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.

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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.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How non-scientists can be published in "peer-reviewed" scientific journals

Unfortunately, Darwinists have made a big fetish out of "peer review," and many of them won't even consider -- or sometimes won't even post -- my ideas about coevolution because those ideas have not appeared in a "peer reviewed" publication (my ideas about coevolution are banned on the Florida Citizens for Science blog and were probably a factor in my banning from some other Darwinist websites). This has been a real dilemma for me, because I have no credentials in biology (I am a mechanical engineer) and therefore my chances of having my ideas about coevolution published in a regular peer-reviewed scientific journal are virtually nil. However, I have discovered some journals about philosophy in biology which accept articles from non-biologists, so I have a chance of having my ideas about coevolution published in one of those journals. The trolls are now going to start scoffing at those ideas as stupid, but so far no one has been able to refute them and so "peer reviewers" probably would not do a better job of refuting them than anyone else has done. My thoughts about coevolution are summarized here.

Philosophy & Theory in Biology

This journal is described as follows: [link]
.
Philosophy & Theory in Biology (P&TB) is a peer-reviewed open-access online journal that aims to bring together philosophers of science and theoretically inclined biologists in order to interact across disciplinary boundaries.

While theoretical biology is often understood to be primarily mathematical in nature, biology is an inherently historical science with a long tradition of conceptual theorizing, from Charles Darwin to the architects of the Modern Synthesis, and continuing through to today. Biological disciplines ranging from evolutionary biology to ecology, from cell to developmental biology, and from morphology to paleobiology are characterized by a lively interplay among empirical data, mathematical treatments, and conceptual discussions.

IMO saying that theoretical biology is primarily mathematical in nature is an exaggeration and overgeneralization. The fact that biological phenomena often cannot be defined rigorously in mathematical terms was a factor in Lord Rutherford's statement, "All science is either physics or stamp-collecting."

Intelligent design has often been condemned for its lack of experimentation and field studies, but a lot of biological studies consist of "conceptual discussions." My studies of coevolution, for example, consist entirely of "conceptual discussions" -- I have done no experimentation or field studies.

Like theoretical biology, philosophy of biology is characterized by its attention to conceptual issues. Indeed, over the past several decades, it has evolved to include an increasing number of philosophers with a solid background in science, and whose conceptual interests are often intertwined with those of biologists. Yet, the philosopher brings a distinctive approach and background to the examination of problems in biology; in philosophy, the focus tends to be on the logical structure of theoretical constructs, the uses and interpretation of evidence, the ways in which concepts are employed by scientists, and the relationships between empirical and theoretical elements of research programs.

One of the editors, Massimo Pigliucci (State University of New York at Stony Brook), organized the meeting of the group that has become known as the Altenberg 16 [link] [link]. Several other members of the Altenberg 16 are in the lists of editors and editorial board members. Pigliucci was also one of the initiators of the Darwin Day events and became vice-president of the Darwin Day organization. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that these groups of editors and editorial board members would be receptive to anything that is critical of evolution theory.

The "Instructions for Authors" says,

Manuscripts can be submitted in the following word processing formats: rtf, Pages, doc. Please do not send pdf files, because they cannot be edited. Figures, when necessary, can be embedded in the manuscript or submitted separately as jpeg or tiff files.

More details are given in the instructions.

Here are descriptions of rtf files, doc files, and pages files. The "doc" suffix is used for Microsoft Word files and WordPad files. WordPad is bundled with Microsoft Windows but Microsoft Word must be installed or activated as a separate program (Word often comes pre-installed as part of Microsoft Office but must be activated). Notepad -- which has no formatting -- should not be confused with WordPad. I am surprised that they say that the pdf files cannot be edited -- they should be able to edit pdf files if they have the right software. Also, I am wondering why html is not listed as an acceptable format. Html format has html tags, including embedded URL links. Html files are especially well-suited for online use and many existing online files are already in this format (this blog is in html format) and changing to another format may require a lot of editing. The website says that this is an online journal but they might want the capability of printing the articles and maybe that is why they don't list html as an acceptable format.

This journal's editors may be contacted at --
editors@philosohyandtheoryinbiology.org

======================================================

Biology & Philosophy

This journal, which is available online, is described as follows: [link]

Recent decades have witnessed fascinating and controversial advances in the biological sciences. This journal answers the need for meta-theoretical analysis, both about the very nature of biology, as well as about its social implications.

Biology and Philosophy is aimed at a broad readership, drawn from both the sciences and the humanities. The journal subscribes to no specific school of biology, nor of philosophy, and publishes work from authors of all persuasions and all disciplines.

