a reviewer concludes that a paper has no scientific
merit, this reviewer has not lived up the responsibilities of a reviewer. Either the
paper is scientific because it followed the scientific method or it isn’t. This is a black
or white issue. Whether the theory has merit (actually gives us insight into a given
aspect of nature) is another matter.
Peer review should not be blind in either direction. Many contemporary journals
have erroneously surmised that in order for the process to be fair, neither the judges
should know who the writer is nor should the writer know who the judges are. This
anachronistic system is more retrograde than a 16th Century court of inquisition.
Imagine if the law denied you the right to confront your accusers. This has to lead to
abuse. And it does. Shielded behind anonymity, the modern reviewers tear down
anything that violates their particular religion. Several mathematicians are on record
for stating that they do not even consider papers which promote anything to do with
classical mechanics or the aether. A ‘conflict of interest’ issue should never arise
with a reviewer, for else it means that the reviewer is looking at subjective merit
rather than objective logic. This system also lends itself to plagiarism. The blind
review system allows judges to extract valuable information for their own papers
without giving credit to the source. If the authors later see their ideas in print
elsewhere, they have no recourse since they do not know who reviewed their
submission.
If a paper meets the foregoing conditions, it may still be rejected because of space
limitations. Papers compete for publication space and the best ones get published.
1. A member of a special inquiry board who determines whether a theory is
scientific, philosophical, or fantasy.

peer review:        A process ideally involving three independent individuals whereby
a theory is reviewed for its compliance with scientific or philosophical norms or
standards.

  Syn: referee, judge, arbiter, your equal, reviewer

    ________________________________________________________________________________________


                                  Home                    Books                    Glossary            




        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008