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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.

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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.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Judge Jones hypocritical about peer review

ADDITION TO POST AT BOTTOM



ADDITION TO POST AT BOTTOM

Judge John E. "Jackass" Jones III's Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion, like Darwinists in general, makes a fetish out of peer review. The opinion said (page 89),

. . . . we find that ID is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community.

The terms "peer review," "peer-reviewed," and "peer-reviewing" all together appear 23 times in the opinion!

Well, I have just discovered a dirty little secret about American law journals (often called law "reviews") -- a high proportion are not "peer-reviewed"! To make matters worse, many of the law journals without peer review are edited by law students! I am not saying that the editing by students is necessarily bad per se (I think that law students are capable of being good editors of peer-reviewed law journals), but in combination with the lack of peer review, student editing is particularly bad! How can a scholarly journal not have peer (or expert) review?

Richard A. Posner, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, says,

IN ACADEMIC LAW, AS IN MOST ACADEMIC FIELDS, the principal vehicle for the publication of scholarly work is the scholarly journal. But in other academic fields, except law, the most prestigious journals are edited by seasoned specialists, usually professors, who have had years of experience both as editors and as scholars in the field covered by the journal. Not only that, but in deciding what to publish, the scholar-editors usually are strongly influenced by the advice they receive from other professors, to whom they refer the submitted articles for peer review . . . .

The system of scholarly publication in law is starkly different. With a few exceptions, law reviews are edited by law students rather than by professors or other professionals. The law reviews are numerous, are published bimonthly or at more frequent intervals, are edited without peer review, and are seemingly unconstrained in length . . . . (emphasis added)

This system -- so strange, even incomprehensible, to scholars in other fields -- first emerged in the latter part of the 19th century, when legal scholarship was primarily a professional rather than an academic product. Its primary aim was to serve judges and practicing lawyers, rather than other professors, by offering careful doctrinal analysis, noting, for example, divergent lines of authority and trying to reconcile them.

Ironically, law students, who are allowed to edit law journals without supervision, are not even considered fully qualified to write law journal articles themselves -- their law journal articles are called "notes." Something else I have noticed is that a high proportion of American law journals are published by individual law schools whereas scholarly journals in other fields are typically published by scholarly societies -- it is apparent that the student-editing of law journals helps to account for this difference.

As I said, to me the big problem is not the student editing but the lack of peer review. Often even faculty members are not well-qualified to review articles outside their very narrow areas of specialization. Often the best potential reviewers are outside the law school that publishes the journal and sometimes even outside the legal profession altogether. I am not a legal professional, but on this blog I have specialized in "monkey trials" -- e.g., Kitzmiller v. Dover, Selman v. Cobb County -- and have read dozens of articles and court opinions about them and written dozens of articles about them (see post label list in the sidebar), and so I understand how long it takes to become familiar with a very narrow area of the law. A psychology professor of mine once observed, "you can't be a genius if you don't know anything" (he was explaining why educated people tend to do better than uneducated people on intelligence tests) -- the principle applies to individual subjects as well as knowledge in general. No, Voice in the Urbanness, I am not immodestly saying that I am a genius about monkey trials just because I have read and written so much about them -- in fact, I abjectly concede that I got from others what are IMO some of my best ideas about monkey trials, e.g., (1) the idea of nonjusticiability of the evolution controversy and (2) the "political insider/outsider" principle of the endorsement test for establishment clause cases. The most important thing in legal research is to come up with the right keywords or key phrases -- then a layperson can do the research.

The law journals published by law schools are not just educational exercises for the students -- the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times (!) by federal courts alone in the decade 1970-79 alone (though the frequency of law journal citation by the courts has declined sharply). The courts' acceptance of law journal articles that have not been peer-reviewed shows that the law profession has very low standards. Another sign of the profession's low standards is the practice and acceptance of arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on law blogs. Law X.0, a law blog published by the University of Cincinnati, a public university, won't even consider any of my comments for posting.

There is evidence that this general lack of peer review of law journals is changing. Here is an article about peer-reviewed law journals. The Harvard Law Review now requires faculty review of submitted articles, and considering Harvard's great influence, other law journals may follow suit--

. . . unlike many journals, we require faculty reviews and a vote of our entire staff before we can accept a piece.

Also, the website of the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law offers peer review and implies that peer review of law journals is unusual:

BJCL is one of the first legal journals to have instituted a Faculty Advisory Committee, which reviews articles we accept for publication. If you publish with our journal, you will have the benefit of peer review of your scholarship by leading criminal law faculty at Boalt Hall.

However, IMO in-house peer review by the faculty of the law school that publishes the law journal is not enough, because -- as I said -- sometimes the best potential reviewers may be outside that law school or even outside the law profession altogether. Also, the term "expert review" is better than "peer review" because sometimes the best reviewers might not be "peers." The authors of the classic book on the mathematical analysis of heat conduction in solids are not engineers or scientists but are mathematicians, H.S. Carslaw and J.C. Jaeger (they didn't even know the difference between radiation and convection).

Also, peer review is not just for the purpose of screening articles for publication but is also for the purpose of improving articles.

Anyway, the hypocrisy of Judge "Jackass" Jones, who condemned Intelligent Design for allegedly not being published in peer-reviewed journals while he comes from a profession where a high proportion of journals -- including journals that are most frequently cited in court opinions -- are not peer-reviewed, is glaringly apparent ("jackass" is what Dover defendant Bill Buckingham called him in on the PBS NOVA TV program about the case). Also, the Dover opinion itself was not "peer-reviewed" because it was not appealed. Indeed, IMO Judge Jones showed lack of restraint in writing the Dover opinion because he knew the decision was not likely to be appealed.

