Hot garbage

A blogger who smirkingly appropriated fraudster Stephen Jay Gould’s title manages to lie twice right there in the title of his post: “Paper is rejected twice: Because it was hot garbage”. If by rejected he means “accepted and then un-published without explanation or due process” — well then, we know we’re dealing with a reliable narrator. We had previously argued that the paper should be judged on its mathematical, not biological merits: it is possible, in principle, for a brilliant mathematical contribution to be worthless from the point of view of biology. Brilliant or not, the paper has prompted a vigorous discussion among leading mathematicians — which, ipso facto, would seem to indicate its mathematical interest. But Igor Rivin’s carefully sourced post demonstrates that the paper is also of interest to evolutionary biology, Gould-wannabes notwithstanding.

Speaking of hot garbage, a paper published in the prestigious PNAS in 2004 claimed to mathematically have proved that “diversity trumps ability”. Readers of this blog will recognize a steaming pile when they step into one, but the mathematician Abigail Thompson had pre-empted us, having stomped this turd into the ground back in 2014. Among her conclusions: “the paper is seen to have essential and irreparable errors”.  Even Queen Izabella was forced to concede that “Thompson is not unfair in her mathematical analysis” — but not without fretting that somehow debunking false mathematical claims will adversely affect women. To our knowledge, the junky paper has not been retracted or un-published — at least, nothing on its PNAS page indicates that this might be the case.

For those keeping score, it would appear that a certified garbage paper supporting the SJW dogma will continue to be electronically hosted on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website without so much an acknowledgement of its “essential and irreparable errors” (much less a retraction), while a solid, interesting mathematical contribution is un-published, in gross violation of all academic standards, simply because it offends PC sensibilities. These incidents have all the trappings of a cultural, political war and bear very little resemblance to rational academic debate. And if this is a war, it behooves our side to treat it as one.


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