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Making excuses

The editor of Life, Shu-Kun Lin, has published a rationalization for his shoddy journal.

Life (ISSN 2075-1729, http://www.mdpi.com/journal/life/) is a new journal that deals with new and sometime difficult interdisciplinary matters. Consequently, the journal will occasionally be presented with submitted articles that are controversial and/or outside conventional scientific views. Some papers recently accepted for publication in Life have attracted significant attention. Moreover, members of the Editorial Board have objected to these papers; some have resigned, and others have questioned the scientific validity of the contributions. In response I want to first state some basic facts regarding all publications in this journal. All papers are peer-reviewed, although it is often difficult to obtain expert reviewers for some of the interdisciplinary topics covered by this journal. I feel obliged to stress that although we will strive to guarantee the scientific standard of the papers published in this journal, all the responsibility for the ideas contained in the published articles rests entirely on their authors. Discussions on previously published articles are welcome and I hope that, by fostering discussion and by keeping an open-minded attitude towards new ideas, the journal will spur progress in this little explored, difficult and very exciting area of knowledge.

In particular, the paper “Andrulis, E.D. Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life. Life 2012, 2, 1-105” was published recently online and is due to appear in Issue 1, Volume 2, 2012 of Life, at the end of March this year [1]. So that our readership has as much information as I can divulge without violating the confidentiality of the review process, what follows is the background of these events. Professor Bassez had previously guest-edited a successful special issue titled “The Origin of Life” in another MDPI journal [2]. Although Professor Bassez [3] had also planned to be the Guest Editor of the special issue “Origin of Life – Feature Papers” for Life [4], she was, for personal reasons, unable to do so. I therefore volunteered to take this responsibility on her behalf and to guest edit this special issue and supervise the editorial procedure for the papers. I made the decision of acceptance based on the peer review reports we received and their recommendation in support of publication.
As stated earlier, finding reviewers able to cross discipline boundaries as is often needed for multidisciplinary “origin of life” topics [5] is particularly difficult. The publishing process that MDPI manuscripts go through by our in-house editorial staff members is that they choose reviewers from sources like Chemical Abstracts, PubMed, Web of Science or more recently, from Google Scholar. Very often we also ask the Editorial Board members to review papers or ask those of them who have relevant knowledge and expertise to supply possible reviewer names. We also use the reviewer names suggested by the authors, but we do this with great care, checking the background of each potential reviewer and their publication record, as well as ensuring they have no collaborations with the authors that may be construed as a conflict of interest. I should stress that although we try to encourage bold, innovative science, we reject many submissions. In the case of the Dr. Andrulis’s long paper, the two reviewers were both faculty members of reputable universities different than the author’s and both went to considerable trouble presenting lengthy review reports. Dr. Andrulis revised his manuscript as requested, and the paper was subsequently published.

Regardless of opinion on specific papers that have been published to date, I sincerely hope that all of our articles, most of which are outstanding, will continue to be read and discussed. Our editorial procedure is under scrutiny by the Editorial Board, who wishes to be more closely involved in the editorial process, and we are striving to further improve our editorial service. We welcome comments on the Dr. Andrulis’s paper or any other papers that have been published in Life.

The “interdisciplinary” excuse is bogus. I am not a specialist in the fields discussed, but I could see immediately that Andrulis’s paper, and Abel’s paper as well, were “off” — to any critical, skeptical thinker their flaws are obvious. Are there any scientists in any field — general physics, biology, chemistry, psychology, for instance — who would read either of those papers and think maybe there’s something to them? You’d have to be a fellow crackpot or somebody completely unqualified to evaluate any science papers to fail to see the problems in them.

Also, you don’t need someone with great interdisciplinary knowledge to be able to screen out this kind of nonsense. I’m reminded of the comment I read on the Velikovsky affair: someone (it might have been Sagan) noted that the astronomers could see that Velikovsky’s cosmic billiard game was bad physics, but gosh, his biblical scholarship sure was impressive; while the Bible scholars were all saying his mythology was all terrible literary scholarship, but golly, he sure seemed to know a lot of physics. Evaluating interdisciplinary work does not mean you cherry pick the most favorable interpretations from those most ignorant of a specific subfield, nor does it mean you split the difference and average the opinions of the subfields together. If one part of the mix is bullshit, you throw out the whole thing.