Judge Jones once said that peer review
is needed to show that something's true.
But that's OK,
he didn't say,
his Dover ruling was peer-reviewed too.

John Jones was a federal judge,
he had a mind that was a kludge.
He was that kind,
when he made up his mind,
the facts couldn't cause him to budge.

ADDITION:

The idea of peer (or expert) review actually makes more sense in law than in technical fields. For one thing, the law lends itself to peer review to a greater degree than technical fields. In the field of law, everything is out in the open for everyone to see and references are easily checked to see that quotation or paraphrasing is accurate and that there is no quote-mining, but a reviewer of an article in a technical field may find it difficult or impossible to reproduce experimental results, verify mathematical derivations, check computer coding and computer output, etc.. Hence, peer review in technical fields is often an exercise in futility. Also, because of the principle of stare decisis (i.e., stand by bad decisions) in law, the consequences of wrong or bad ideas may be longer lasting in law than in technical fields. There is no principle of stare decisis in technical fields -- wrong or bad ideas in technical fields are readily discarded. (I have also added these arguments to the comment thread).
.

Labels:

38 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

"Well, I have just discovered a dirty little secret about American law journals (often called law "reviews") -- a high proportion are not "peer-reviewed"!"

Resounding irrelevance. Judge Jones was talking about science, where peer review is very important. ID, of course, is not science.

Monday, May 26, 2008 7:25:00 AM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

< "jackass" is what Dover defendant Bill Buckingham called him >

Considering the source, this may be taken as an encomium.

"People who live in glass houses" etc. ...

Monday, May 26, 2008 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

< I am not immodestly saying that I am a genius about monkey trials ... >

That's good; you have much to be modest about.

Monday, May 26, 2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU said,
>>>>>> Resounding irrelevance. Judge Jones was talking about science, where peer review is very important. <<<<<<

So you are saying that peer review is not important in the law? As I pointed out, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in opinions in the federal courts alone in the period 1970-79 alone. And that number is probably just for published opinions -- the HLR probably was also cited in unpublished opinions.

'Nonymous driveled,

>>>>>< "jackass" is what Dover defendant Bill Buckingham called him <

Considering the source, this may be taken as an encomium. <<<<<<<

That is one of the dumbest remarks I have seen in a long time.

>>>>>> "People who live in glass houses" etc. ... <<<<<

Speaking of glass houses, people in a profession where journals lack peer review should not condemn ID for allegedly lacking peer review.

Monday, May 26, 2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

'Nonymous said...
>>>>>>< I am not immodestly saying that I am a genius about monkey trials<

That's good; you have much to be modest about. <<<<<<

I am now going to say something that you are going to consider to be immodest, but it is true -- I am one of the best-qualified people to "peer"("expert")-review articles about monkey trials. Just look at all the post labels specifically on that topic in the list in the sidebar -- Kitzmiller v. Dover, Selman v. Cobb County, Judge Jones, Establishment Clause, etc.. Then look at all the post labels of closely related topics. Each of those post labels represents up to 20 articles. Many of those articles are based on a tremendous amount of research. I have lots of stuff here that I have not seen elsewhere in general discussions of monkey trials, e.g., I pointed out that two decisions against evolution disclaimer statements in the public schools came very close to being overturned -- Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish, which came within single votes of getting an en banc appeals court rehearing and getting a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court, and Selman v. Cobb County, where the appeals court panel indicated in an oral hearing that they were leaning towards reversal (the lower court decision was later vacated and remanded because of missing evidence and the suit was finally settled out of court). Anyone wanting a good background in monkey trials would do well to read this blog extensively. That psychology professor said, "you can't be a genius if you don't know anything," and to that I would add, "you are an expert if you do know everything." And though I got a lot of my best ideas --- e.g., the nonjusticiability of the evolution controversy -- from others, that does not mean that I did not think up anything independently on my own -- for example, I independently realized that holding a "Monday-morning battle of the experts" in the Dover trial was contrary to the Supreme Court's Edwards v. Aguillard decision. And I greatly expanded upon some of the ideas I got from others, e.g., I wrote three posts about the issue of nonjusticiability. The trolls here talk big about me supposedly being ignorant and stupid, but usually their only answers are lies, insults, ad hominem attacks, and breathtakingly inane attempts to make wisecracks (just look at your own comments). That jerk Peter Irons asked me to write a review of his law journal article, then had the nerve to say that no one cares about my opinions (if he doesn't care about my opinions, then why in hell did he ask me to write a review of his article?). The Law X.0 blog announces and lists law blogs and I asked the bloggers there to announce and list this blog because of my extensive coverage of monkey trials, but they refused. The only reason for their refusal was professional jealousy. Those jerks won't even consider any of my comments for posting. And don't give me that crap that there is no arbitrary censorship of comments on the Internet.

Monday, May 26, 2008 1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>So you are saying that peer review is not important in the law? As I pointed out, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in opinions in the federal courts alone in the period 1970-79 alone.

It isn't. I'm assuming the articles were referenced as support for juridical arguments. The articles, however, do not define the law. They merely interpret the way that the law itself has been interpreted in different cases, making it useful for judges at all levels (all of whom, except perhaps the members of SCOTA, are bound by precedent).

Going back to statements I made months ago on this blog about Foucault, this issue comes down to a question of what Foucault called being "in the true." This is clearly distinct by the question of truth itself. What is "in the true" is what knowledge (he usually refers to knowledge itself, though he also gave examples from psychiatry, the prison and other social institutions (the hospital, going back to psychiatry), and sexuality, though his study of sexuality was cut short by his death due to AIDS) is produced within the rules governing a given discipline. What is true in the sciences is what may be verified through experimentation (following the scientific method), making evolution "in the true" while creationism and ID not "in the true." What is "in the true" legally would be less what is in the journals (I am unaware of any reason why SCOTA would be bound by anything published in any of them, with or without peer review). In short, as ViU already pointed out rather succinctly, the law and science are two different disciplines and what happens in one has nothing to do with another.

