I came across a post on the blog of Dr John Hawks a noted Paleoanthropologist that I find disturbing although not surprising. The blog post is entitled “Peer Review: a note from a physicist.”
As Hawks points out there is a growing cultural divide in science between those who see science as an open conversation and those who see it as a curated hierarchy. Hawks references a post by Sabine Hossenfelder in which a young scientist refuses to comment one way or the other on a blog post because he doesn’t consider it “proper scientific means” to argue with colleagues.” The Hawks post goes on to note, “Here’s a young researcher who explicitly refuses to address criticism on his work” and he thinks this is “proper” scientific behavior! In short, he refuses to explain his research to a third party which is, as pointed out, “bad science communication.” And as pointed out such behavior as this from the young researcher actively damages science.
Hawks says he gets concerned when he hears early career scientists behaving this way and I fully agree. In fact, I find such behavior ALARMING to say the least!! As Hawks states, “Some scientists are markedly open and see the public discussion of their ideas as helpful, others react defensively.” Hawks goes on to point out that senior scientists sometimes see open discussion of their work along with the sharing of data and public engagement as “not the proper way to conduct science.” He says that concept is ok as these “old fogies” will be gone before long but what worries Hawks is that they will be replaced with like-minded mid-career people with the same attitude so they can “reap the benefits of status” in scientific circles.
Hawks says, “…once a scientist is ready to present ideas, he would be a FOOL not to listen to critique and commentary in every form available.” I absolutely agree with Hawks on that points as well. Further, I also agree with him on the fact that a researcher should be willing to hear commentary on their work and adjust their work appropriately. Sadly, as Hawks points out “few ideas are subject to robust review.” Findings that the majority of scientists think are wrong are simply ignored as they are convinced that in the end truth will prevail which, in my opinion, is rather IGNORANT! No, usually what happens is truth does NOT prevail but is hidden under more and more layers of untruth! As Hawks points out such an approach does NOT work. Additionally, as Hawks points out “We seem to have forgotten that criticism is an integral part of science, it is essential for progress, and for cohesion.”
It concerns me that, as Hawks states, “As science stands today, there is no reward for good review of work.” And he adds that scientists today who provide reviews for work published in journals are simply conducting a “charitable service.”
One thing about science that any future or young scientists needs to have is THICK SKIN! Publish any findings on anything and prepare to be questioned and even attacked. If you can’t handle that or criticism of our research and findings then it is best for such a person to choose a different career and/or GET THE HELL OUT OF SCIENCE! For every one of your findings there is always going to be some other researcher who comes up with finding opposite of your own! That’s just the way it works!!
What are we so afraid of in Western society today including Western science? Have we really become that small and WEAK that we fear criticism in any form? Do we have such a strong desire to be right EVEN if we are dead WRONG? Truth comes to light through questioning not through ignoring. Science today MUST decide what it wants. Truth or non-truths!
There is a lot of JUNK SCIENCE around today and it is this very attitude by scientists that is promoting JUNK SCIENCE. In fact, I’ve known for a long time now that “science” is NOT really about SCIENCE at all but about PROFESSIONAL AND ACADEMIC STATUS! We appear to have sacrificed REAL SCIENCE and truth for status and that is IGNORANT beyond belief IMO!!
I’ve said many times before that TRUE SCIENCE FOLLOWS THE EVIDENCE WHEREVER IT LEADS. Junk science does not! In fact, junk science doesn’t follow the evidence at all but holds as its sole goal STATUS. And that status is obtained by forcing the findings into some bozo’s pet theory that, frankly, most of the time doesn’t hold water!
Bluntly, let me address my field of science, Paleoanthropology. Honestly I think we might have a few prehistoric and now extinct APES mixed up with the remains of REAL ancient human ancestors! I base this belief on comparisons I’ve done with skulls. I also do NOT buy the Out of Africa bullshit as there is plenty of evidence to suggest human ancestors originated in other places OUTSIDE OF AFRICA! If you desire STATUS more than you desire science and truth then by all means please support the Out of Africa CRAP because if you don’t then you will never get STATUS! Of course by doing so you will throw TRUE SCIENCE in the garbage can in favor of lies and mis-truths but, hey, isn’t STATUS far more important? NOT!! Personally I don’t give one damn about status. I have NONE and I desire NONE period!! My goal is the pursuit of SCIENCE and TRUTH not status!!
Here’s another thorn in my side that I ran across recently……
I just can’t help but notice that lately there have been a lot of “recreations” from skulls of alleged ancient human ancestors that are HAIRLESS and missing KEY features such as sagittal crests and the typical heavy brow bones. So we now appear to be simply FABRICATING these recreations while ignoring key morphological features and, thus, are engaging in nothing more than WISHFUL THINKING!! Case in point? Check out the recreations presented by the Senchenberg Research Institute at:
If I took a gorilla and shaved it bald it would look EXACTLY like some of these alleged ancient human ancestors! Notice all of the recreations are hairless? Notice some of missing the heavy brow ridges and/or sagittal ridges? And what’s up with the valley atop the skulls where the sagittal crest is suppose to be???? And be sure to check out the recreation of the Homo sapien whose skull is very high, in fact, a bit too high IMO. What a load of CRAP!!
Think I’m more than just a little PISSED OFF about all of this? Well you’re right! I am!! I’m sick of the JUNK SCIENCE and that apparent “scientific” attitude that ANYTHING GOES. Instead of following the evidence we are now engaging in WISHFUL THINKING which only serves to BURY THE TRUTH along with the OBVIOUS evidence! Hey, if you can’t handle criticism and are unwilling to adjust your research to more accurately reflect the obvious evidence THEN GET THE HELL OUT OF SCIENCE!!
Hawks is absolutely right but I go beyond his concerns and say they are ALARMING! Scientists should NOT be WEAK! You have to have THICK SKIN when you are a REAL scientists. If you don’t then you have no business being a scientists! And let me conclude with the point that I’m well aware that I’ve now challenged the frickin STATUS of some scientists by saying that some of the skulls alleged to be ancient human ancestors are APES and not humans at all that we’ve gotten mixed up. Burn me at the stake will ya?! I’d rather be burned at the stake than accept this STUPID CRAP being put out by modern “science” which they ought to be calling MODERN MYTHOLOGY! Don’t get me wrong. I think human evolution is a FACT. I think, however, we’ve mixed up prehistoric ape remains in the process! And please allow me to OFFEND the other side while I’m on this rant…..for all of you Bible thumpers out there who don’t believe in human evolution please show me where God said something to the effect, “And God created Adam Homo sapien….” because I DON’T SEE IT!!
Now that I’ve offended you all…..please…have a nice frickin day!!