Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 Mercury Conspiracy Theory

A2: Our authors are more qualified

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A2: Our authors are more qualified

There is no objective way to measure who is “qualified” or not

Jaschik, Founder & Editor Inside Higher Ed, 9

(Scott, March 4, 2009, “The 'Black Box' of Peer Review,” http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/04/peerreview, JSkoog) Note: Míchele Lamont is a sociology professor at Harvard

As for excellence, that quality that peer review theoretically promotes, Lamont isn’t so sure it exists. It may be invoked all the time, she said in an interview, but her examination of the process suggests no way to measure it. "I think excellence means nothing,” she said, suggesting that panels be honest about the criteria they use. “I think you have to give the criteria. Typically it's originality, feasibility, and also the social and intellectual significance.” There is nothing wrong with those definitions per se, she said, but people shouldn't pretend they equate with some scientific measure of excellence, as other criteria could be used as well. The most common flaw she documents is a pattern of professors applying very personal interests to evaluating the work before them. “People define what is exciting as what speaks to their own personal interest, and their own research,” she said. Even if her book doesn’t change peer review, Lamont writes that she wants to “open the Black Box of peer review” so the scholars being evaluated have a better understanding of what happens to the applications in which they have invested so much time and hope. But she does have hope for those on the panels too. “I also want the older, established scholars -- the gate keepers -- to think hard and think again about the limits of what they are doing, particularly when they define ‘what is exciting’ as ‘what most looks like me (or my work).’ ”

AT: Peer Review

Academic communities only evaluate things that they deem to be interesting, thus forcing alternative views of science out of the spectrum of academia

Moore, professor tenure of microbiology and immunology, 6

(John, AIDS Researcher working at Cornell, 2006, “Perspective: Does peer review mean the same to the public as it does to scientists?” http://www.nature.com/nature/peerreview/debate/op5.html, JSkoog)

It's been peer reviewed, so it must be right, right? Wrong! Not everything in the peer-reviewed literature is correct. Indeed, some of it is downright bad science. Professional scientists usually know how to rate papers within their own fields of expertise (all too often very narrow ones nowadays). We realize that some journals are more stringent than others in what they will accept, and that peer-review standards can unfortunately be too flexible. A lust for profit has arguably led to the appearance of too many journals, and so it can be all too easy to find somewhere that will publish poor-quality work. The public doesn't understand this, how could it? But the term 'peer review' is often equated with 'gold standard'. Hence, the politically motivated, lazy or unscrupulous can use the peer-reviewed literature selectively, to make arguments that are seriously flawed, or even damaging to public policy. Chris Mooney, in The Republican War on Science (Basic Books, 2005), provides several examples of how this operates in the political world. Professional scientists can see through this tactic. We know that scientific truth evolves on the basis of a mounting consensus, not through an isolated paper that adopts a maverick position, even if it has been 'peer reviewed'. In contrast, politicians all too often cherry-pick the 'facts' they find most convenient to their party's agenda. And politicians are not alone. In my own field of AIDS research, a small clique of scientists and scientifically ignorant laymen promotes the bizarre view that HIV does not cause AIDS, or, in a particularly dubious variant of the genre, that HIV does not actually exist. These AIDS denialists are experts at selectively using the peer-reviewed literature to superficially bolster their positions. I think they lack the training – or if trained, the integrity – to appreciate two things that are understood by professional scientists. First, that peer-reviewed literature develops over time, so that what was legitimately uncertain 20 years ago is fully understood today. This means that citing decade-old papers and ignoring more recent ones is an unscrupulous tactic. Second, that ignoring every paper bar the one that most conveniently suits a preconceived position could be considered scientific misconduct. Similar practices can be found in other science-related areas. For example, advertisements claiming that vitamin pills can cure cancer and infectious diseases selectively cite the peer-reviewed literature.

AT: Your Authors are Crazy

Crazy” is only used for the marginalized and disrespected in intellectual communities, use of the word furthers ableist sentiments

AbbyJean, blogger for disabledfeminists.com, 10

(AbbyJean, blogger for disabledfeminists.com, May 28,2010, “Ableist Word Profile: Crazy (to describe political viewpoints or positions,” http://disabledfeminists.com/2010/05/28/ableist-word-profile-crazy-to-describe-political-viewpoints-or-positions/, JSkoog)

What I conclude from that is that the media doesn’t consistently use “crazy” and other ableist terms to refer to absurd policies or those that lack rational support, but instead reserves those terms for people outside of mainstream politics. Which in turn implies that the term is used primarily to further marginalize and dismiss people who don’t fit expectations of what a politician is or what are common or popular political arguments. To me, this is even more evidence that the implicit subtext of terming a person or policy “crazy” is “shut up and go away, or start blending in better.” Which, again, is exactly the message leveled at people with mental illness when they’re called “crazy” or “loony” or “unhinged” or any number of synonyms. This selective usage is even more reason the term “crazy” shouldn’t be used in the political context – partly because it’s a lazy out for commentators who refuse to engage with the actual policy issues or political ideas being proposed on a substantive level, and partly because it fiercely underlines and reinforces marginalization and dismissal of people with mental illness. It reminds me that when people call me “crazy,” what they really mean is “stop existing in my consciousness – either disappear or become normal.” To see progressive writers and organizations rely on the marginalization of people with mental illness to score easy points against unpopular politicians is upsetting not only because of their perpetuation of ableism, but also because it puts me in the extremely uncomfortable position of defending people like Palin and Paul against this kind of criticism.

Ableism is like racism and sexism and oppresses and marginalizes those who we label as “disabled”

Overboe, Professor at Wildfrid Laurier, 2007

(James, Professor at Wildfrid Laurier, “Chapter 2

Vitalism: Subjectivity Exceeding Racism, Sexism, and (Psychiatric) Ableism,” http://appweb.cortland.edu/ojs/index.php/Wagadu/article/viewFile/324/611, JSkoog)

In a previous life, I found myself working as a social worker at a “drop-in-centre” for people who were undergoing or had undergone psychiatric treatment. My orientation for the position, in part, consisted of being informed that there were clients with “difficult psychiatric problems.” This was my initial introduction to “Donna” (a pseudonym), an aboriginal woman who undergoes psychiatric intervention. My colleagues informed me that they were attempting to separate the ongoing negative effects of oppression experienced through colonization and patriarchy from the “real” psychiatric disorder. This approach is problematic for me because, as some one who experiences cerebral, I contend that ableism, like racism and sexism, oppresses people by labeling them as having either a physical, psychiatric, cognitive, developmental, and sensory disability. Moreover, people can be read as having a combination of disabilities. For example, my experience of cerebral palsy has been read by others as having both physical and cognitive disabilities. Yet, for the most part, anti-oppression movements and liberal discourses continue to pathologise people who are disabled, especially those who have been psychiatrized. Donna experienced oppression as a woman, as an aboriginal, and through being psychiatrized. Historically, gender (see Smith, 1990; Groneman, 1995) and race have been conflated with mental inferiority. In this way, they have been socially constructed to represent medical pathology. Anti–oppression movements may have lessened the medical pathology based on racialization or gender. However the experience of being psychiatrized continues to be pathologised as a condition requiring a cure.

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