Going back to the question of peer review, despite the fact that the articles that populate law reviews are mostly written by professors or professional lawyers (I believe this to be the case, but I may be mistaken), it is a challenge of sort for them to have their articles accepted since students determine what is valuable (ie., interesting enough to print). I know that this was a concern of someone I know in terms of publication. This is the opposite of most academic journals, whose editors usually have senior standing in the field and thus evaluate the papers from the perspective of trolls or watchdogs, controlling in some way the methodology used by the writers of articles and even their subject of investigation.

In short, Larry misses again. No surprise here.

Monday, May 26, 2008 6:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>>So you are saying that peer review is not important in the law? As I pointed out, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in opinions in the federal courts alone in the period 1970-79 alone.

It isn't. I'm assuming the articles were referenced as support for juridical arguments. <<<<<<

You are "assuming"? You mean you don't know?

That's what makes the articles important -- they are referenced as support for juridical arguments. Also, sometimes something may be cited just to attack it -- i.e., because it does not support a juridical argument.

By your line of reasoning, it would be OK for a court opinion to favorably cite an ID-is-science statement from an unreviewed article in the journal of Answers in Genesis -- after all, the citation would only be supporting a juridical argument.

>>>>>>The articles, however, do not define the law. <<<<<<

They do affect the way that the law is defined and interpreted by the courts. What is your point?

>>>>>> They merely interpret the way that the law itself has been interpreted in different cases <<<<<<

Wrong -- the journal articles often attack the way that the law has been interpreted in different cases. For example, this blog discusses several journal articles that have attacked the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision -- see the post label "Expert opinions about Kitzmiller" in the sidebar.

>>>>>> What is true in the sciences is what may be verified through experimentation (following the scientific method), making evolution "in the true" while creationism and ID not "in the true." <<<<<<<

Macroevolution cannot be verified through experimentation, but that issue is off-topic here -- we are discussing why peer (or expert) review is considered necessary for science journals but not for law journals.

>>>>>> What is "in the true" legally would be less what is in the journals (I am unaware of any reason why SCOTA would be bound by anything published in any of them, with or without peer review). <<<<<<

It is not a matter of what is "true" -- a lot of things in the law are not matters of truth but are matters of opinion. And SCOTUS (i.e., the Supreme Court of the United States -- I have never seen "SCOTA" before and don't know what the initials stand for) and other courts are not bound by what is in the journals but are influenced by what is in them.

>>>>>> ViU already pointed out rather succinctly, the law and science are two different disciplines and what happens in one has nothing to do with another. <<<<<<

Wrong -- the issue of peer review is relevant in both disciplines but may apply to them in different ways. It is completely inconsistent to say that peer review is the sine qua non in science but unimportant in law. In fact, this lack of peer review in law journal articles is especially ironic because the law lends itself to peer review to a greater degree than technical fields. In the field of law, everything is out in the open for everyone to see, but a reviewer of an article in a technical field may find it difficult or impossible to reproduce experimental results, verify mathematical derivations, check computer coding and computer output, etc..

>>>>>> Going back to the question of peer review <<<<<<

What do you mean, "going back" -- we never completely left the question.

>>>>>> despite the fact that the articles that populate law reviews are mostly written by professors or professional lawyers (I believe this to be the case, but I may be mistaken), <<<<<

Well, the law is so multidisciplinary that probably a lot of law journal articles are authored or co-authored by people outside the legal profession, but the point is unimportant here.

>>>>>> it is a challenge of sort for them to have their articles accepted since students determine what is valuable (ie., interesting enough to print). <<<<<<

How in the hell can law students be qualified to review law journal articles when often no faculty member at the law school that publishes the journal is well-qualified to review some law journal articles? In what other scholarly field are the journal articles reviewed solely by students?

>>>>>> This is the opposite of most academic journals, whose editors usually have senior standing in the field and thus evaluate the papers from the perspective of trolls or watchdogs, controlling in some way the methodology used by the writers of articles and even their subject of investigation. <<<<<<

Exactly -- and this has to a great extent prevented criticisms of Darwinism from being published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Look at the Sternberg affair at the Smithsonian Institution -- and I believe that the article in question was actually peer-reviewed! If an article is well-argued and/or well-presented, the reviewers should approve it even if it is unorthodox.

>>>>> In short, Larry misses again. No surprise here. <<<<<

In short, you are the one who has missed. I missed nothing. No surprise here.

Monday, May 26, 2008 8:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 3:26:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>>> As usual Larry falls flat on his face, then gets up and declares victory. <<<<<<<

Under the new rules, that kind of comment will no longer be accepted here. It is a violation of Rule #2: "A comment containing nothing but personal attacks." That kind of comment adds nothing to the discussion -- it just clutters up the thread with garbage.

See the post "NEW RULES FOR COMMENTS."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:13:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

In a preceding comment, I said,

It is completely inconsistent to say that peer review is the sine qua non in science but unimportant in law. In fact, this lack of peer review in law journal articles is especially ironic because the law lends itself to peer review to a greater degree than technical fields. In the field of law, everything is out in the open for everyone to see, but a reviewer of an article in a technical field may find it difficult or impossible to reproduce experimental results, verify mathematical derivations, check computer coding and computer output, etc..