An advantage is that this journal is indexed in a large number of scholarly databases, e.g. --

Abstracted/Indexed in:
Academic Search Complete, Academic Search Premier, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, BIOSIS Previews, Current Abstracts, Current Contents/Arts and Humanities, Dietrich's Index Philosophicus, EMBiology, General Science Index, . . .etc.

The section on "text formatting" says that manuscripts should be submitted in Word -- however, I presume that WordPad doc files are compatible with Word. Again, I would prefer it if they accepted html files, but as I said before, maybe the capability of printing the articles is desired and that is why html files are not listed as acceptable.
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9 Comments:

Anonymous Wayne said...

Are you actually considering trying to publish your thoughts on co-evolution? What you have right now is far too rough for submittal to a peer-reviewed journal. If you're serious about it, I'd be willing to help guide you through the process. Understand that this will require a lot of work on your part, including finding, reading, and understanding numerous biological and philosophical articles. Understand up front that I will have to run your arguments through the wringer - don't take it personal when I do, it's simply part of the process.

Friday, June 05, 2009 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Are you actually considering trying to publish your thoughts on co-evolution? <<<<<<<

Definitely.

>>>>>> What you have right now is far too rough for submittal to a peer-reviewed journal. <<<<<<<

The Instructions for Authors of the Philosophy & Theory in Biology journal shows that informal papers are accepted for review. My paper could not be worse than some of the garbage that I see out there, e.g., this piece of unintelligible high-falutin gobbledygook.

>>>>>> Understand that this will require a lot of work on your part, including finding, reading, and understanding numerous biological and philosophical articles. <<<<<<<

So far as I can see, there is not much to research out there because I see very little literature that discusses the problems of coevolution. Biologists have generally dismissed coevolution as just being uninteresting "mutual evolutionary pressure" between different kinds of organisms. I think my blog already contains most of the research needed.

>>>>>> Understand up front that I will have to run your arguments through the wringer -- don't take it personal when I do, it's simply part of the process. <<<<<<

The only thing I take personally is frivolous criticism.

Thank you for your offer of assistance. Your offer of assistance implies that you think my ideas about coevolution are a worthwhile contribution -- I hope that you really think that.

Friday, June 05, 2009 3:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Wayne said...

Unfortunately, I do not have time to respond in depth, as I have an out-of-state wedding to attend this weekend. If you take the attitude into writing the paper that you showed in your last comment, I guarantee the paper will be rejected without even being read. I will explain more when I get back. Again, I reiterate that I am trying to offer helpful criticism, but you are going to have to accept up front that there are some conventions that you can't ignore if you want to get published.

Friday, June 05, 2009 4:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Wayne said...

>>>>The Instructions for Authors of the Philosophy & Theory in Biology journal shows that informal papers are accepted for review. My paper could not be worse than some of the garbage that I see out there, e.g., this piece of unintelligible high-falutin gobbledygook. <<<<

Looking through the IfA, there are four types of papers, two of which don't apply to what you want to do. That leaves a 'scholarly' paper or a 'technical yet accessible' paper, neither of which are the same as an informal paper. In any case, the suggested size is 8,000-10,000 words. What you have so far is only a bit over 600 words. It's a bit over twice the size of an abstract, and reads like an introduction or an outline. You need to develop your arguments. You'll probably not need to use such information-dense language as the paper you linked to (actually, it's not bad, you should see the papers engineers write - impenetrable is an understatement), but you still have to incude some substance.

>>>>So far as I can see, there is not much to research out there because I see very little literature that discusses the problems of coevolution. Biologists have generally dismissed coevolution as just being uninteresting "mutual evolutionary pressure" between different kinds of organisms. I think my blog already contains most of the research needed.<<<<

If there is not much literature that discusses the problems of co-evolution, then you'll have to study the literature on coevolution itself, which is quite extensive. Find out why biologists don't feel there is a problem, and then use the literature to show why they might be wrong. If they are missing something, you have to show what it is they are missing. Your bibliography will need to include around 50 sources (drawn mainly from articles and books - it looks like you've mostly referenced web pages), and you'll probably need to read at least three times that to sort through the chaff. If you're going to sow seeds of doubt on a major component of a theory that has withstood nearly 150 years of peer-review, you have to be able to back up what you're asserting. What I see on this blog is not nearly enough to pass peer-review.

