posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 08:47 PM
Sorry I'm just getting back to ATS. We've been away for a few days visiting family.
Anyway, let me try to respond to the three posters. First, you all make some very good points. I'm not saying that peer review is so flawed that it
shouldn't be used. Vox makes a good point, in that the longer the process goes on, the better the chances are that the work under review is fully
To answer the question about where I am going with this, here is my concern.
Radical new ideas are often met with total disdain, during the peer review process, because the work usually goes against established, some say
"mainstream" ideas and theories. Theories, now accepted as most probably correct, such as plate tectonics(probably the MOST negatively reviewed
theory by peers), solar-centric solar system, Daltons' atomic theory, and many others were rejected because of the peer process. Yes, time, many
times wins out, but in some cases, over decades and centuries.
In other cases, "peer review" is nothing more than, as fuelcell points out, a more sophisticated rendition of the "good old boys" network. I'll
review yours favorably, you review mine. (And please don't tell me it doesn't happen, because I witnessed a case where it did.)
Finally, in some cases, peer review is nothing more than political. Probably, the most recent issue involves "Global Warming". I don't want to
get into that, as there are probably many threads on that already. However, at a time when, at least the Nobel Committee and the MSM have seemed to
accept it as fact, there are many in the field that believe just the opposite, or in some cases, looking at subsets of that theory, that:
1.) carbon emissions have negligible effect on global warming
2.) there is no discernible global warming
3.) there is a more pronounced global cooling over a longer period of time
Again, I don't wish to get into the global warming scenario, as it is not a field that I am, in any way, an expert on. By the way, I don't think Al
Gore has any academic credentials in that either, but ....
Now, to get to the point- Let's just say that you do come up with a theory that may lead to a cure for cancer. Furthermore, let's say that in the
peer review process, it is shot down. Grant money probably will be hard to acquire. OK, you say, as time goes by, maybe it becomes accepted. (Plate
tectonics took 50 years to reverse). The theory is finally accepted, (maybe 50 years from now?) A cure is finally developed. How many people died of
cancer in that time that might have been saved over 50 years? What if it were your spouse, your child, your grandchild, someone that may have had some
major breakthrough that led to other developments to benefit humanity.