I just thought of another reason why peer review makes more sense in law than in technical fields: because of the principle of stare decisis (i.e., stand by bad decisions) in law, the consequences of wrong or bad ideas may be longer lasting in law than in technical fields. There is no principle of stare decisis in technical fields -- wrong or bad ideas in technical fields are readily discarded.

IMO these ideas are so important that I am adding them to the original post.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>>>>>If an article is well-argued and/or well-presented, the reviewers should approve it even if it is unorthodox.

Actually, the argument you refer to failed the methodology test, making it unsuitable for publication and why it failed (or would have failed) peer review. It is not that it is unorthodox, it fails to follow the rules of science.

>>>How in the hell can law students be qualified to review law journal articles when often no faculty member at the law school that publishes the journal is well-qualified to review some law journal articles?

What makes the faculty not qualified? I never said that they weren't qualified. Not all students are qualified -- only the top of the class.

>>>>>>>>that probably a lot of law journal articles are authored or co-authored by people outside the legal profession,

So you don't know. Then shut up. The law journal I saw had articles by professors, lawyers, and one student (a friend of mine and the reason I looked at the issue). I don't recall any co-authored piece, but it was a few years ago.

>>>>>>By your line of reasoning, it would be OK for a court opinion to favorably cite an ID-is-science statement from an unreviewed article in the journal of Answers in Genesis -- after all, the citation would only be supporting a juridical argument.

By my reasoning, just the opposite: since AiG is not a journal and is not science, it would be rejected because it fails the test for scientific knowledge: in no way does it pass any test for what qualifies as being "in the true."

>>>>>>>>>Wrong -- the journal articles often attack the way that the law has been interpreted in different cases.

They can do that, but the courts are still bound by the precedent(s) established by SCOTUS and not by what some law review article states.

>>>>>>>>>>>>For example, this blog discusses several journal articles that have attacked the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision -- see the post label "Expert opinions about Kitzmiller" in the sidebar.

Your point? Your blog is not a law review. No one is bound by your statements (except you, to the extent you wish to defend them). Despite the articles being published, they have no influence on how lower courts will define cases. Only SCOTUS (and perhaps state Supreme Courts, depending on the issue) has (have) the ability to overturn precedent and change legal direction. If they read such articles and decide to be influenced by them, it is their choice.

>>>>>>Macroevolution cannot be verified through experimentation

A creationist canard. Actually, it has been verified. But most often, experimentation means different things, such as predicting the sort of fossils that one might expect to find, etc.

In short, this whole argument boils down to your (stupid) opinion that law reviews ought to be peer reviewed. Since you make that claim, it is surprising that you argue against the importance of peer review in any field.

As usual, you have fallen flat on your face.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

>>>Speaking of glass houses, people in a profession where journals lack peer review should not condemn ID for allegedly lacking peer review.<<<

Great point!!! It's not an argument based on substance. Speaking of which...

>>>Actually, it has been verified. But most often, experimentation means different things, such as predicting the sort of fossils that one might expect to find, etc.<<<

Predictions on what evidence you "might find" and your calling that a method of verification? Red flags, it's not what you think you "might find" in the fossil record, rather it's what you "do find" in the fossil record.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael incoherently stated: Predictions on what evidence you "might find" and your (sic) calling that a method of verification?

Here are some examples of what has been found in the fossil record, results of predictions made by evolutionary theory:

* Common descent predicts a nested hierarchy pattern, or groups within groups. We see just such an arrangement in a unique, consistent, well-defined hierarchy, the so-called tree of life.
* Different lines of evidence give the same arrangement of the tree of life. We get essentially the same results whether we look at morphological, biochemical, or genetic traits.
* Fossil animals fit in the same tree of life. We find several cases of transitional forms in the fossil record.
* The fossils appear in a chronological order, showing change consistent with common descent over hundreds of millions of years and inconsistent with sudden creation.
* Many organisms show rudimentary, vestigial characters, such as sightless eyes or wings useless for flight.
* Atavisms sometimes occur. An atavism is the reappearance of a character present in a distant ancestor but lost in the organism's immediate ancestors. We only see atavisms consistent with organisms' evolutionary histories.
* Ontogeny (embryology and developmental biology) gives information about the historical pathway of an organism's evolution. For example, as embryos whales and many snakes develop hind limbs that are reabsorbed before birth.
* The distribution of species is consistent with their evolutionary history. For example, marsupials are mostly limited to Australia, and the exceptions are explained by continental drift. Remote islands often have species groups that are highly diverse in habits and general appearance but closely related genetically. Squirrel diversity coincides with tectonic and sea level changes (Mercer and Roth 2003). Such consistency still holds when the distribution of fossil species is included.
* Evolution predicts that new structures are adapted from other structures that already exist, and thus similarity in structures should reflect evolutionary history rather than function. We see this frequently. For example, human hands, bat wings, horse legs, whale flippers, and mole forelimbs all have similar bone structure despite their different functions.
* The same principle applies on a molecular level. Humans share a large percentage of their genes, probably more than 70 percent, with a fruit fly or a nematode worm.
* When two organisms evolve the same function independently, different structures are often recruited. For example, wings of birds, bats, pterosaurs, and insects all have different structures. Gliding has been implemented in many additional ways. Again, this applies on a molecular level, too.
* The constraints of evolutionary history sometimes lead to suboptimal structures and functions. For example, the human throat and respiratory system make it impossible to breathe and swallow at the same time and make us susceptible to choking.
* Suboptimality appears also on the molecular level. For example, much DNA is nonfunctional.
* Some nonfunctional DNA, such as certain transposons, pseudogenes, and endogenous viruses, show a pattern of inheritance indicating common ancestry.
* Speciation has been observed.
* The day-to-day aspects of evolution -- heritable genetic change, morphological variation and change, functional change, and natural selection -- are seen to occur at rates consistent with common descent.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said (Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:13:00 AM) --
>>>>> the argument you refer to failed the methodology test <<<<<<

It passes the no-peer-review test of the law profession.

