Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Mon Jun 17 17:16:56 EST 1996

On 17 Jun 1996, STEVEN DOWD wrote:

> In article <4q1aqo$mda at epx.cis.umn.edu>, Matthew A. Emme <emme0002 at gold.tc.umn.edu> says:
> >You have to do the science, and prove that your observations are correct,
> > before people should buy into a new theory.  

In practice this ideal recipe more often than not
does not work or rather works to the opposite:

(1) many cases when all due observations have been
made, case was established, peer reviewed papers are
published, people are convinced, awards and funds
are given .... then (in a year, two of five) all goes
to tubes. With a little bit more luck Poons and
Fleishmann would make it to Stockholm.

(2) occasionally good theories were taken out of
blue (or claimed behind them some nonexistent or
made up data) but were nonetheless successfully sold 
and confirmed later. This is called serependous (sp ?) 
discovery. There are numerous examples of these.

> It is called the scientific
> >method and it might be slow but it is the best system to filter out the
> >huge amounts of crap that comes out.

I hope you don't confuse 'scientific method' (in some
general sense we all subscribe to it, though with wide
deviations ) with a peer review process. The latter (Anonymous
Peer Review) is the main source of mountains of garbage in science
(not the other way around). On the contary, among [ readable ] 
non-peer reviewed literature the fraction of crap is, actually, 
much less.
> Just another way to promote the status quo.

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