I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Panda's Thumb receives another undeserved web award

The Panda's Thumb blog, which engages in the unscholarly and anti-intellectual practice of arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters, has received yet another undeserved web award, this time a listing in Thomson Scientific's ISI Web of Knowledge list of scholarly scientific websites. By arbitrary censorship, I mean censorship of comments and commenters merely because they disagree with the position of the blogger or other website administrator. Websites that practice arbitrary censorship are showing their intent to present just one sides of issues. Panda's Thumb's arbitrary censorship is documented here, here, and here. The ISI Web of Knowledge's logo may be seen near the top of the sidebar of Panda's Thumb's main page. Thomson Scientific's website says,

Nearly 50 years after Dr. Eugene Garfield began collecting and indexing scholarly research data, Thomson Scientific continues his emphasis on quality and relevance – carefully selecting and indexing the core literature published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, books, and proceedings.

Built upon a well-established selection process, the multidisciplinary Thomson Scientific database is the foundation of every ISI Web of Knowledge resource. Editors selecting content for these resources rely on various indicators, including citation analysis, journal publishing standards, and the confirmation of the application of peer review. With these tools, Thomson Scientific can assess the scholarly merit of the journals being evaluated for coverage.

The explosion of the Internet during the latter part of the 1990’s, however, radically altered the way people find and share information. Although scholarly journals still remain the vehicle of choice for conveying research results, the Internet has become an important research tool. Through searching the Internet, researchers and scholars can find relevant ancillary materials that would not normally appear in journals or books. . . . . .

The Internet also enables researchers from all around the world to participate in common projects and contribute to (or search) shared, interactive databases. Bulletin boards and discussion forums allow people to communicate freely and effectively with others in their research community
(emphasis added) . . . . .

Sounds a little like what I've been saying, doesn't it?

The website continues,

Because of the power and popularity of the Internet, Thomson Scientific made the decision several years ago to complement the extensive bibliographic information we already provide our customers by developing a collection of scholarly Web sites – Current Web Contents (CWC). To do this, the Web Content Editors in the Editorial Development Department identify Web sites and evaluate them by determining how the Web site adheres to a number of selection criteria. These criteria include authority, accuracy, currency, navigation and design, applicability and content, scope, audience level, and quality of writing. (emphasis added)

Despite the point about people supposedly being allowed to "communicate freely and effectively with others in their research community," Thomson Scientific's selection criteria do not include freedom from arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters.

Thomson Scientific's website continues,

Objective, correct, referenced, or professionally sponsored information is a mark of accuracy. An indication of bias, however, could be a mark of inaccuracy. Bias is possible with for-profit sponsorship of research or with sponsorship by advocacy groups. For example, a conflict of interest may arise when a for-profit pharmaceutical firm hosts a pharmaceutical society page or when a nuclear engineering trade association sponsors a site on nuclear energy.

Arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters is also an indication of bias, but the above statement implies that bias occurs only with for-profit sponsorship of research or sponsorship by advocacy groups, and that is simply not true. I guess that Panda's Thumb's group of bloggers could conceivably be classified as an "advocacy group," but arbitrary censorship is practiced by a lot of individual bloggers too.

Thomson Scientific is treating arbitrary Internet censorship as though it doesn't exist.

The folks at Panda's Thumb will hocus-pocus that I was banned there because I used multiple names, but I was banned there before I started using multiple names. And Wesley Elsberry, who I am told is the official owner of Panda's Thumb, has personally deleted reasonable comments on both Panda's Thumb and his personal blog, Austringer.

The practice of arbitrary censorship by an officially recognized scientific website is particularly bad because that censorship impairs that website's integrity, reliability and credibility as a scientific reference. These are not just websites about underwater basketweaving. I think that when a website is considered to be important enough to be listed in a scientific database, it is not too much to expect the operators of that website to behave in a responsible manner.

A lot of organizations regard this blog as an insignificant little blog that they can safely ignore, and being a holocaust revisionist certainly does not add to my overall influence. But while it is true that my daily-visitor statistics are fairly low, in the range of only 30-60 visits per day, my pageview-per-visit and time-per-visit statistics are probably breaking all records. Visits of over 10 page views and/or over 1 hour are rare on other blogs, but I estimate that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 of this blog's visits are in these categories (to see these statistics, click on the Site Meter icon at the bottom of the sidebar, then click on "By details"). A lot of people who visit this blog come here for serious business. And no, ViW, they don't come here and spend all that time just for the laughs. I am just not that funny.

Protests of Thomson Scientific's listing of Panda's Thumb may be made by means of the contact information listed here. Several Thomson Scientific offices have toll-free 1-800 numbers -- the toll-free number for the headquarters office for the Americas is 1 800 336 4474. Contact information for the ISI (Information Sciences Institute) is here.

I have also objected to Jay Wexler's citations of Panda's Thumb in a paper, "Intelligent Design and the First Amendment: A Response", that was published in a law journal. Protests may be sent to Jay Wexler at


Boston University - School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston , MA 02215

Jay Wexler actually wants you to send him an email -- he says, "Won't You Please Send Me An Email at jaywex@bu.edu ?" I for one will be more than happy to oblige him.

The law journal that will publish his paper may be contacted at --

Washington University Law Quarterly

Contact: Editor in Chief
Email: quarter@wulaw.wustl.edu
Postal: Washington University School of Law
AB Hall
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130 USA

As a saying goes, "if you always do what you always do, you will always get what you've always got." I like to tell a story about a dissident engineer, Irwin Feerst, who was trying to get an invitation to testify before a Senate committee and was getting nowhere. Then just 50 of his supporters from around the country sent in a form letter from one of his newsletters and he was invited immediately.



Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Some character with a sandbox mentality recently impersonated me on this blog. See my comment on Larry's March 07 "Comment List" post.

So let me note that I live in San Francisco, and always comment from the public library: sfpl.org. When I go to Larry's Site Meter, it's easy to check which comments come from there, by time: click on "Recent Visitors By Details."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 3:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Some anonymous hacker in SF is pretending to be me. The fake's posts come from the public library: sfpl.org

I suspect it is Ed Brayton. I suspect that all of you are Ed Brayton.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

This last fakery from the excessively Darwinutty -- see the 5:06 AM comment -- is really stupid. What's wrong with buffoons of that sort, anyway?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Just to be clear, I was impersonated again by some character at 5:06 AM. Yes, I live in San Francisco, and if any of the excessively Darwintoxicated think that they are going to be able to interfere with my ability to comment by impersonating me, they had better think again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone seems to be impersonating me too! I think it is a homeless guy in San Francisco who is posting from the library.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

The faker who impersonated me on this post at 5:06 AM, March 21 (see above), has been caught red-handed: it's Voice in the Wilderness. See my first comment on Larry's March 21 "Neurosurgeon" post.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> it's Voice in the Wilderness <

But my driver's license doesn't say Voice in the Wilderness.

Friday, March 23, 2007 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

The fake Jim Sherwood can be identified by the fact that he uses IE6. Hardly anyone is still using IE6.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 5:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Get some help. You appear to be inventing people just to support your ego. Not very healthy, just sad.

Friday, March 30, 2007 9:23:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...


You appear to be inventing people just to support your ego. <<<<<<

What do you mean, inventing people! You are full of crap.

I wish that I had invented jerks like you and Voice in the Wilderness, because then I could shut you up.

Friday, March 30, 2007 11:03:00 PM  

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