>>>>> What makes the faculty not qualified? <<<<<<<

They might not be familiar with the specific topic of the paper. For example, a paper arguing that "buzz" pollination is not co-evolvable should be reviewed by experts on buzz pollination. A paper about monkey trials should be reviewed by experts on monkey trials -- e.g., me.

>>>>> So you don't know. Then shut up. <<<<<<

Well, looky here -- this coming from a commenter who has said, "I'm assuming," "I believe this to be the case, but I may be mistaken," and "I am unaware of any reason . . ."

>>>>> By my reasoning, just the opposite: since AiG is not a journal and is not science <<<<<<

But it is not peer-reviewed, and to the courts, that is apparently what counts.

>>>>>>>Wrong -- the journal articles often attack the way that the law has been interpreted in different cases.

They can do that, but the courts are still bound by the precedent(s) established by SCOTUS and not by what some law review article states. <<<<<<

A law journal article that attacks a precedent could show a court how to argue around that precedent or make an exception to that precedent.

>>>>> If they read such articles and decide to be influenced by them, it is their choice. <<<<<<

So it is their choice whether to be influenced by law journal articles that have not been peer(expert)-reviewed.

>>>>> Your point? Your blog is not a law review. <<<<<

I never said that it is -- but blogs in general are increasingly being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, and other authorities.

>>>>>> Despite the articles being published, they have no influence on how lower courts will define cases. <<<<<<

If the articles don't influence the courts in some way, then why do the courts cite them?

>>>>>> In short, this whole argument boils down to your (stupid) opinion that law reviews ought to be peer reviewed. <<<<<<

Well, Harvard Law Review has starting using peer review (or at least faculty review instead of just student review), so I guess that makes them stupid.

>>>>> Since you make that claim, it is surprising that you argue against the importance of peer review in any field. <<<<<<

I have not argued against the importance of peer review in any field, but I think that peer review has drawbacks -- e.g., it tends to keep unorthodox views out of peer-reviewed journals.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 3:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the argument you refer to failed the methodology test <<<<<<

It passes the no-peer-review test of the law profession.

No peer review doesn't mean that garbage gets published. You can test this if you want: send any of your posts here to a law review and count the days until you get a rejection notice (maybe they'll think it's a joke and throw it in the trash, no response necessary).

>>>>>>>>A paper about monkey trials should be reviewed by experts on monkey trials -- e.g., me.

You're not an expert on this topic (probably not on any, but I reserve judgment -- perhaps you're an expert on stupidity).

>>>>>>>>but blogs in general are increasingly being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, and other authorities.

I doubt that your blog will ever be cited in a legal case, except perhaps as a negative example.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> What makes the faculty not qualified? <<<<<<<

They might not be familiar with the specific topic of the paper. For example, a paper arguing that "buzz" pollination is not co-evolvable should be reviewed by experts on buzz pollination.

You fail to understand how peer review works; it's not about the topic per se but about how it is written and argued -- anyone should be able to understand it (as you claim to be the case about limited areas of the law, despite having yet to show anything that would characterize you as the 'expert' you claim to be).

>>>>>>>>>>> So you don't know. Then shut up. <<<<<<

Well, looky here -- this coming from a commenter who has said, "I'm assuming," "I believe this to be the case, but I may be mistaken," and "I am unaware of any reason . . ."

I make no claims as to my expertise in these areas, unlike you who does claim it but fails to show any.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Despite the articles being published, they have no influence on how lower courts will define cases. <<<<<<

If the articles don't influence the courts in some way, then why do the courts cite them?

They can use them as they see fit. If it accurately describes precedent (according to the judge(s) of the case), then it may be used. Otherwise it will be ignored.

>>>>>>>>>I have not argued against the importance of peer review in any field

Then why did you write this post? You criticize Jones for not accepting the non-peer-reviewed publications of IDiots as examples of scientific work. Since you think that Jones was mistaken in his ruling, you are arguing against peer review in the sciences -- and you seem to think that peer review in the law reviews would be a good thing because you spend time in your post criticizing the legal profession for not being peer reviewed.

Besides, you have failed to answer the substantive portions of my previous comment(s). As usual.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:07:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous driveled,
>>>>>> No peer review doesn't mean that garbage gets published. <<<<<<

One of the purposes of peer review is to help prevent garbage from being published.

>>>>>> You can test this if you want: send any of your posts here to a law review and count the days until you get a rejection notice <<<<<<

You stupid fathead, a law professor said about articles submitted to law journals, "it's all about the letterhead: elite letterheads get a charitable read, less than elite letterheads don't."

>>>>>> You're not an expert on this topic <<<<<<

Sorry to inform you, dunghill, but I am an expert on monkey trials. It is impossible for anyone to read and write as much about monkey trials as I have and not become an expert. I have written hundreds of posts on monkey trials and related subjects, and many of those posts individually represents a tremendous amount of research. Just look at the list of post labels in the sidebar -- each of those post labels represents up to 20 articles. My collection of articles about monkey trials is comparable to the collections on multi-blogger blogs such as Panda's Thumb, Uncommon Descent, and Evolution New & Views. Also, you apparently think that you are an expert on monkey trials because you think that you are qualified to judge the quality of my collection of articles on the subject.

>>>>>>>>but blogs in general are increasingly being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, and other authorities.

I doubt that your blog will ever be cited in a legal case <<<<<<

What has this got to do with me, dunghill? I only made a general statement about blogs.

