Blogs > Liberty and Power > Night of the Living Blog Post

Sep 17, 2007 2:13 pm

Night of the Living Blog Post

On May 7, David Beito kindly posted at Liberty & Power a little commentary of mine with the ponderous title "Peer Review, Publication in Top Journals, Scientific Consensus, and So Forth." You may recall that a spirited discussion ensued at this blog―fifty comments have been posted, as of today―some of it unfortunately misguided by the discussant's assumption that my post had been written to express a substantive view about anthropogenic global warming, an intention I expressly disavowed at the start.

In any event, my little commentary proved to have legs, and it was posted and linked at many other sites, where it sparked a great deal of additional discussion, as well as many e-mail messages sent directly to me. Most of these messages came from scientists in the physical and biological sciences who agreed with my views and often told me stories about their own experiences that confirmed my general statements. Other correspondents wrote to tell me that I was all wet or that I was a fool, as if at this late date I didn't already know. Many such ad hominem dismissals and similarly abusive personal characterizations appeared amid the give-and-take at various blog sites. In venturing onto the blogosphere, one stands to benefit greatly from having a thick skin.

Like those zombies in"The Night of the Living Dead," however, my remarks refuse to die. Their most recent reappearance, poking their ghastly fingers through the boarded-over windows of the House of Science, is at the Peer-to-Peer blog The editor at Nature tells me that this site receives more than 8,000 visits daily, presumably by scientists or persons with a keen interest in science, so perhaps the crème de la crème of the scientific world will now demolish my views once and for all.

Suffice it to say that when I first wrote my little commentary, in response to David Beito's suggestion that, as a contributing editor of Liberty & Power, I ought actually to contribute something, I had no idea how much unhappiness I would add to the already-bloated sum total of misery in the world.

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Tim Sydney - 9/18/2007


Before you get too miserable you might want to check this out...

You may be interested in the following video stream made by Peter Frishauf, the founder of Medscape, entitled Are Traditional Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles Obsolete?.

Frishauf makes the case that Wikipedia and Wiki style media are superior to conventional peer reviewed journals, at least in medicine. He explicitly discusses Jimmy Wales and his role in founding Wikipedia.

Well, as you probably know, Jimmy Wales got the idea for Wikipedia after studying F A Hayek's paper "The Use of Knowledge In Society".

So it's not impossible Wales's Hayekian technology may ultimately out-compete old style big journal peer review and the associated and overlapping hierarchy of state trickle fed scientists.

So, look on the bright side, assuming you survive the on-coming "Two Minutes Hate", there is every reason to think you may just, in the long run, win the war, if not this immediate argument!

Anthony Gregory - 9/17/2007

That's nothing, Bob. Think of all the increased heart pressure you're responsible for. Indeed, your words might be a contributing factor to climate change.