Peer vs Critical Review

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The Scientific Method is not just a way to test and validate the universe around you. For career scientists, its a great way to avoid being humiliated in front of the whole world.

We can go into the detail on the first steps in The Method another time, for this exercise we’re going to focus on Peer Review. We’re going to take a lesson from a chemistry professor of mine back in college.

I can’t remember his name at the moment, but this professor explained Peer Review something like this;

“Peer Review is the best way to make sure you are not humiliated when you publish your work. Extremely smart people usually have extremely large egos. So when you publish something, you can expect the most ‘know it all egotistical asshole’ to rip you a new one up and down if you get something wrong. Professional Scientists are some of the meanest people you will ever meet and at least one of us will make you look like a fool if given the opportunity. By showing how dumb one of their peers is, that’s you, they get to show off how smart they are. That is simply part of the profession.”

“Now how do you avoid that?”, he went on, “You thoroughly test your hypothesis. You should actually try to falsify your own work and findings before you show it to anyone else. Try to find a way to break your hypothesis and when you have exhausted all your ideas, ask the smartest person you know to try to break it. That’s Peer Review. Good theories are hard to break and you should never publish an idea or theory without rigorous testing beforehand.” He always used that term, Rigorous, or Rigorously test.

“Once your smartest colleague fails to falsify your methods and results, then it is safe to publish. If your idea has a large impact on the scientific world, then you need to have at least a few of your very smart peers review your work before publishing. The bigger the claim, the more scrutiny and ridicule you will receive.”

Folks, that is how Peer Review works. The Scientific Method does not stop at Peer Review, it is followed up by Critical Review. Critical Review by the most ardent and egotistical skeptics that care to examine your work. The Scientific Method doesn’t even stop at Critical Review, in fact it is ‘never’ closed to further review. So long as there is someone who wants to take another look, there will be skepticism. Peer Review is just a smart gateway to use in order to keep yourself from being embarrassed. It’s the difference between Proof Reading your own writing and having someone else do it. It does not and should not determine the final Grade.

Climatologists are demanding that we stop and accept Peer Review as the final step in observing Anthropocentric Climate Change.  I find it somewhat amazing that Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity are up for scientific scrutiny, but the Green House Effect and Anthropocentric Global Warning is not.  Two well established theories that do a great job of prediction are up for scrutiny, but a mish-mash of partial hypotheses and theories that do a terrible job of predicting is not?

That’s what should be alarming to ‘scientists’ and the general public. Well, at least to people who take the Scientific Method and their Reputations seriously.

This should also be alarming to the Judge and Jurors in the upcoming Michael Mann Libel case.  I should hope that the Defendants’ lawyers bring this up.

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