>>>>>> You fail to understand how peer review works; it's not about the topic per se but about how it is written and argued -- anyone should be able to understand it <<<<<<

One of the big stinks in the Richard Sternberg affair was that the chosen peer reviewers were not the most qualified. Wikipedia says,

Meyer’s article is the first Intelligent Design paper ever published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it deals less with systematics (or taxonomy, Sternberg’s specialty) than it does paleontology, for which many members of the society would have been better qualified than he to peer review the paper (in fact, at least three members were experts on the Cambrian invertebrates discussed in Meyer’s paper).

–-- Michael Shermer, Ben Stein’s Blunder


>>>>>> I make no claims as to my expertise in these areas, unlike you who does claim it but fails to show any. <<<<<<

What? Saying "I don't know" is claiming expertise?

>>>>>If the articles don't influence the courts in some way, then why do the courts cite them?

They can use them as they see fit. If it accurately describes precedent (according to the judge(s) of the case), then it may be used. Otherwise it will be ignored. <<<<<

So the courts never cite anything that does not accurately describe precedent. What an idiot.

>>>>>>You criticize Jones for not accepting the non-peer-reviewed publications of IDiots as examples of scientific work. <<<<<<

You obviously missed the point here -- the point is that there is a double standard because Jones insists on peer review in science when peer review is lacking in the field of law.

Sometimes I feel that I am insulting the intelligence of readers here by answering comments as stupid as yours -- my answers imply that I think that the readers are not smart enough to easily see through the stupidity of such comments.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Sorry to inform you, dunghill, but I am an expert on monkey trials. It is impossible for anyone to read and write as much about monkey trials as I have and not become an expert. <

You have proven the opposite.

> I have written hundreds of posts on monkey trials and related subjects <

Most of your posts consist merely of copies of other articles and little original material.

> the point is that there is a double standard because Jones insists on peer review in science when peer review is lacking in the field of law. <

That is not a double standard. Science and law are different subjects. What applies to one may or may not apply to another. Law is based on established rules and prescedents. Science is based on observation. Please don't misunderstand the application of "rules" to science. I have left out that clarification since it would insult the intelligence of all but two of your readers.

> Sometimes I feel that I am insulting the intelligence of readers here by answering comments as stupid as yours <

Yes. Your answers often do insult the intelligence of the readers.

> my answers imply that I think that the readers are not smart enough to easily see through the stupidity of such comments. <

Don't worry. The readers are smart enough to easily see through your stupidity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

As the saying goes, don't feed the trolls.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 9:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry, you have yet to answer ViU's point about the law and science being different subjects, regulated according to different rules (the process of being "in the true" as I mention in the comments as well). The only person looking ridiculous here is you (as usual).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>>Larry, you have yet to answer ViU's point about the law and science being different subjects, regulated according to different rules (the process of being "in the true" as I mention in the comments as well).<<<<<<

Anonymous, give me one good reason why I should answer points raised by a jerko commenter who makes statements like these:

Please don't misunderstand the application of "rules" to science. I have left out that clarification since it would insult the intelligence of all but two of your readers. (BTW, ViU had just stated that science is not based on rules but is based on observation, so how could rules apply to science?)

Most of your posts consist merely of copies of other articles and little original material.


Anyway, I answered ViU's point both in this thread and in an addition to the original post. Here is my addition to the original post:

The idea of peer (or expert) review actually makes more sense in law than in technical fields. For one thing, the law lends itself to peer review to a greater degree than technical fields. In the field of law, everything is out in the open for everyone to see and references are easily checked to see that quotation or paraphrasing is accurate and that there is no quote-mining, but a reviewer of an article in a technical field may find it difficult or impossible to reproduce experimental results, verify mathematical derivations, check computer coding and computer output, etc.. Hence, peer review in technical fields is often an exercise in futility. Also, because of the principle of stare decisis (i.e., stand by bad decisions) in law, the consequences of wrong or bad ideas may be longer lasting in law than in technical fields. There is no principle of stare decisis in technical fields -- wrong or bad ideas in technical fields are readily discarded.

As for ViU's statements, "Law is based on established rules and prescedents. Science is based on observation": that difference -- which I deny exists -- has nothing to do with the issue of peer (or expert) review. Peer review is useful for all kinds of articles. ViU seems to think that the mere fact that science and the law are different subjects means that peer review is needed in one but not the other.

As for your "in the true" arguments, I cannot even understand some of them, e.g., your statement, "What is 'in the true' legally would be less what is in the journals." What in the hell is that supposed to mean? And you say, "What is 'in the true' is what knowledge . . is produced within the rules governing a given discipline." That is not a definition of "truth" -- that is a definition of what is considered acceptable within the rules governing a given discipline. Your term "in the true" is devoid of meaning. Anyway, it does not appear that your "in the true" arguments have any bearing on the issue of peer review.

Your turn.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> ViU seems to think that the mere fact that science and the law are different subjects means that peer review is needed in one but not the other. <

That is not what he said, at least not in the posts that you have not censored. If you are quoting a censored post, forget it. Nobody will believe in the accuracy of what you claim someone said.

> As for your "in the true" arguments, I cannot even understand some of them <

That's O.K. The readers understand them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

As the saying goes, don't feed the trolls.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 3:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides not understanding what other readers have, you fail to give a good reason why it's even relevant that science is peer reviewed and law reviews are not (with apparently one exception). Considering that judicial rulings are not per se law review material (commentary on them would be), but are instead subjected to a different review: that of higher courts. Although this particular case was not appealed, it seems likely that there will be another lawsuit over the matter, one that may be appealed and addressed in higher courts. At that time, the decision made by Judge Jones will be used and defended or negated by the ruling of another court, perhaps even SCOTUS. This is the "peer review" of judicial decisions -- completely irrelevant to the issue of law reviews themselves and whether they are peer reviewed or not.

