Peer Review – the Route to Truth or another Echo Chamber?

In the US legal system, the accused party has the right to trial by a “jury of peers.”

Every MD I’ve spoken to about it feels cheated that the MD is always forced to face a jury of “non-peers.” That is, non-medical people who lack advanced education in physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, neuroanatomy, pathology, surgery, clinical practice, etc.

It feels grossly unfair from this side of the table.

But can you imagine how often a jury of MD’s would side with a patient claiming to have been victimized in some way by an MD? I suspect guilty verdicts would be rare. I hope I’m wrong, and I certainly could be.

Though most MDs probably see themselves as the proverbial hens with the (personal-injury) lawyers as the wolves, many, if not most non-medical US citizens would never put MD’s in charge of bringing malpractice fairness to patients.

Common sense says that such a setup would mean well-intentioned wolves guarding the hen house, a conflict of interest, or at least an echo chamber designed to keep truth and justice away from angry patients.

Like every conflict, this one has two sides, each deserving a voice. But common sense tends to win in the end, so “non-peers” judge us MD’s in court.

Hmm…

What if we carry this flavor of common sense over into the peer-review process of the scientific literature?

In that priestly realm, the professors’ former students become the gatekeepers of every scientific journal on Earth. Sounds like an echo chamber.

But it wouldn’t resemble wolves guarding the henhouse if all currently established scientific views were accurate.

Sadly, even the firmly “established” views in every field tend to eventually change. We can probably assume they always will.

Without the option of infallible knowledge, the peer-review process could avoid the reality of a systemic conflict of interest if only the journals’ gatekeepers could become, by-and-large, open to radically new ideas, concepts and technologies of the sort that render “settled science” obsolete or mistaken.

Unfortunately, history demonstrates the opposite situation.

These brilliant minds appear to be closed. Peer-reviewing gatekeepers live in a status-quo bubble, like a lay person who watches only one side of TV “news” or allows our virtual-demons, the internet AI’s, to select their reading materials, podcasts and videos.

This opaque peer-review bubble extends beyond the gatekeepers to encircle government research grant money in one-sided ignorance.

History clearly tells us that breakthrough ideas are routinely blocked. It’s old news, but not fake news.

If objective truth had no independent or transcendent power of its own, I suspect modern humanity would still be paying our priestly scientists to bring us ever-tinier details on the Earth’s cosmic centrality and its false illusion of roundness.

Since academic reality in the West is “publish or perish,” scientists must think within the established thought-boxes and paradigms of their professors, otherwise their papers will be rejected by the system’s consanguineous gatekeepers. When paper rejection happens too often, the young scientist who has devoted her life to the sacred hunt for truth suddenly falls from grace and must scramble for a new career to avoid homelessness — literally.

It’s a high-risk game.

Being a young research scientist is a bit like owning a restaurant in June, 2020, except that the scientist’s debt is an enormous education loan hanging overhead forever without the exit option of bankruptcy. The risk is high. Survival for most of them requires finding a safe route that increases the odds of publication.

The modern peer-review process is part of humanity’s ancient search for infallible literature. Too bad it’s a futile search (as far as I know, though I could be wrong).

Love it or hate it, the echo-chamber review process is all we’ve got now.

Perhaps we could improve it by allowing non-scientific people, or maybe just scientists from unrelated fields, into each journal’s review process, reflecting the way a jury of “non-peers” decides the fate an MD and her patient in a court of law. Common sense?

Sometimes the experts closest to a technical issue are the people furthest from objectivity. Trees hide the forest, if nothing else.

Cross-pollination would also improve research grant money distribution. Mixing scientists and artists in the decision making processes would help a great deal, I suspect, while excluding career politicians entirely. Can I get an amen from the back?!

And perhaps an “open-mindedness quota” should be presented to the tax-payers for a vote:

“Vote YES if you want the government to reserve 10% of the relevant part of your tax money (the grant money) for projects that virtually any tenured professor would condemn without a real thought.”

The list of such government-favored (but normally taboo) “quota” projects might include things like…

  1. building a zero-point energy device,
  2. documenting extra-sensory perception,
  3. studying physical materials believed to have come form extraterrestrial space craft,
  4. studying the evidence of intelligent design in genetics,
  5. projects that don’t equate “scientific materialism” with fact,
  6. projects seeking evidence of a fundamental element of reality that is NOT reducible to matter and energy.