The fact that they’re having trouble finding qualified reviewers for the work they’re publishing is also ominous. Shouldn’t the editorial board consist of people who are competent in this interdisciplinary field who can screen out the wackier submissions? And shouldn’t it be setting off alarm bells when they accept suggestions of reviewers from authors, and those are the only people they can get reviews from? It’s a situation ripe for selection by crackpots of crackpot reviewers; you just know that the Abel paper was reviewed by fellow travelers in the Intelligent Design creationism movement, and got no critical evaluation at all.

Given the spectacularly poor quality of the Andrulis and Abel papers, though, I am most amused by the claim that the editors and reviewers of Life “reject many submissions”. I would love to see the papers that they judged worse than Andrulis’s and Abel’s.

(Also on Sb)


OwlMirror found the quote in Sagan’s Broca’s Brain.

Velikovsky has called attention to a wide range of stories and legends, held by diverse peoples, separated by great distances, which stories show remarkable similarities and concordances. I am not expert in the cultures or languages of any of these peoples, but I find the concatenation of legends Velikovsky has accumulated stunning. It is true that some experts in these cultures are less impressed. I can remember vividly discussing Worlds in Collision with a distinguished professor of Semitics at a leading university. He said something like “The Assyriology, Egyptology, Biblical scholarship and all of that Talmudic and Midrashic pilpul is, of course, nonsense; but I was impressed by the astronomy.” I had rather the opposite view.

Comments

  1. Owlmirror says

    I’m reminded of the comment I read on the Velikovsky affair: someone (it might have been Sagan) noted that the astronomers could see that Velikovsky’s cosmic billiard game was bad physics, but gosh, his biblical scholarship sure was impressive; while the Bible scholars were all saying his mythology was all terrible literary scholarship, but golly, he sure seemed to know a lot of physics.

    I think you’re misremembering, here — the quote was by Sagan, but not about Velikovsky. It was about Erich von Däniken, and Chariots of the Gods; the cross-disciplinary stuff was in reference to Däniken’s “archaeology” and “astronomy” (which was what Sagan could see was bogus).

  2. eric says

    I am not a specialist in the fields discussed, but I could see immediately that Andrulis’s paper, and Abel’s paper as well, were “off”.

    Good gracious, for the Andrulis paper, the mere fact that it’s 105 pages long tells you something is off.

    Any sane editor would insist that such a long monograph be split up, or that much of it be published on line as supporting material. And any sane scientist would happily oblige by making several publications out of this.

  3. Owlmirror says

    Oh, great. It looks like you were right about it being Velikovsky, and I was remembering a second-hand reference from someone who was misremembering.

    I die. Worlds collide with god-chariots, and all die. O the embarrassment.

  4. jaycee says

    “…it is often difficult to obtain expert reviewers for some of the interdisciplinary topics covered by this journal.”

    If there aren’t enough reviewers to go around in a certain field, then who is supposed to be reading and citing the articles after they are published?

    Sounds like another reason that the ‘desperately try to get two reviews’ system that even reputable journals use is a bad one.

  5. slc1 says

    When I was a physics graduate student a million years ago, one of the professors at the school had gotten his PhD from Princeton. While he was a student there, he belonged to the same Synagogue as Velikovsky, who was a resident in the Princeton, NJ area. He had several conversations with Velikovsky and found him to be very nice, quite intelligent, and totally ignorant of physics.

  6. Alex the Pretty Good says

    [...] published recently online and is due to appear in Issue 1, Volume 2, 2012 of Life, at the end of March this year [...] (my emphasis)

    In other words, on April 1st?

    Now it all makes sense.

  7. pacal says

    Interesting you bring up the Velikovsky affair. One of the most interesting aspects of the affair was about how it was turned into a morality play. One variation of it was “wicked” Dr. Sagan versus “St.” Velikovsky. The purpose of this switch was to remove attention from Dr. Velikovsky’s poorly thoughtout and often fraudulently supported ideas and concentrate on the critics and their failings.

    Thus we get to this day acres and acres of prose from all sorts of people about how unfair the critics were to Dr. Velikovsky, much of it from people who are far from cultists worshiping at the shrine of “St.” Velikovsky but who wamnt to support the little guy who supposidly was being attacked by the evil system. Some these people refer to Velikovsky battling “Big Science”; no doubt something like the Illuminati.

    One of the other interesting features of this whole conflict is that virtually everyone concentrates on Worlds in Collision and they ignore the geological idiocy of Earth in Upheaval. Perhaps because in Earth in Upheaval the geological “evidence” that Velikovsky gives for his nonsense is easily shown to not do so. So the c7ultists ignore it.

