Peer review has troubled Harmonia Philosophica for some time now. We live in a society which accepts the mainstream and condemns anything beyond it with a great ease. An idea, no matter how genious or clever, it will never be published on a "high profile" scientific magazine only because... well Because!
As simple as that.
John William Strutt (also know as Baron Rayleigh) made a research related to "science heretics" in the 19th centrury. He was astounded to discover that John James Waterston had sent a paper to the Royal Academy containing a kinetic theory of gases LONG BEFORE Joule, Clausius and Maxwell... The paper was never published. The two referees who read it found it incompehensible and "difficult to accept as a valid theory". (source: "Αλλοπαρμένες μεγαλοφυΐες", εκδόσεις Τραυλός, σ. 178 - Greek version of "Il Genio Incompreso", Federico Di Trocchio) Well, we know now that they were wrong. But the author was destroyed by that rejection back then. And not only that: because he did not have a copy of the article and because the rejected paper was never sent back to him, he was also unable to send it for publishing elsewhere!
One could say that: OK, science has lost some years of progress.
The theory was discovered after all.
But this is not the real problem you see. The real problem is that "cranks" like Waterston can really make a difference in the "cold bored scientific community" which only cares for the verification of what is "known" at the time. Geniouses are always a type of "crank". Maybe this is why Einstein supported Velikovsky who despite him being a bit... "weird" did make some astounding predictions regarding magnetic fields in the Universe and the role of planet/asteroid collisions in the cosmos (see Cosmos Without Gravitation, Worlds in Collision).
Too much for you? Well, maybe then we think of "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter". Would that be... "better" and more... "scientific" ?!? Why? Just because the "Community" told you so?
The next time you hear about a "crazy" man speculating some "weird" theory just think: is this theory rejected based on evidence and the proper reasons? Or just based on the authenticity of someone else?
You would be surprised on how many times the answer is the latter...
Newton himself thought his idea of an invisible force field which expanded throughout the whole Universe and was the cause for an instantaneous force, was "so great an absurdity that, I believe, no man who has in philosophic matters a competent faculty of thinking could ever fall into it". (see The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics, by Richard S. Westfall. Cambridge University Press. 1978) And who can really say that the theory which discarded Newton's gravity was "logical"? How logical is thinking of the Theory of Realativity? And how logical are the conclusions of the other theory of the time, Quantum Mechanics?!? How "scientific" is to think of things being two opposites at the same time?
After all, it was Niels Bohr who said "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct"...
PS. Douglas P. Peters and Stephen J. Ceci once conducted an interesting experiment: they took 12 scientific papers which were already published in known scientific magazines, re-typed them and changed the names of the scientists with other unknown ones. They then sent the same articles for publication to the same magazines. The result? Only in two cases did the editors realize that these articles were already published. In all other cases, the articles were rejected due to "serious methodological errors" they contained... Speaks for it self...
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