Today Science is up on a pedestal. A new god has appeared; his high priests conduct the rituals, with nuclear reactors, moon-probing rocket ships, cathode tubes and laser beams. And their territory is sacrosanct; laymen are denied entry.
The Failure of Peer Review (Especially in Medicine)
The defects in the peer review system have been the subject of a profusion of critical editorials and studies in the literature over recent years. The notion of peer review occupies special territory in the world of science. However, investigation of suppressed innovations, inventions, treatments, cures, and so on rapidly reveals that the peer review system is arguably better at one thing above all others: censorship. This can mean censorship of everything from contrarian viewpoints to innovations that render favored dogmas, products, or services obsolete (economic threats) depends on circumstances. The problem is endemic, as many scientists have learned the hard way.
The failure of peer review is one of science’s dirty “secrets.”
[P]eer review is known to engender bias, incompetence, excessive expense, ineffectiveness, and corruption. A surfeit of publications has documented the deficiencies of this system. – Dr David Kaplan[i]
Australian physicist Brian Martin elaborates in his excellent article Strategies for Dissenting Scientists:
Certain sorts of innovation are welcome in science, when they fall within established frameworks and do not threaten vested interests. But aside from this sort of routine innovation, science has many similarities to systems of dogma. Dissenters are not welcome. They are ignored, rejected, and sometimes attacked.[ii]
Electric universe researcher Wal Thornhill stated plainly in our GFM Media interview that the peer review system amounts to censorship. Fellow independent scientist Gary Novak is also scathing, stating: “Peer review is a form of censorship, which is tyranny over the mind. Censorship does not purify; it corrupts…There is a lot of junk science and trash that goes through the peer review process.”[iii]
What do [scientists] have to gain by spending time helping an outsider? Most likely, the alleged discovery will turn out to be pointless or wrong from the standard point of view. If the outsider has made a genuine discovery, that means the outsider would win rewards at the expense of those already in the field who have invested years of effort in the conventional ideas.[iv]
The Problem of “Experts”
Scientists in particular are prone to being cathected to their pet theories and opinions, especially if they have been visibly rewarded or publicly obtained accolades as a result. Scientists, just like laypeople, have susceptible emotional bodies and often fairly hefty egos—partially due to their “expertise” and academic titles, qualifications, theories, etc.
Dr Malcolm Kendrick comments in Doctoring Data that, “by definition, anyone who is an ‘expert’ in an area of medicine will be a supporter of whatever dogma holds sway.”[v] Close study of power dynamics in medicine bears this out.
Consider the following words from The Lancet’s editor Richard Horton (below, left):
The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding…We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.[vi]
Peer review, as a “quasi-sacred” process that somehow supposedly transcends the foibles and follies of human nature has taken on sacred ritual status. Has the paper been blessed by the Peer Review Priest? Peer review is held to be more than just useful and functional (which clearly it is not, generally speaking)—it is held as a transcendent, almost magical, organizing force occurring in the heavenly ivory towers of Science, which somehow avoids falling prey to human weaknesses by virtue of those humans’ lofty qualifications as “scientists.”
Scientists, of course, aren’t quite human—they are something more, something pure, something that the layman can never be. Students undergo a magical alchemical process as they proceed through educational institutions and emerge transformed from their chrysalis with their doctorates, masters, stethoscopes and equations. They are the Chosen Ones, the purified, the holy, the saved, the righteous.
It is clear, however, that not only is the popular view of peer review misleading, but the most prestigious publications are some of the very worst offenders. Significant scientific publications—for example, the journalNature—have a well documented history of prejudice against findings or hypotheses that run contrary to established scientific dogma.
Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in May 2000, Canadian-based researcher, David Sackett, said that he would “never again lecture, write, or referee anything to do with evidence based clinical practice,” over his concern that “experts” are stifling new ideas. He wants the retirement of experts to be made compulsory.
Sackett says that “…progress towards the truth is impaired in the presence of an expert.”[vii]
Trusting “experts” in oncology, for example, is generally a very good way to artificially speed one’s trip to the grave, particularly if one has metastatic cancer. And yet “Experts” are now on a rarefied level that perhaps only celebrities can understand—they are virtually demigods today.
In the main, “experts” are those people in the establishment who espouse the mainstream dogma and reify the politically correct belief structures. “Experts” are lionized because the world that made them experts promotes and validates them when they affirm the already established beliefs—and the media is complicit in this. If you want to be horribly misled on any number of important issues, just head straight to the TV and listen to the establishment’s “experts.”…