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Peer Review and the Scientific Process

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Never mind the New Age movement, astrology, or ectoplasmic production, peer review of alchemy gets you no further, even if Sir Isaac Newton is doing the review. Peer review of Isaac Newton’s physics was rather hard as he was, and remains, peerless in that field.
-IainB (February 08, 2015, 06:43 AM)
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Yes. But you and I are apparently so brainwashed by government and corporate propaganda and indoctrination that we're now unable to have an appreciation for woo. :-\

The exchange starting around 0:45 on this If Google We're a Guy Part-3 video captures what goes on in my mind every time I get buttonholed by somebody peddling woo who "got 'educated'" as they like to tell you they did. Look for this woman and her question:

(Side note: the actress they got in to do Apple's "Siri" is priceless. Watch the whole video plus parts 1 & 2. They're hysterical, to say nothing of spot-on!  ;D)

I have to remind myself what Euripides observed almost 2500 years ago: "Whom the gods destroy, they first make go mad."

I don't have the patience to listen to Mr. Sheldrakes 'censored' talk a third time. Two times was more than enough for me - to say nothing of the 36 minutes and 38 seconds of my life I'll never get back which I invested in order to do so. However, John Baez created a 36-question Crackpot Index to evaluate and rank presentations such as his. I've put it in the spoiler below if anybody with the time to waste would care to take a crack at it. ;)

Crackpot IndexThe Crackpot Index
John Baez

A simple method for rating potentially "revolutionary" contributions to physics:

*    Take an automatic 5 point starting credit. Add:
*    1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
*    2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
*    3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
*    5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.
*    5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.
*    5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).
*    5 points for each mention of "Einstien", "Hawkins" or "Feynmann".
*    10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
*    10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
*    10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)
*    10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.
*    10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory.
*    10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
*    10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations".
*    10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.
*    10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a "mechanism".
*    10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
*    10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift".
*    20 points for emailing me and complaining about the crackpot index. (E.g., saying that it "suppresses original thinkers" or saying that I misspelled "Einstein" in item 8.)
*    20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
*    20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
*    20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.
*    20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.
*    20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the "The Evans Field Equation" when your name happens to be Evans.)
*    20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it.
*    20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".
*    20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy".
*    30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)
*    30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.
*    30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).
*    30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory.
*    40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.
*    40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.
*    40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.
*    40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)
*    50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.
© 1998 John Baez
[email protected]
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Marcia Angell is a Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine 
at Harvard Medical School and former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption
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It's a long article, but it is worth a read for anyone interested in the general topic of this thread.

tl;dr - The Medical Industrial Complex is full of fraud.

Just saw this:

(Cross-post from down "there".)

And more from the fraud dept...

Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.
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Change all the data to make it fit your narrative, then let people review your narrative and verify it against the data.

Oh, where have we heard that story before? Oh... that's right... a Merck whistleblower...


^A thought: perhaps we're too easily equating 'corporate researchers' with scientists? And 'corporate sponsored research' with science? ;)


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