Like the rest of us searching for answers that improve life rather than degrading it, peer reviewers of science journals must open themselves to the distinct possibility that reductive “scientific materialism” is not the only rational option for researchers in pursuit of scientific truth.

Common-sense love,

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD

 

 

8 thoughts on “Peer Review – the Route to Truth or another Echo Chamber?

  1. I have seen this recently in regards to contents of an ancient mound. Experts many years ago wrote detailed descriptions of the contents. BUT the Smithsonian lost most of those items or misplaced them somehow. Now, modern experts have given their view of the previous ones being a hoax. Except for one determined science teacher who is gathering all the evidence he can to prove the original was correct. You wouldn’t believe the abuse he takes because of this.

    • Like you, Gypsy Bev, I follow (a few of) the brave people who have exposed a mountain of evidence on this topic from multiple sources, including old Smithsonian reports. To me, there appears to be a mainstream conspiracy to hide the true history of North and South American. If the science teacher you mention has written any books or done any videos, could you perhaps send me his name. I like to support those receiving the mainstream’s boot to the neck. Also I’m fascinated with this topic. 🙂 Thank you!

      • Talmage,

        The science teacher I referred to is the leader of a group of interested people (myself included) that explore area mounds and their history. His name is Michael Burk and he recently published a short book called “Grave Creek Tablet Vindication” based upon the personal notebooks of Delf Norona. He also has had several articles published in Ancient American magazine – some are his alone and others he has collaborated with other historians. His book is available on Amazon I’m pretty sure. It is a fascinating subject!

        • Thank you very much, Gypsy Bev. It’s wonderful to come across a searcher for historic truth who is totally new to me. I will study this material with great pleasure and interest! Thank you again. 🙂 We live in a fascinating and rare time of honest revelation.

  2. “Yes”…register my vote before it is cancelled as no excuse absentee !
    Well said,as also keithakenny’s comment.
    Thing is that we are at a point where, once again, choosing sides becomes a constant mantra; and the ones who refuse to be labeled and perform the art of synthesis are caught at a high pressure point between forces who are essentially trying to maintain/increase their status quo…

    I hope you are well my friend. Though current conditions make it almost impossible for us to share a glass of bourbon at some part of the world, you know me…who is to say what’s impossible…
    Love back at you.

    • Hi Spira!!!!
      Wow, it’s such a happy feeling to hear from you. I’ll register your YES vote. 🙂
      I agree, we’re at a high pressure point in Western society where everything is supposed to be binary, when in reality few natural phenomena exist apart from many spectra, or at least some oddly shaped diversity curve involving multiple parameters, some of which which cannot be dissected for meaningful analysis… because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and/or because some aspects of reality (such as the self and free will) cannot be detected with instruments, only directly through conscious awareness guided by the inductive processes of intuition and common sense.
      Yes, I’m quite healthy. Thanks. All my labs came back within normal limits yesterday at my checkup. I’ve got a Live O2 basic setup and find that it gets me on the exercise bike every day. Although my low-carb diet triggers migraines when I go from ketosis to non-ketosis or vice-versa, I’m experimenting and learning how to thread the needle with exactly the same (tiny) amount of carbs each day. This seems to avoid triggering headaches, though the data set is small and poorly kept. When headaches appear, the Wim Hof hyperventilation and breath holding technique, along with some guarana tea, almost always gets rid of the headache, usually within a few minutes if I catch it early. (Too much info, but all this functional health-related stuff I’ve learned… I need to share it with a friend.)
      I look forward to discovering bourbon someday. Perhaps we’ll all meet up near the equator where it’s warm. I suspect the Earth is nearing the end of the current warm period (within the ongoing ice age).
      Love to you and yours,
      Talmage

  3. Human nature will ever be so. ‘Experts’ are only expert on what is currently known and accepted, and most have settled back in comfortable lethargy. To acknowledge that things have changed requires relearning, acceptance of the obsolescence of expertise accumulated over a lifetime, loss of acknowledged prestige, and taking a huge blow to the ego, i.e., your advanced degree in phrenology is meaningless. In Galileo’s time, the Papacy were the purveyors of ‘settled science’, and now everyone laughs. When Billy Mitchell advocated for aircraft and warned against a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from aircraft carriers, everyone laughed. One reason more new ideas come from the young is because they are not invested in the old way, indeed, they want to replace it. Of course now, our ‘settled science’ really is settled for all time, and we can go forward knowing we are right. So it goes.

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