Media News Science

Peer review: When joke papers get cited, maybe it isn’t a joke

Spread the love

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

Hey, it was probably meant as a year-end joke, in the tradition of Twelfth Night, but—as The Atlantic tells the story,

One joke study from 2007 on the energy expenditure of adolescents playing video games has been cited about 400 times since then, according to a Google Scholar estimate. In 2010 a paper called “Effect on gastric function and symptoms of drinking wine, black tea, or schnapps with a Swiss cheese fondue: randomised controlled crossover trial” that examined just how good or bad it is to drink alcohol with fondue was cited later in studies about wine and heart health, children with ADHD, and gastrointestinal gallbladder emptying. A study called “sex, aggression, and humor: responses to unicycling” was cited in 2012 as evidence for “the evolution of humor from male aggression” and appears in a book called The Male Brain.

In fact, that unicycle study wasn’t just cited by other scientists, it was picked up by the BBC for a story with the headline “Humour ‘comes from testosterone.’” And here is a good example of another issue with these parody pieces. They often fail a basic premise of comedy: Punch up, not down. Using big science words to make fun of women and those who believe in prayer, even if it’s a parody, isn’t funny, it’s sexist and elitist. And formalizing those jokes in a scientific journal such that only those intimately familiar with the schedule that journal keeps (Christmas is for comedy papers, didn’t you know?) is a nice, formalized way to exclude people.

Yes, but if they punched up, they would be dealing with naturalists and Darwinians. Not only do they not wish to brave the fight, it is not  a fight they could possibly want to be in, because they largely or totally agree with them. So they go back to punching down.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

6 Replies to “Peer review: When joke papers get cited, maybe it isn’t a joke

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    There’s also this wonderful paper on retrospective effects of prayer, which was used in a meta-analysis that purported to show that prayer is effective.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Is prayer effective? From Bob’s cite in post 1 you would think not. But actually the Theist has much evidence in his corner to argue for the effectiveness of prayer.
    The first question that needs to be asked in answering this question is, “Is reality ‘set up’ for prayer to possibly be effective?”. In other words, is reality structured in such a way that we may expect prayer might be effective? The answer to that question is yes. Reality, far from being materialistic in its basis as the atheist imagines it to be, is actually found to be information theoretic in its basis. And since prayer is basically just a ‘communication of information’, then that means effective prayer is indeed possible as far as the structure of reality itself is concerned.

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    In fact, physicists have now reduced material to quantum information. (of note: energy is completely reduced to quantum information, whereas matter is semi-completely reduced, with the caveat being that matter can be reduced to energy via e=mc2).

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original,,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1769/posts

    How Teleportation Will Work –
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.
    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....ation1.htm

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://researcher.ibm.com/view_project.php?id=2862

    In fact an entire human can, theoretically, be reduced to quantum information and teleported to another location in the universe:

    Quantum Teleportation Of A Human? – video
    https://vimeo.com/75163272

    Will Human Teleportation Ever Be Possible?
    As experiments in relocating particles advance, will we be able to say, “Beam me up, Scotty” one day soon? By Corey S. Powell|Monday, June 16, 2014
    Excerpt: Note a fascinating common thread through all these possibilities. Whether you regard yourself as a pile of atoms, a DNA sequence, a series of sensory inputs or an elaborate computer file, in all of these interpretations you are nothing but a stack of data. According to the principle of unitarity, quantum information is never lost. Put them together, and those two statements lead to a staggering corollary: At the most fundamental level, the laws of physics say you are immortal.
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....eportation

    Thus not only is information not reducible to a energy-matter basis, as is presupposed in atheistic materialism, but in actuality both energy and matter ultimately reduce to a information basis as is presupposed in Christian Theism (John1:1-4).

    But is there really anybody out there on the receiving end of our prayers? i.e. of our ‘communication of information’ in prayer?
    And again quantum mechanics reveals, far from the materialistic beliefs of atheists, that consciousness is the ‘ultimate universal reality’ that precedes what we preceive to be ‘material’ reality:,,,

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” –
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961

    Wigner was certainly no lightweight in quantum mechanics, but his deep insights continue to foster ‘a second revolution’ in quantum mechanics:

    Eugene Wigner – A Gedanken Pioneer of the Second Quantum Revolution – Anton Zeilinger – Sept. 2014
    Conclusion
    It would be fascinating to know Eugene Wigner’s reaction to the fact that the gedanken experiments he discussed (in 1963 and 1970) have not only become reality, but building on his gedanken experiments, new ideas have developed which on the one hand probe the foundations of quantum mechanics even deeper, and which on the other hand also provide the foundations to the new field of quantum information technology. All these experiments pay homage to the great insight Wigner expressed in developing these gedanken experiments and in his analyses of the foundations of quantum mechanics,
    http://epjwoc.epj.org/articles....._01010.pdf

    In fact, despite the materialists’ resistance ever since the beginning of the 20th century, quantum mechanics has consistently revealed to us that consciousness is the ‘ultimate universal reality’

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Excerpt: Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    It is also interesting to note that many studies have consistently shown the effectiveness of prayer.

    Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer and the Existence of God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Obviously, science has demonstrated in three separate studies the efficacy of Christian prayer in medical studies. There is no “scientific” (non-spiritual) explanation for the cause of the medical effects demonstrated in these studies. The only logical, but not testable, explanation is that God exists and answers the prayers of Christians.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....wIolZKZqed

    But there was one fairly recent study, conducted by atheists no doubt, that found that prayer had no effect. The study, from what I can remember of it, was ‘set up’ to fail. The participants were told exactly what to pray. A dry prayer that was prewritten. Moreover, if I recall correctly, the participants were not allowed to pray in Jesus name. There were a few other questionable things about the study that made me shake my head in disappointment.,,, One person quipped about the results of the study, ‘Atheists failed to put God in a box’.
    Yet, in the following video Candy Gunther Brown tells how she, and others, took that study to task. In fact her team did their own study. A study that, not so surprisingly, found results showing that prayer is effective. I highly recommend watching her video. She is a very engaging speaker:

    Testing Prayer: Science and Miraculous Healing – Candy Gunther Brown at Boston College – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRfLooh3ZOk

    Study Of The Therapeutic Effects Of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (PIP) On Auditory and Visual Impairments In Rural Mozambique – 2010
    CONCLUSIONS: Rural Mozambican subjects exhibited improved audition and/or visual acuity subsequent to PIP. The magnitude of measured effects exceeds that reported in previous suggestion and hypnosis studies. Future study seems warranted to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients with auditory and/or visual impairments, especially in contexts where access to conventional treatment is limited.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20686441

    Of related note, Eric Metaxas recently wrote a book which is named ‘Miracles’ which is on, you guessed it, Miracles. 🙂

    Miracles – book
    http://ericmetaxas.com/books/

    “Reason and science compels us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a child, half-asleep. It is something to which the most truly human response is some combination of terror and wonder, of ancient awe, and childhood joy.”
    Eric Metaxas – Miracles – pages 55-56

    Craig Keener also wrote a book on Miracles, (which Eric Metaxas recommended in his book as a ‘scholarly treatment’ of Miracles):

    It’s Okay to Expect a Miracle | Christianity Today – Keener
    Excerpt: I got seven eyewitness accounts of people being raised from the dead. One was my sister-in-law, Therese. I asked my mother-in-law to tell me about it, with my wife translating from one of the local languages. My mother-in-law described how Therese was bitten by a snake. By the time my mother-in-law got to her, she wasn’t breathing. No medical help was available. She strapped the child to her back and ran to a nearby village, where a friend who was an evangelist prayed for Therese. She started breathing again.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=1

    Miracles: Keener’s Reflections – video playlist
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ature=plcp
    Description: Dr. Craig Keener, author of “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” discusses in this web series some of the accounts of people being raised from the dead and people being healed of sicknesses from around the world.

    Verse

    James 4:3
    When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    And let’s not forget the biggest miracle of all this Christmas season

    Matthew 1:23 –
    Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

    Music:

    O Holy Night – Point of Grace
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gqv7V9ciso

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    I have seen most of the examples Denyse gives, and I’m sure they were put forward as part of the annual Ig Noble prize ceremony. The stated aim of the prize is to,’honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.’ They do this very well.

    As for humour and what it is permissible to laugh at: George Orwell thought humour directed at all, and every kind of authority, and centres of power was the most useful, not to mention funny; who doesn’t love mocking politicians? As religion is one the most powerful of all power centres its giggle coefficient is through the roof. A simple look at a Kirk Cameron/ Ray comfort youtube spiel leaves me in stitches. All power centres are fair game, especially those pleading special authority, with no basis or evidence to support that authority.

    “Prayer”, hmmm, in my youth I prayed to pass exams and did. I prayed for the health of my family and they remained largely healthy. I strangely prayed for my brother’s finger to grow back, this one wasn’t granted.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    There is no such thing as sexism. Just opinions right or wrong, good or evil about the a specific sex. mankind is under no moral obligation to accept the concept of sexism. Its a myth used to change society as some want to change it.
    Humour is a measure of a healthy society.
    I was surprised to learn the animated cartoons developed in old england were done to bypass censorship by the powers.
    Can we laugh at this or that today?
    i say we can’t except one will be tagged and punished.
    thats why humour in dead in our society.
    The establishment, as of right now, prohibits being made fun of in its important conclusions.
    Unless a clever person comes along and busts the dam.
    I don’t think its me.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Podcast – “Billions of Missing Links: The Cockroach”
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_44-08_00
    A short excerpt of the book Billions of Missing Links that examines the extraordinary design of the cockroach, and how nearly everything about it defies the theory of evolution.

Leave a Reply