Sunday, October 14, 2007

Peer Review for 9/11 truth "Science"?

One of the subjects that comes up in the debate on 9/11 is the issue of Peer Review. The reason it is a focus of attention with respect to the 9/11 attacks, and those who present Conspiracy Theories on the matter, is its use in 9/11 truth articles to present a false sense of legitimacy to the arguments being made by the CTist. Not false in the sense that "Peer Review" does not add such an air of enhanced worth to articles given such a stamp of approval, but false in that in most cases, the "Peer Review" is either outright bogus, misleading, or deceptive.

Here is a definition of "Peer Review",

PEER REVIEW:

Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. It is used primarily by editors to select and to screen submitted manuscripts, and by funding agencies, to decide the awarding of grants. The peer review process aims to make authors meet the standards of their discipline, and of science in general. Publications and awards that have not undergone peer review are likely to be regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. Even refereed journals, however, can contain errors.


From....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review

So what about an example of "peer review" for 9/11 truth?

Well the "journal" that seems to be at the center of this debate, is the alleged "Peer Reviewed" Online Journal, "Journal of 9/11 Studies".

http://www.journalof911studies.com/index.html

Here is the description given for the journal on its home page"


...The Journal of 9/11 Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access, electronic-only journal covering the whole of research related to 9/11/2001. All content is freely available online. Our mission is to provide evidence-based, peer-reviewed research that furthers the cause of truth and justice...


Now at first, one might think...

"Well ok, it is not claiming to be anything more that a journal concerning 9/11 research. "

On the surface, that is indeed how it would appear. In fact, most of the advisory Editorial Board are made up of other 9/11 researchers, so it seems the "peer review" aspect of this would be ok, however, lets take a closer look.

The credentials of the Editors and Advisory Board, are as follows...

Steven E. Jones, Ph.D.
Physicist (BYU) and Archaeometrist

Kevin Ryan
Former Site Manager for Environmental Health Laboratories

Frank Carmen Ph.D.
Physicist (BYU)

Alex Floum
Lawyer

Marcus Ford Ph.D.
Professor of Humanities

Derrick Grimmer Ph.D.
Physicist

Richard McGinn Ph.D.
Professor of Linguistics

Kimberly Moore
No credentials found

Robert Moore
Lawyer

Paul Zarembka
Professor of Economics

Joseph Phelps MS CE PE
Civil Engineer(ret)

Diane Ralph Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Social Work

Lon Waters Ph.D.
Mathematics

So we have 3 physicists, 1 Engineer, 1 Mathematics Prof, A Social Work Prof, 2 Lawyers, a Humanities Prof, an Economics Prof, A linguistics Prof, and a couple of others with no definitive credentials given (academically).

Seems to me that if this is the group from which selection is made to perform "Peer Review" (and I am not sure of this, as the Journal NEVER lists anywhere who is on their Peer Review committee/board, or how it is selected), then it is seriously lacking in several areas of relevant science. There is no chemistry member, only one civil/structural engineering member. There is no demolitions expert. There is no aviation expert. How do we know that their single engineer is qualified to "Peer Review" articles concerning building structure and engineering?

Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps they have a separate list of "Peer Reviewers" which they go to, and choose from based on the nature of the article submitted. If this is the case, I guess we will have to take the word of the editors that this is the case (if they ever indicate this is how it is done), as they list or describe NOWHERE, any policy or procedure concerning their "Peer Review Process".

They are academics, no doubt, and so they are more than qualified to "Peer Review" articles of GENERAL ACADEMICS. However, I fail to see how the above panel/committee is anywhere close to "Peer Review" articles on Structural Engineering, Chemistry, Demolitions, Aeronautics, Aviation, Computer Imaging, and a number of other relevant scientific fields.

