Upward and Onward with Peer Review, Cont. - Evolution News & Views

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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Upward and Onward with Peer Review, Cont.

Thoughtful reader Stephen takes umbrage at ENV's delight at the apparent hoaxing of a peer-reviewed mathematics journal ("Upward and Onward with Peer Review"):

This is not helpful, in my opinion.

If the paper had been truly accepted, then it would have been really interesting news. The Sokal hoax was quite informative.

I read over the "provisionally accepted" paper. It is obvious to me, non-mathematician, that it was completely incoherent, and never would have made it. 100% no way.

Many journals provisionally accept every paper submitted, and routinely send back a congratulatory note with minor feedback or whatnot from English major staffers. This has happened to me, often.

The phrase "not helpful" sometimes irritates me -- in life, it often precedes a request that uncomfortable truths be left unsaid. I imagine it coming out of our friend Eugenie Scott's mouth when biologists fail to self-censor. "That's not helpful, Dr. Stoltzfus ." But here, as a factual matter, Stephen may be right. He observes further, taking a nice philosophical turn:
There is a good lesson to be seen in this. It is about paradigms. The paradigm is that anything submitted is reasonable and the default is that it is OK, it just requires some checking.

Our evolutionary friends have the same mindset. Evolution GOOD. Intelligent Design BAD.

For me, when I but some grapes at the supermarket, I don't carefully check them to make sure I'm not getting bad ones.

I love America. Most everything is A-OK; there is a huge benefit to trust.

That is actually a sweet thought.