Dogma and peer review

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Sat Jul 12 07:18:10 EDT 2003

Interesting Pat.  But is it as general truth that academics benefit
fromchallenging dogma.  There is a countervailing trend that it is
easier to get funded if you stick close to the prevailing dogma,since
the people who review grants are chosen based on their "experience"
which is usually congruent with whatever the dogma happens to be this

That's why I have always been skeptical of the peer review process----at
least as the sole criteria or final judge for funding and publication.

Anyway, I agree with Pat about the evidence, the cause, and the folly.


Patrick Foley wrote:

> Paul,
> Research scientists at universities usually stand to gain more if they
> successfully challenge an accepted truth, than if they just repeat
> what others say. Scientists repeat what others say when they (often
> reluctantly) are obliged to admit that someone else got there first
> and already got the research money. Admittedly, one a scientist has
> claimed an idea and a research program, he/she may ride it long after
> it should be retired.
> But the reasons scientists mostly accept anthropogenic climate change
> is these:
> 1) Human activity has indisputably increased atmospheric CO2 and other
> greenhouse gases.
> 2) The physics of greenhouse gases clearly is on the side of increased
> temperatures, at least as 1st order effects. 2nd order and higher
> effects are more debatable.
> 3) The mean Earth temperature appears to be rising at higher than
> geologically typical rates.
> 4) Even if this is not immediately due to human activity, sooner or
> later major changes in the atmosphere are sure to have some major
> climate effects, and they may be extremely hard to reverse later. A
> wise person doesn't screw with their life support in a big way because
> it isn't utterly proven that screwing with it is dangerous.
> As a scientist, I am fairly convinced that anthropogenic climate
> change is occurring. As a scientist and as any kind of sentient being
> I am utterly convinced that continuing to pump large amounts of
> greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is foolishly dangerous. As a
> citizen and father, I feel like an irresponsible failure for letting
> such stupid things happen. How about you?
> Patrick Foley
> patfoley at


   For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit: 

More information about the Leps-l mailing list