Another point of concern is that if you are incorrect about the availability of relevant literature, not only will your paper be rejected, you might be considered to have engaged in academic fraud. No journal would ever accept a paper from you with such a blemish. You need to be very careful that you haven't missed anything in your search for relevant literature. Which raises a question.

Could you describe the searches you performed? In particular where you searched, and what were the criteria you used?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Looking through the IfA, there are four types of papers, two of which don't apply to what you want to do. <<<<<<

Those four types might just be suggestions -- the editors might be fairly flexible about the types of articles they will accept.

>>>>>> You need to develop your arguments. <<<<<<<

Yes, of course I am going to expand upon my summary.

>>>>> If there is not much literature that discusses the problems of co-evolution, then you'll have to study the literature on coevolution itself, which is quite extensive. <<<<<<

I don't think I need to do that -- it is really not relevant.

>>>>>> Find out why biologists don't feel there is a problem <<<<<<

It is fairly obvious why biologists don't feel there is a problem -- they don't see coevolution as essentially different from evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed general environments, e.g., air, water, and land in its various forms.

>>>>>> Could you describe the searches you performed? <<<<<<

Mostly Google searches. I use various keywords -- whatever is appropriate for what I am searching for.

I really need to get going on writing this article, though. I need to spend less time on other things.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 9:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Wayne said...

>>>>Those four types might just be suggestions -- the editors might be fairly flexible about the types of articles they will accept.<<<<

Are you willing to turn in an inferior paper on a controversial topic on the chance they "might be fairly flexible" or do you want to turn in the best paper you can write so as to maximize the probability that they accept it?

Writing a peer-reviewed paper is hard work. I'll admit, it's part of the reason I chose not to be a scientist. But if you're going to do this, don't do a half-ass job. Have pride in your work!

>>>>I don't think I need to do that -- it is really not relevant.<<<<

Your entire argument revolves around the idea that biologists are missing something when it comes to coevolution. In order to show that they are missing something, you have to show what they are doing instead.

>>>>It is fairly obvious why biologists don't feel there is a problem -- they don't see coevolution as essentially different from evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed general environments, e.g., air, water, and land in its various forms.<<<<

It is not enough to say it is obvious. You have to demonstrate that it is true. You have to show that they regard it as essentially the same. And then you have to prove that they are (or at least could be) wrong. You cannot simply assert - you have to support your arguments, andthat requires sources. Lots of sources.

>>>>Mostly Google searches. I use various keywords -- whatever is appropriate for what I am searching for. <<<<

Just plain Google? What about Google Scholar and PubMed, orthe library? Regular Google mostly turns upwebpages, which for the most part are going to be useless. What you need if you are going to write a good paper is to read the primary literature. Google Scholar is the first place I go when I want in depth knowledge on a subject. Unlike regular Google, most of what you find on Google Scholar is appropriate for peer-reviewed articles.

Okay, I think I've harped on the need for sources long enough. Do you want me to look at the summary and offer suggestions, or do you want me to wait until you have the rough draft of a section?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger Edward said...

Larry, comments like "As I said before, school systems in other states are not required -- and are not even under any particular pressure -- to adopt Texas-approved textbooks" are simply misleading. Once again, you miss the basic point: textbook publishers are under economic pressure to use these standards.

You should learn something about finance, Larry. It will help. I see that Wayne has been very patient with you, but your paper will be rejected, I can GUARANTEE that. I have submitted over a dozen papers of varying degrees of technical depth on similar topics; the standards are rigorous and they are NOT flexible as you seem to imagine.

What you have so far wouldn't even get as far as the consideration bucket - it would be filed with the trash by the preliminary reader.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> textbook publishers are under economic pressure to use these standards <<<<<<

Only in Texas.

>>>>> your paper will be rejected, I can GUARANTEE that. I have submitted over a dozen papers of varying degrees of technical depth on similar topics; the standards are rigorous and they are NOT flexible as you seem to imagine. <<<<<<

These online journals accept articles from non-scientists and so might not require the rigor expected of scientific articles in strictly scientific journals. If they think that my article is not formal enough, I will just rewrite the article.

>>>>>> What you have so far wouldn't even get as far as the consideration bucket - it would be filed with the trash by the preliminary reader. <<<<<<

As I pointed out, my articles about coevolution on this blog are already a hell of a lot better than some of the junk I have seen published in scientific journals -- and I am going to improve upon those articles.

My main problem now is finding the time to write the article -- I am so busy with other stuff.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:22:00 AM  
Blogger Michal said...

Hi, here are some other information about file formats and file extensions file-extensions.org.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 7:04:00 AM  

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