    That Velikovsky’s theory was nonsense and that he distorted “evidence” for his theories in his books is now abundantly evident. In fact Velikovsky’s distortions of alleged support for his theories is so bad that I suspect he may not have been simply a crank but a mounteback.

  8. robro says

    I’m not a scientist, although I am interested in science and scan various science news feeds. When I first encountered the Andrulis paper, my skeptical alarm went off…the same skepticism I would have if someone published a paper that had the hint of perpetual motion. It doesn’t take expertise to have a rational perspective to recognize dubious “scientific” claims of grand schemes and resolutions of the “big” questions, which are often made even more dubious by the hype mentality of the press releases. My layman’s experience is that science is grindingly slow and incremental. Any “annus mirabilis” will be very rare indeed.

    Also, the discovery that swirly patterns are common to our universe is like, “Uh-uh, and so…?”

    Incidentally, I was poking around the iTubes about MDPI, Shu-Kun Lin’s organization behind these publications. I can’t find anything concrete, but something seems odd about the operation.

  9. pacal says

    slc1 says:

    “When I was a physics graduate student a million years ago, one of the professors at the school had gotten his PhD from Princeton. While he was a student there, he belonged to the same Synagogue as Velikovsky, who was a resident in the Princeton, NJ area. He had several conversations with Velikovsky and found him to be very nice, quite intelligent, and totally ignorant of physics.”

    Look up Velikovsky’s Cosmos Without Gravitation. Velikovsky thought gravity was bogus and the Universe was run by electro-magnetic forces. The piece also shows a stunning ignorance of basic physics.

  10. Owlmirror says

    Tracked down the actual quote by Sagan — Broca’s Brain, chapter 7:

    Velikovsky has called attention to a wide range of stories and legends, held by diverse peoples, separated by great distances, which stories show remarkable similarities and concordances. I am not expert in the cultures or languages of any of these peoples, but I find the concatenation of legends Velikovsky has accumulated stunning. It is true that some experts in these cultures are less impressed. I can remember vividly discussing Worlds in Collision with a distinguished professor of Semitics at a leading university. He said something like “The Assyriology, Egyptology, Biblical scholarship and all of that Talmudic and Midrashic pilpul is, of course, nonsense; but I was impressed by the astronomy.” I had rather the opposite view.

  11. says

    I remember the first time I read Sagan’s criticism of Velikovsky. My parents were into Sagan back when, and I got to read their hardback copies of his books after I devoured my own copy of The Dragons of Eden. I think it was my first time seeing a real skeptic grind a crank in detail. I can thank Sagan for planting the seed of critical thought and love of real science in me, and how that helped lead me to where I am now.

  12. naturalcynic says

    Velikovsky thought gravity was bogus and the Universe was run by electro-magnetic forces. The piece also shows a stunning ignorance of basic physics.

    Or, that Velikovsky found the Grand Unified Theory of Everything and kept it a secret. But I don’t think so.

  13. bcskeptic says

    Yeah, all the code words in the editor’s explanations and excuses, are “code” for non-critical, non-scientific, creationist-sympathetic bullshit. No wonder they can’t find real peer reviewers.

    Thanks PZ for flagging this journal as hocus-pocus. Had I been reading that particular paper, and thought it was from a real science journal, I would’ve been, “WTF”? And biology isn’t even my area of expertise.

  14. Sastra says

    pacal #7 wrote:

    Thus we get to this day acres and acres of prose from all sorts of people about how unfair the critics were to Dr. Velikovsky, much of it from people who are far from cultists worshiping at the shrine of “St.” Velikovsky but who wamnt to support the little guy who supposidly was being attacked by the evil system.

    This trope about the “little guy being attacked by the system” is probably the main factor that lured my father into Von Daniken’s Ancient Astronaut theory/society. Sagan’s quote was about Velikovsky, sure, but the same narrative applies (my dad also loved Velikovsky).

    The story is: the scientific system is like an elite college fraternity and therefore new knowledge and ideas are going to have to come from scrappy outsiders — brave mavericks who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and go out and actually look at the evidence themselves. After which they bypass the corrupted old-boys network and go right to the audience which is capable of appreciating their breakthroughs: you, the common folk in the street! You can read and make up your own mind, too! Because you’re not afraid to think outside the box.

    Both papers should have set off multiple red flags even for a non-scientist. They didn’t just get stuff wrong in the nitty gritty details. Like Von Daniken and Velikovsky, they were making grandiose claims to begin with.