Too bad you didn't understand the part about being "in the true." You should read Foucault, but like everything else, it would just go over your head.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> you fail to give a good reason why it's even relevant that science is peer reviewed and law reviews are not <<<<<

That's true -- I gave good reasons why it should be the other way around:

(1) Articles for technical journals are often impossible to check for errors. Articles for law journals are usually easy to check for errors.

(2) Because of stare decisis, wrong or bad ideas in the law last much longer than wrong or bad ideas in science.

You trolls keep complaining that I don't answer your comments even when I do answer them, sometimes several times over.

>>>>> Considering that judicial rulings are not per se law review material (commentary on them would be), <<<<<<

What? Of course judicial rulings are law review material. And you are contradicting yourself in the same sentence -- first saying that judicial rulings are not law review material, then saying that commentary on them would be. And where does some of that commentary come from? Other law review articles that commented on the judicial rulings, of course.

>>>>>> Although this particular case was not appealed, it seems likely that there will be another lawsuit over the matter <<<<<

I am not talking just about this particular case -- I was talking generally. And though the Dover case was decided 2½ years ago, no other case has been filed on the same issue since then.

>>>>> This is the "peer review" of judicial decisions -- completely irrelevant to the issue of law reviews themselves and whether they are peer reviewed or not. <<<<<<

No, the issue of peer review of law journal articles is not irrelevant, because the articles have obviously influenced the courts. As I said, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in federal court opinions alone in the period 1970-79 alone.

>>>>>> You should read Foucault, but like everything else, it would just go over your head. <<<<<<

If all this crap goes over my head, then why do you waste your time and my time by posting comments here?

"In the true," my eye. What utter bullshit.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 9:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Articles for technical journals are often impossible to check for errors. <

Why? It would seem that in many cases, except for the results of complicated experiments, articles are easy to check for errors and such errors are often found.

> You trolls keep complaining that I don't answer your comments even when I do answer them <

And many times you don't, although you are asked several times over. You also claim to have answered questions that you haven't and further you claim that others have not answered questions that they have several times over.

>>>>> Considering that judicial rulings are not per se law review material (commentary on them would be), <<<<<<

> And you are contradicting yourself in the same sentence -- first saying that judicial rulings are not law review material, then saying that commentary on them would be. <

That statement is irrational. There is no contradiction there. Judicial rulings and commentary on judicial rulings are quite obviously two different things.

> If all this crap goes over my head, then why do you waste your time and my time by posting comments here? <

Because it doesn't go over the head of the readers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 7:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:17:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

In the deleted comment, Anonymous driveled,

>>>>>> Thanks ViU, you covered just about everything that Larry got wrong (well, a significant chunk of it anyways).

>>>>>>>Because it doesn't go over the head of the readers.

All five of them or so.<<<<<<

I said that I don't want that kind of comment posted on this blog, particularly not before I have had a chance to answer. We all know what you think. That kind of comment contributes nothing to the discussion and just clutters up the blog with garbage. I am going to start deleting such comments without trace and without explanation.

Do you post crap like that on other blogs?

Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU said,
>>>>>> Articles for technical journals are often impossible to check for errors. <

Why? It would seem that in many cases, except for the results of complicated experiments, articles are easy to check for errors and such errors are often found. <<<<<<

ViU, you keep accusing me of repeating my arguments over and over again, but that is because you ignore them the first time.

Of course a lot of journal articles on technical subjects are about "the results of complicated experiments"! And many of these articles leave out intermediate steps of long mathematical derivations -- for example, I was the co-author of a paper that was based on a mathematical integration that required an integration formula that I found in only one table of integrals (I thought that the paper should have identified the source of the table of integrals but the paper did not). Often technical papers do not show computer coding, and often the computer coding is understandable only to the authors of the computer programs, anyway. And the computer output cannot be checked to make sure that there was no significant error in input. In contrast, it is easy to check the references in law journal papers to make sure that the quotation or paraphrasing is accurate and that there is no quote-mining. I already explained all these things but you just ignored it. Also, peer review is not just for the purpose of checking for objective factual errors -- it is also for the purpose of subjective criticism. Law papers as well as technical papers can benefit from subjective criticism.

>>>>>> You trolls keep complaining that I don't answer your comments even when I do answer them <

And many times you don't, although you are asked several times over. You also claim to have answered questions that you haven't and further you claim that others have not answered questions that they have several times over. <<<<<<

On other blogs, I often post comments that are critical of the bloggers' views, but if a blogger does not answer, I don't say, "nah-nah-nah-nah-nah -- you can't answer."

>>>>>> And you are contradicting yourself in the same sentence -- first saying that judicial rulings are not law review material, then saying that commentary on them would be. <

That statement is irrational. There is no contradiction there. Judicial rulings and commentary on judicial rulings are quite obviously two different things. <<<<<<

There is plenty of contradiction there. Saying that judicial rulings are not law review material is the same as saying that they are not appropriate or suitable material for commenting on in law reviews.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> In the deleted comment, Anonymous driveled <

There is no way of knowing what ViU actually said. Larry censors the actual comment and then pretends to tell us what the censored comment says. It may or may not be what ViU said and it may or may not be taken out of context.

If you are so afraid of ViU's comments that you have to censor them, don't presume to rebut them.

> I am going to start deleting such comments without trace and without explanation. <

You have been doing this for some time. It has accelerated recently.

> Do you post crap like that on other blogs? <

I have only seen ViU post on a few other blogs but his posts are usually good. Your posts on other blogs are just as bad as they are here, sometimes worse.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Hector said...
>>>>>>> In the deleted comment, Anonymous driveled <

There is no way of knowing what ViU actually said. <<<<<<<

The deleted comment came from Anonymous, not ViU. I quoted the entire comment.

