Friday, November 12, 2010

Wikiality, Academic Peer-Review and Socially Determined Truth

In a comment to my previous blog post, Stephen Diamond points to an article with a similar view.

That article is a mix of the superficially true and the deeply fatuous. Consider,

> But Wikipedia is no encyclopedia

as if being an encyclopedia were a good thing! An encyclopedia is by definition a collection of bourgeois liberal prejudices. Hardly an unvarnished Good Thing.

The Encyclopedia Britannica in particular is noted for allowing censorship of critiques of Christianity, its theology and its mythos by "anonymous" editors. This was simultaneous to its refusal to get into the 20th century by discussing feminism and the women's movement.

The same thing with academic "peer-review". As if academia held any kinds of answers. It's not like being less stupid than totally stupid were some kind of recommendation. And peer review! For fuck's sake, who the fuck believes in that shit anymore?

It's an artificial system designed to stall and hold up and blunt progress so as to preserve academics' reputations by putting them in positions of power over any potential usurpers. Incidentally, that paper is the ultimate production of the system it scorns - completely fucking useless because impenetrable, verbose, obsolete and mired in the past. 

Let me be explicit: any system that does not concern itself with directly determining and measuring truth but relies on symbols and artifacts will FAIL to determine truth. It is that fucking simple.

Wikipedia as a system aims to measure popularity. Peer-review aims to measure inoffensiveness (remember that results which undermine the validity of thousands of previously published results are frequently unpublishable). And BOTH of them measure groupthink. Absolutely none of these things have jack fuck all to do with the truth.

I am reminded of these retards on First Monday who set out to determine whether specialist researchers were more productive than generalist researchers, despite knowing that multidisciplinary teams are vastly more insightful than unidisciplinary teams. They measured something alright, they confirmed their bias towards specialists, they even "proved" it. There was just the niggling assumption in their data collection that all researchers had to provide "quality" papers.

So I was told by one of the authors of that paper that if a generalist were ostracized by the crowd of specialists then fuck im. Even though the generalist would be vastly more insightful and useful. Because he didn't provide the "quolity" of being accepted by his much more numerous inferiors, he couldn't possibly matter. Fucking retards. Yet THEY got published in a journal while my half-page (not even derogatory) incisive criticism gets dismissed entirely.

Because what I wrote was "unpublishable". Because I didn't "measure" anything and just provided a shotgun blast right through their interpretation of their data and inverted all of their conclusions. Thus proving that their data meant nothing since it was incapable of discriminating between diametrically opposed theories. Yeah, apparently it's just not the done thing for a non-academic to totally ruin an academic's work. I'm supposed to be inferior after all!

Peer review is just a mechanism for academics to secure their jobs and promotions. It has fuck-all to do with the truth, or with science, or with knowledge, or with progress. And never, ever forget that academics are never interested in the truth. They are interested only in their jobs. If you seriously doubt this for a single moment, you have only to reflect on the ridiculous field that is "climate science". A "field" full of garbage, anti-science, overt data manipulation, blatant money-grubbing and political activism (an activity that is intrinsically anti-science).

An intellectual is someone interested in ideas. Absolutely nothing in that description implies they are interested in true ideas. A good example is medieval Scholasticism. A more esoteric example is classical Sophism - gurus advising aspiring lawyers on how to win trials by sounding good.

So now what?

To my knowledge there exists not a single social system on the face of the planet, or even all of human history, designed to detect and advance truth. Advancing jobs? Yes. Detecting [and promoting] false authority? Oh yes. An awful lot of effort is wasted on establishing and furthering power hierarchies. The so-called "scientific method" doesn't exist anymore than the so-called "Moore's Law" - a fatuous mirage designed to lull the stupid and credulous. Even so-called "science" either doesn't serve truth (Kuhn) or doesn't have a process (Feyerabend) according to the more realistic, less masturbatory researchers.

I'm going to pull a Fermat and say that I know how to design such a social system but I'm too fucking lazy to write it out. Anyone who's read this blog will be able to guess it relies on systematically detecting and segregating people of fundamentally different cognitive abilities, and making sure the analytic-synthesists are on top while the magical thinkers are permitted membership only on sufferance. Okay, I guess this isn't a Fermat since it's not empty boasting - it's fairly trivial to design the requirements for software technology to support the self-segregation of such a community if you understand the concepts that determine the segregation.

Actually, I'm also going to give away that it depends on lotteries and juries (not judges or lawyers or fascists). You know, it's not like this is even remotely fucking new. Human beings have been building complex societies for thousands of years, for hundreds of fucking generations. So why the fuck, why the FUCK, does fascism and hierarchy always get fucking reinvented?! Why the fuck do magical thinking moronic assholes always reach for fascism as the first, last and only possible political solution?! For grief's sake but do a lot of people simply not deserve to live.

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