  15. Stevarious says

    Consequently, the journal will occasionally be presented with submitted articles that are controversial and/or outside conventional scientific views. Some papers recently accepted for publication in Life have attracted significant attention.

    Either they are missing the point completely, or they are being deliberately obtuse to save face (and that should tell you something right there, when the ‘face-saving’ act is to pretend to be stupider than you really are).

    The reason that these papers attracted attention was not because they are ‘controversial and/or outside conventional scientific views’.
    They attracted attention because they are terrible science. I doubt that I could find as bad at my son’s middle school science fair.
    On second thought, I DO live less than 100 miles from Dover, PA. I just might be able to find something precisely as bad.

  16. tantalusprime says

    “I’m reminded of the comment I read on the Velikovsky affair: someone (it might have been Sagan) noted that the astronomers could see that Velikovsky’s cosmic billiard game was bad physics, but gosh, his biblical scholarship sure was impressive; while the Bible scholars were all saying his mythology was all terrible literary scholarship, but golly, he sure seemed to know a lot of physics.”

    The same thing happened to me as a college student when I attended a creationist lecture with a classmate. At the end I said, “Well, his biological arguments were total crap but I can’t see any problem with the geological arguments he put forth.” My classmate, who happened to be a geology major, said “No, those geological data are total BS. But his biological arguments were pretty convincing.”

  17. johnmarley says

    Thanks, PZ. When a crackpot article slips past peer-review and is later exposed as nonsense, the editor of a respectable journal issues a retraction. I’m adding Life to my list of publications to ignore.

  18. whheydt says

    When Isaac Asimov was criticized for dismissing Velikovsky as a crank on the grounds all the critiques of him were from people in areas outside of their own expertise, his response was…’Okay. I’m a biochemist. Velikovsky’s biochemistry is nonsense. He doesn’t know a carbohydrate from a hydrocarbon.’

    –W. H. Heydt

    Old Used Programmer

  19. David Marjanović says

    Worlds collide with god-chariots, and all die. O the embarrassment.

    Ripped out of context and just left there so I can bask in its shine.

    He doesn’t know a carbohydrate from a hydrocarbon.

    *facepalm* Oh snap!

  20. rabbitscribe says

    “So that our readership has as much information as I can divulge without violating the confidentiality of the review process, what follows is the background of these events. “

    What, now? I am not a scientist and this may well be innocent and sensible. But why isn’t the review process as transparent as possible?

  21. raven says

    It’s become very easy to start a so called scientific journal, particularly if they are all online.

    So they proliferate.

    In medicine, there are now a lot of pseudoscientific journals along the lines of Journal of Vaccines Cause Autism and so on. The National Library of Medicine just picks them up and indexes them anyway. It’s cargo cult science expanding.

    Peer review no longer means what it once did. These days it is caveat, reader beware. Same thing has happened with all the diploma mill doctorates. Anyone can now get a doctorate out of a cereal box and put Dr. before their name for a nominal price.

  22. yellowsubmarine says

    “All papers are peer-reviewed, although it is often difficult to obtain expert reviewers for some of the interdisciplinary topics covered by this journal.”

    Their review board clearly needs more wizards.

  23. says

    My understanding is that submitters can recommend reviewers when they submit manuscripts to a journal. This is helpful in some really narrow fields of research where locating a relevant expert to function as a reviewer may be difficult. However, am I right to presume that journals typically don’t use those recommendations if they have their own in mind? I would agree with you, PZ, that if the journal used ONLY the reviews suggested by the submitter, that would be sheer insanity.

  24. raven says

    However, am I right to presume that journals typically don’t use those recommendations if they have their own in mind?

    For some journals, you can recommend reviewers.

    They might use them but might not.

    What good journals do is send the paper to experts in the field, typically other people who have done similar research.

    This is why you should make your references long and comprehensive. If a reviewer gets your paper and you didn’t reference their work, they get ticked off and usually point out that…your references are incomplete. “The authors forgot to reference the paper, (long reference)” = my paper.

  25. M Groesbeck says

    “Interdisciplinary” work is one of those things, it seems, that is almost always done wrong. It seems like it would be common sense that to actually do work in the overlap between two or more fields one would need a solid background in both/all of them — or, better, a team composed of people with the requisite backgrounds. It isn’t enough to “specialize” in “interdisciplinariness” (though it helps to have done some work in translating among different disciplinary approaches, sets of jargon, and conceptual frameworks); you need people who actually have some mastery of the “disciplines” that a project/study/etc. is “inter”.