>>>>>> If you are so afraid of ViU's comments that you have to censor them, don't presume to rebut them. <<<<<<

It is not that I am "afraid of them" -- it is just that these comments clutter up this blog with breathtaking inanities. Just explaining my reasons for flushing this crap is cluttering up this blog. I just don't see such comments on other blogs -- on other blogs, such comments are either not posted at all or they are not tolerated. This is a little blog with not much traffic but I want it to look like a quality blog. If the comment had said something worthwhile in addition to what was deleted, I would not have deleted the comment. It is obvious that I tolerate a lot of abuse here.

>>>>> I have only seen ViU post on a few other blogs but his posts are usually good. <<<<<<

So you are calling that comment that I just deleted (from Anonymous, not ViU) "good," dunghill?

You lousy hypocritical double-standarding sack of *^&%@#, you have never once criticized the arbitrary censorship by Wickedpedians and various bloggers -- e.g., Fatheaded Ed Brayton, Sleazy PZ Myers, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry, and the bloggers on Pander's Thumb and Law X.0. They will not consider any of my comments or contributions for posting.

Friday, May 30, 2008 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, May 30, 2008 8:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hector, the most recently censored comment was mine (Anonymous) -- not the other Anonlymous on this line (Larry confused me with the other Anonymous; shouldn't he know which is which as administrator?). I think he quoted the entire post, which is, as you note, a strange way to practice arbitrary censorship (I didn't even call him childish or derogatory names, either, unlike what he does with just about everyone else).

Hector wrote "The lack of traffic is certainly not due to the commenters. They no doubt attract most of your readers."

This is certainly true for me. If it weren't for people like Hector and ViU, I don't know if I would spend any time here.

Friday, May 30, 2008 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Hector's deleted post said,
>>>>> Ed Brayton banned you because of sock puppetry. <<<<<<

Wrong. As I have pointed out innumerable times, Ed kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule, as described here.

These lies will no longer be tolerated on this blog. Good riddance, dunghill.

Anonymous driveled,
>>>>> This is certainly true for me. If it weren't for people like Hector and ViU, I don't know if I would spend any time here. <<<<<

You are not welcome here, dunghill, and now that I am flushing Hector's and ViU's lousy comments, you won't have any more reason to spend any time here.

Friday, May 30, 2008 8:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> These lies will no longer be tolerated on this blog. Good riddance, dunghill.<

Then stop your lies about why you have been banned on so many blogs.

Your definition of a lie is anything that disagrees with your fantasies.

And you are continuing to pretend to quote censored material. If you don't have the nerve to allow it on your blog, don't pretend to tell us what it said.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 1:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Larry's pretending to quote censored material is quite comical.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 1:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

This is a little blog with not much traffic but I want it to look like a quality blog.

It doesn't have to "look" like a quality blog, it is a quality blog. It's a great place to assess Judge Jones remarks for example. The internet is vast and cluttered at times. It's harder to find good bloggers than it is to find good blogs.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 2:20:00 PM  
Anonymous HMA said...

"As I pointed out, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in opinions in the federal courts alone in the period 1970-79 alone."

Just an FYI. Law review articles are not primary sources of authority, but secondary. As they are not primary sources, they are not considered mandatory authority, but persuasive authority. When they are cited in an opinion, it is because the court found it persuasive. Likely persuasive in conjunction with other authorities on the matter, such as case law or statutes.

I am a law student. I have written appellate briefs and advocated for my "client" at mock trials. I am allowed to cite to law review articles. However, because they are only persuasive, I sure as hell better have more than an article to back up my argument. Further, sometimes when I do cite an article I go to the authority used by that article and use that in conjunction or just to support its validity.

When you keep repeating how many HLR articles have been cited, it sounds a little misleading. So while I agree that there should be more peer review and even expert review of articles, as articles are not considered mandatory authority, I don't believe we are in danger of having a court completely rely on one. If they do, I believe the problem is more with the court system than with the publishers of the law journals.

As a side note: The peer editing of these articles at my school is fairly extensive. A student must work with a faculty advisor and peer member of law review appointed to supervise student writers. After the article is written, the first draft is cite checked by 3 different people. This entails picking apart every sentence and ensuring it cites to the authority from which the information came and finding every such authority and checking the information for accuracy. The writer gets the paper back with a large number of comments and suggested changes. If after a couple drafts the article is considered "publishable" the writer spends a couple more months rewviewing and revising the article with the help of the faculty member and law review peer advisor. Many articles written by law review students do not get published because there is limited space in each journal. In a way it is like a competition every semester to see who will get published.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:19:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> I don't believe we are in danger of having a court completely rely on one. <<<<<<

I have seen Volokh Conspiracy articles about cases where courts have completely relied on Wikipedia or a blog article -- so it is not too far-fetched to imagine complete reliance on a law journal article. Anyway, a law journal article could be a deciding factor in a case even if the article is not entirely relied upon, and an opinion's citation of a law journal article might be cited in other cases. Anyway, I can't understand your nonchalance about the influence of law journal articles.

>>>>>> A student must work with a faculty advisor and peer member of law review appointed to supervise student writers. <<<<<<

I presume that student law-review editors are not supervised at a lot of law schools.

>>>>>> After the article is written, the first draft is cite checked by 3 different people. This entails picking apart every sentence and ensuring it cites to the authority from which the information came and finding every such authority and checking the information for accuracy. <<<<<<

Anyone can check for clerical errors -- that is not an important part of peer review.

Friday, February 20, 2009 2:40:00 AM  

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