How bad was the stuff published in the now-defunct journal Pattern Recognition in Physics? So bad, that Anthony Watts and his crew are raking it over the coals.
They have roundly criticized what passed for “peer review” at that journal. Now they’re even criticizing individual papers on purely scientific grounds. Here for example is Willis Eschenbach taking to task one of those papers (by R. J. Salvador) which amounts to nothing more than “mathturbation.” He even used the word “mathemagical” to describe the wishful-thinking aspect (I prefer my own term).
I have heard some criticism of this (in private circles), basically amounting to the implication that they’re only doing so out of nefarious motives (to distance themselves from this fiasco, or to don a cloak of legitimacy). I say, let’s not do that. Criticizing the faulty peer review, and the faulty papers, is the right thing to do. Let’s not assume that they’re doing the right thing for the wrong reasons just because they are our scientific adversaries.
It is the right thing to do. It’s more important that we (the “editorial we”) hold *ourselves* to a high standard than to insist on that from others, and that’s what they’re doing right now. And there have been times when I’ve thought that *we* (not the “editorial we,” the *actual* we who argue that global warming is a real threat) need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.
I know there’s a lot of chatter about how this is “hypocrisy” — why don’t they set the bar higher for *other* stuff? — but I will point out that’s irrelevant to the issue at hand. The issue at hand is the now-defunct journal and the papers in it. As far as that issue is concerned, they’re doing the right thing, and they’re setting a good example. So to the critics I say … get over yourselves.
Therefore I’m putting it on the record that I support them doing the right thing, and I object to those who heap scorn on them for doing so. If we want them to do the right thing on other topics, then we have to acknowledge — and praise — it when it happens.
So … how bad was the stuff published in the now-defunct journal Pattern Recognition in Physics? So bad, that I am standing up for Anthony Watts and Willis Eschenbach.