    I mean, hell, I’m going into a field which is “interdisciplinary” pretty much by definition (medical physics — “the application of physics to medicine”, with a number of asterisks there). Will I be personally able to conceive, design, and carry out research in this field on my own? Hell no — but I’ll be able to do some damn good work in emerging treatment and diagnostic options if you team me up with a “pure” physicist and a research MD. (Add a biologist or two, a biochemist, and maybe a few engineers, and we’d be able to really get something done. Throw in a couple of educators, psychologists and medical anthropologists and we’ll make our work make sense to other people and be able to integrate it into their lives.) But that’s what it takes to do actual interdisciplinary work, rather than uninformed bullshitting.

    (This is one of those cases where I’ll defend the relevance of my undergrad background in comparative literature. If I can work out a structural comparison of 21st-century francophone Polynesian political fiction with 4th-century Indian sociopolitical treatises, translating among physicists, anthropologists and medical doctors is easy. Especially since I’m rather more competent in physics, medicine and anthropology than in Sanskrit or reo mā’ohi.)

  26. Loqi says

    As someone who is completely unqualified to evaluate science papers, I can honestly say that was no impediment to me quickly dismissing this paper as bunk.

  27. KG says

    Owlmirror@10,

    I suspect Sagan was being unduly modest here. I was urged to read Worlds in Collision by a credulous friend in the 1970s. I’m neither an astronomer nor a historian nor a mythologist, but I could see it was utter bilge in all three areas. The “astrophysics” was like a game of planetary billiards, the “history” depended on particular canons in the game happening to coincide with obviously fictional episodes from the OT like the sun standing still and the waters of the Red Sea parting, and the mythology – gosh wow gollikins, lots of different cultures have myths about catastrophic floods and strange things appearing in the sky – who’d a thunk?

  28. walton says

    As it happens, I just happened upon an old Onion article that seemed remarkably appropriate for this thread:

    Rogue Scientist Has Own Scientific Method

    Only months after abandoning a tenured position at Lehigh University, maverick chemist Theodore Hapner managed to disprove two of the three laws of thermodynamics and show that gold is a noxious gas, turning the world of science—defined for centuries by exhaustive research, painstaking observation, and hard-won theories—completely on its head.

    The brash chemist, who conducts independent research from his houseboat, has infuriated peers by refusing to “play by the rules of Socrates, Bacon, and Galileo,” calling test results as he sees them, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    “If you’re looking for some button-down traditionalist who relies on so-called induction, conventional logic, and verification to arrive at what the scientific community calls ‘proof,’ then I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong guy,” said the intrepid 44-year-old rebel, who last month unveiled a revolutionary new model of atomic structure that contradicted 300 years of precedent. “But if you want your results fast and with some flair, then come with me and I’ll prove that the boiling point of water is actually 547 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    Armed with only with a Bunsen burner, a modest supply of chemical compounds, and a balance scale—the last of which Hapner has “yet to find any good reason to use”—this controversial nonconformist defies every standard definition of what a scientist should be. From his tendency to round off calculations, to his rejection of controlled experiments, Hapner is determined to avoid becoming “one of those cowardly sheep who slavishly kowtows to a tired old methodology.”

    “I’m sure my opponents would love to see me throw in the towel and start using empirical evidence to back every one of my theories,” Hapner said. “They’d have a better chance convincing me that metals, like copper, are naturally strong conductors of electricity.”

    (I’m guessing the Lehigh reference is a not-so-subtle dig at Michael Behe. But while all creationists may be cranks, it seems that not all cranks are creationists.)

  29. chrisdevries says

    That Andrulis paper reminds me of time cube! In other words, it seems to be written by a delusional moron with enough higher education to make his brain explode with complex but utterly meaningless drivel…that he just has to share with the world.

  30. Amphiox says

    At the end I said, “Well, his biological arguments were total crap but I can’t see any problem with the geological arguments he put forth.” My classmate, who happened to be a geology major, said “No, those geological data are total BS. But his biological arguments were pretty convincing.”

    In other words, all aspects of the argument are deliberately crafted to appear convincing to anyone not well-versed in the details of that particular field, even those otherwise intelligent and well-educated in other fields.

    This is the CLASSIC MO of the con-man, and when one sees it, one should immediately throw out the null hypothesis of stupidity, and consider mendacity.

  31. Sastra says

    Amphiox #31 wrote:

    This is the CLASSIC MO of the con-man, and when one sees it, one should immediately throw out the null hypothesis of stupidity, and consider mendacity.

