Jim Clark responded to the letter below:
> > We will seek independent expert evaluation of the scientific
> > quality of the article and will make those results known. This
> > is unprecedented in the Associationís history of scholarly
> > publishing, but, in view of the criticism of this study by
> > various groups and individuals, we believe that such a review
> > is appropriate.
with the following:
>It is unprecedented for a reason. Such actions are antithetical
>to the purpose and functioning of a scientific organization.
>What sane researcher will choose to study and publish
>controversial results when they will be subjected to such witch
>hunts? Although we all as individuals look extra closely for
>flaws in articles that propose conclusions with which we
>disagree, it is inappropriate and damaging to science for a
>scientific organization to pick out articles for extra-special
It is unprecedented for APA but not for AMA. They do it quite regularly
and, at least in principle, I do not object. I do believe we are, at least
in part, responsible for the social implications of what we do. Articles
should not be rejected based on their social implications, but articles that
have controversial social implications should be examined carefully. We
have no trouble with the proposition that extraordinary claims (e.g., for
ESP) require extraordinary evidence. Perhaps we should consider that
possibilty that extraordinary social implications might also need
extraordinary evidence. We do have to realize we do not live in a vacuum.
If society does not like what we do, it may well stop supporting us. We
must be particularly sure that the controversial claims we make are clearly
justifiable from what we currently know.
I also think that commentary on (controversial) articles is a good thing.
It happens regularly in some places (e.g., SRCD Monographs)and would be
useful, I think, in other places as well. I am opposed to censoring
articles due to their controversial nature, but I do not think we should
ignore the controversies either.
Ferris State University
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