On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 7:44 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>
> wrote:
>
>> > Nature/Science have no magical powers to verify if experiments were
>> > performed correctly.
>
>
> Like anything else they are not perfect and are subject to error from time
> to time, but I can't think of any other human institution that has a better
> track record, their judgement has stood the test of time remarkably well.

That's terribly hard to verify, partly because the datasets are
proprietary and cost a huge amount of money. I have a friend who works
in scientometrics and he got a 1 million dollar grant just to buy full
access to the abstract repositories. That's one of the problems that
open access aims to address.

But I bet you're right. There's place for different levels of caution.
Nature/Science go for the highly conservative and highly generalist
range. They are valuable, but if only this range existed a lot of good
stuff would get thrown away with the bath water.

>> > A lot of good research does not get published there because it's in a
>> > very specific niche.
>
>
> To me "Very specific niche" sounds a lot like "not very important". Could
> the editors make a mistake about what is important and what is not? Sure.
> Looking back with the perspective that time gives you have the editors made
> a lot of mistakes about what is important and what is not? No.

That's just silly. Things are built on top of other things. For
example, I'm interested in evolutionary computation. Evolutionary
computation can be used to address a number of problems, for example
protein folding. Maybe amazing new drugs will be developed using this
technique. That will be a result with generic appeal that will
probably be published in Nature. Meanwhile this was made possible by
people toiling on uncountable variations and details of evolutionary
computation that are of little interest to people outside the field.
Should the evolutionary computation people decide that they are losers
and give up because most of their work is "not very important"?

>
>> >Most of the articles I read are not from Science or Nature, because they
>> > do not cater sufficiently (by any stretch of the imagination) to my niches.
>
>
> So is your niche interest like after death or flying saucers or ESP or cold
> fusion or perpetual motion or Atlantis?

No. I'm a bit scattered but I work with evolutionary computation
(mostly genetic programming), complex network analysis and more
recently knowledge graphs and NLP.

>>
>> > It's also very nasty towards a lot of people that worked hard on honest
>> > research. It took them years of their lives to produce that research.
>
>
> I don't care how hard they worked on it I only care if it's right. Blondlot
> worked  hard on "N rays" and Pons and Fleishman worked hard on "cold fusion"
> but that didn't prevent their work being crap.

The problem with labels like "crap" is that it leads to public shaming
of people who try something weird. They were wrong, that's all.

> And none of their crap was
> published in Nature or Science by the way.

Indeed, it was rejected by people who read the articles.

>>
>> > You didn't even read the article.
>
>
> True and I have no intention of doing so. Many thousands of scientific
> articles are published every month and I have time to read only a very few
> of them and I don't see why one of them should be from PLoS when there are
> thousands of articles in hundreds of journals that are almost certainly of
> higher quality.

Cool, we all have our heuristics. But then it's irrational to express
a strong opinion about something of which you know nothing.

>> > People that follow the science of religion instead of being actually
>> > scientific
>
>
>  Wow, calling a guy known for not liking religion religious! Never heard
> that one before, at least not before the sixth grade.
>
>>
>> > like to ignore these things, including their own consciousness
>
>
> I wouldn't know how to ignore my consciousness even if I wanted to, however
> it is true that I don't like to talk about consciousness a lot because I
> have much much more wisdom on this subject than most on this list;
> I know
> that I have nothing new or interesting to say about consciousness but most
> people around here mistakenly believe that they do.

Maybe.

>   John K Clark
>
>
>
>
>
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