    I think you’re too optimistic here. I can certainly believe that there are people just smart enough to write convincingly about things they don’t really understand in many different fields. In fact, the more areas of non-expertise, the better, I think. Spread yourself thin and consider yourself competent in a dozen diverse and arcane specialties. Becoming just shy of coherent is even easier.

  32. Trebuchet says

    Slightly OT, but doesn’t Time-Warner still have a trademark (copyright?) on Life as the name of a publication? Perhaps they should be taking legal action against these clowns for infringement, as well as sullying the name of their former publication.

  33. baryogenesis says

    While working for a museum in the late 70′s, someone pointed out that one of Velikovsky’s books was dedicated to the curator of Egyptology. We asked him how this came to be. He seemed quite embarrassed and said that he spoke briefly to Velikovsky at a party some years back and now it looked like he was endorsing his writing! Rather sneaky.

  34. Ichthyic says

    Although Professor Bassez [3] had also planned to be the Guest Editor of the special issue “Origin of Life – Feature Papers” for Life [4], she was, for personal reasons, unable to do so.

    I imagine those “personal reasons” took the form of a letter of chagrin when she discovered how the “editorial process” actually works at “Life”.

    I keep wondering though, how on earth these clowns scored the name “Life” for their crap journal?

    I gotta figure that’s already been copyrighted by someone?

  35. Ichthyic says

    But why isn’t the review process as transparent as possible?

    Not sure exactly what you mean here, but if you mean why aren’t reviewers made public?

    -people can be influenced by their peers.

    If I know who specifically is reviewing a paper of mine for submission, I can contact them and influence their commentary on the paper; even leverage them into giving a positive review for submission. For example, I could be head of a department, and discover that someone in my department is reviewing one of my papers. Wouldn’t be hard to imagine scenarios where I could put pressure on that person to give me a positive review.

    this is not a good thing.

    hence, good journals tend to at least try and keep their reviewers unidentified publicly, so that they are not influenced by others in their review of papers, and good scientists know better than to even ask.

    in field with lots of papers being published, this is not hard to do.

    Harder of course in small fields where everyone knows everybody else anyway, but even then, most of us (the honest ones, anyway) do try and avoid directly influencing the people we know are reviewing our papers.

  36. says

    hence, good journals tend to at least try and keep their reviewers unidentified publicly, so that they are not influenced by others in their review of papers, and good scientists know better than to even ask.

    Now, where’s that article that Blake Stacey linked to a few years back about disguising your identity as a reviewer? It was hilarious.

    I’m going to try to find it….

  37. DLC says

    Uh. . . So, how do you find a kook to peer review your kooky paper ? Must be someone out in the Gyre, somewhere ?

  38. anuran says

    In another life when I wrote interdisciplinary papers it wasn’t an excuse for shoddy research and flaming radioactive horseshit. It just meant the journal had to get reviewers from several disciplines. This made things harder for me. Not only did review take longer. The paper could get bounced for even more reasons.

  39. chrislawson says

    The Asimov quote is one of my favourites. And you don’t need to be a biochemist to understand it. What spurred Asimov’s quote was Velikovksy’s claim that the manna that fell from heaven in the Bible was the result of the hydrocarbon tail of the comet Venus burning in the atmosphere and creating carbohydrates. Even ignoring all the bad astronomy and physics, when you burn a hydrocarbon you don’t get sugars and starches. Otherwise you could eat what comes out of your car’s exhaust pipe.

  40. tantalusprime says

    @ 31

    “In other words, all aspects of the argument are deliberately crafted to appear convincing to anyone not well-versed in the details of that particular field, even those otherwise intelligent and well-educated in other fields.”

    I think the person such people are most trying to convince is themselves. Creationists et al don’t think like like scientists. The idea is paramount, the facts are secondary. Once they have scratched the surface and found any small datum that supports their view, no matter how tennuous, they think they have won. These guys never read Popper.

    In other words, I dont think they are all con-men, just gullible. Perhaps I am being too generous.

  41. says

    I made a list of the “journals” that Abel claims to have published in, along with contact info for them. Folk may want to drop them an email. It’s here, as a comment, once it comes out of moderation (probably for having too many links).

  42. Chris Booth says

    “I have a great paper, just ripe for review;
    Here’s list of reviewers t’ review it for you:
         You’ll get so much thanks,
         From myriad cranks…
    At last we’ll get published for ‘science’ we doo!”