Lets not pussyfoot with language here though. The fact is that this is a Conspiracy Theory based Journal, where the editors and board members are known 9/11 truth Conspiracy Theorists. There is NO NEUTRALITY on this board. Now if they would come clean with this, be upfront about what kind of journal it is, and what kind of "Peer Review" they are doing, then fine, but the idea that they are using the "Peer Review" label to somehow legitimize the pseudo-science of their movement is...well, no surprise, misleading and perhaps even false.

So I ask that for the sake of fairness and transparency, that the "Journal of 9/11 Studies" publish on their site, clear and defined procedures and policies on the selection of their "Peer Review" board or members, and what is involved in said review.

-----

Ask yourself this question. If this journal is full of excellent "Peer Reviewed" articles concerning various scientific elements of the 9/11 attacks, then why has not one of the articles been published in any well established scientific journal?

10 Comments:

Blogger Conspiracy Smasher said...

If this journal is full of excellent "Peer Reviewed" articles concerning various scientific elements of the 9/11 attacks, then why has not one of the articles been published in any well established scientific journal?"

And that sir, is the QUESTION.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

The same can be said for the primary contributors to the NIST report. Either way, your entire post is simply an 'appeal to credentials'.

10:55 AM  
Blogger The Artistic Macrophage said...

"appeal to credentials"?

#1 this is not an existing debating/logical fallacy.
#2 "appeal to authority" if that is what you mean, is not a correct labelling of my post or my argument.

Here is the definition of "appeal to authority":

"This fallacy is committed when the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject. More formally, if person A is not qualified to make reliable claims in subject S, then the argument will be fallacious.

This sort of reasoning is fallacious when the person in question is not an expert. In such cases the reasoning is flawed because the fact that an unqualified person makes a claim does not provide any justification for the claim. The claim could be true, but the fact that an unqualified person made the claim does not provide any rational reason to accept the claim as true. "


http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

In fact, they are committing the fallacy, when they make comments on articles and facts/science that they are not qualified to comment on.

If you are going to accuse my site of a logical fallacy, please make sure it fits the fallacy...

In other words, sir, on this point, YOU ARE WRONG!

TAM:)

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

No, I meant "appeal to credentials". Google it.

Either way, your article doesn't cite any specific problems with the research published in TJO911S, you just complain that they don't have a chemist, demolitions expert, aviation expert, etc. So what's the problem exactly? What did you read in their work that triggered this doubt? That's why your argument is fallacious.

Also, if they were to add the experts you listed to their peer-review process, would you start respecting their work, or would you just move the goalposts again?

10:08 PM  
Blogger The Artistic Macrophage said...

I googled it. Can't find any reliable debating or logic cites that use it.

That said, to answer your question, I would say this.

IF, the "Peer Review Pool" that they use to "Peer Review" the scientific papers submitted has adequate professionals in the areas of science addressed in the paper, and if they made the Pool members known, so there credentials could be vetted, then I might. I also have a hard time dealing with so called experts that are a part of a group/movement that has shown time and time again to allow their anti-govt/paranoid mind set to interfere with the carrying out and presentation of good HONEST science.

My argument is not fallacious. How can requiring that the standard rules and guidelines for Peer Review (that the scientific community at large acknowledge) be upheld, be termed fallacious?

TAM:)

12:08 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Because you're not attacking their argument - you're completely ruling out everything they say based on some arbitrary requirement.

The JO911S does not offer conclusions based only on the fact that they are experts (e.g., "in my expert opinion, x happened for y reason"). Instead, they "show their work" for all to see before forming any conclusions.

This is a stupid argument, either way, because as you said, there's no guarantee that you'll respect what they've done even IF they met all these ridiculous double-standards.

TAM, why don't you just level with yourself and admit that you're only ever going to believe what you want to believe? Who do you think you're fooling? If TJO911S met your peer-review requirements, you would find some other reason to ignore them. Move the goalposts. Rinse, repeat.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Oh, and by the way, don't you find it kind of odd that so many other people just happened to "dream up" the same non-existent fallacy name?

Hey, what do you know, Noam Chomsky is one of the people who can be seen using it in the Google results.. are you seriously claiming that he just pulled it from thin-air?

Egads man.. get a grip!

4:48 PM  
Blogger The Artistic Macrophage said...

1. As many people as you like can dream up such a name, but I see it no where in the accepted terminology of logical debate or argumentation. When I see it there, I will admit is an accepted term for such.

2. I will go on record as follows. If the JONES can prove to me that their "Peer Reviewers" used for there articles are (1) Not part of the truth movement (unbias), and (2) have the qualifications on paper to be considered an expert in the area they are asked to review, I will give SERIOUS consideration to the merits of that Journal.

3. We all believe what we want to believe. My posting, and arguing with you has nothing to do with convincing someone like yourself, on the other side of the fence...nothing at all.

Thanks for posting.

TAM:)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

We all believe what we want to believe, and arguing with you has nothing to do with convincing someone like yourself, on the other side of the fence...nothing at all..

Alright, fine - I'm not going argue semantics with you; however, you've unintentionally highlighted my point quite perfectly.

So if it's not about convincing other people, what is it about? It's about convincing yourself.

Your 9/11 research consists primarily of finding new ways to ignore evidence.. anything else you pickup along the way is just icing on the cake. It's evident in the arguments posted on this very blog -- you focus on technicalities, arbitrary and/or evolving rules that have been violated, appealing to credentials, countless straw men ("pull it", "freefall speed", "fell into its own footprint").

You've even accused me of making up a fallacy, despite knowing full well what I mean, and having seen evidence of its use by one of the smartest men alive (among many others).

That's how your brain works for anything related to 9/11 (although not necessarily consciously) - you're constantly searching for just enough justification to ignore any evidence or information that is incompatible with your current world-view (i.e., evidence that is contrary to the OT).

1:57 AM  
Blogger The Artistic Macrophage said...

Alright, fine - I'm not going argue semantics with you; however, you've unintentionally highlighted my point quite perfectly.

So if it's not about convincing other people, what is it about? It's about convincing yourself.


No, it is about providing both sides (the truth movement presenting one side, I and others that debunk, the other side) to the fence sitters and curious, and allowing them to make up their own mind. Do both sides attack the others evidence...of course.

Your 9/11 research consists primarily of finding new ways to ignore evidence.. anything else you pickup along the way is just icing on the cake. It's evident in the arguments posted on this very blog


You are making a judgement about me based on 3-4 blog posts. You have no idea what else I have read, or am reading. My stance is clear, I do not believe in a MIHOP Scenario, and I find LIHOP extremely unlikely, but judging how I read, what I read, and what ignore or do not is unfounded. Your opinion, yes, and you are entitled, but it is unfounded.

-- you focus on technicalities, arbitrary and/or evolving rules that have been violated, appealing to credentials, countless straw men ("pull it", "freefall speed", "fell into its own footprint").

I focus on both technicalities and the bigger picture, depending on the mood I am in, the topic I am approaching, and the replies of those who leave them.

As for those strawmen, it is the truth movement that brings them up all the time. Who uses those three "Strawmen" terms more often...a debunker, or a truther trying to make his argument?

You've even accused me of making up a fallacy, despite knowing full well what I mean, and having seen evidence of its use by one of the smartest men alive (among many others).

I never denied knowing what you meant by it. It does not matter that Chomsky used it (he does not believe if the MIHOP scenario etiher by the way), what matters is that it has not been recognized as a legitimate logical/debating fallacy. If it makes you feel better I will retract the idea of you making it up, and restate that you were using an informal, unrecognized fallacy in your argument.


That's how your brain works for anything related to 9/11 (although not necessarily consciously) - you're constantly searching for just enough justification to ignore any evidence or information that is incompatible with your current world-view (i.e., evidence that is contrary to the OT).


Once again, you accuse me based on an extremely limited amount of information and view point I have published. What you accuse me of, is in fact, what 99% of the truth movement is guilty of themselves.

Thanks for the reply.

TAM:)

5:31 AM  

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