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Sunday, December 5, 2010

'Debunker' Pat Curley: the King of Scientific Peer-review

One of the peer-reviewers of the "Active Thermitic Material" paper has been identified as Prof. David L. Griscom. The current situation is sumerized by "Sitting-Bull" on 911blogger.com:
It took Prof. Griscom 4 long years to become convinced of 9/11 truth. Science did it. And: Some "Debunkers" already claim he was chosen because he was a "truther". That's totally bogus. He did not play a vocal or any role in the 9/11 truth movement prior 2007/2008, Bentham surely did not find his rare blog entries on the issue for selecting him, but did search their database for valuable scientific referees in the field of research with good experience- no wonder they found Prof. Griscom.
Griscom notes that he is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has "refereed at least 600, and possibly as many as 1000, manuscripts" and was himself published twelve times in the American Institute of Physics’ Journal of Chemical Physics.

Pat Curley of the Screw Loose Change states that "even the Troofers have their limits" and notes that 911 Blogger user "Loose Nuke" (who I have great respect for) raises the question of whether Jones' recommended Griscom as a reviewer. Pat ignores the fact that Loose Nuke later concurs that "Griscom's credentials establish him as qualified to review" the paper and instead focuses on his perception that Jones intentionally dodged the question about recommendation. This seems unlikely being that authors are allowed to suggest referees as was demonstrated by a study cited by "Swing Dangler" in the comments. This study entitled "Differences in Review Quality and Recommendations for Publication Between Peer Reviewers Suggested by Authors or by Editors" concludes:
Author-and editor-suggested reviewers did not differ in the quality of their reviews, but author-suggested reviewers tended to make more favorable recommendations for publication. Editors can be confident that reviewers suggested by authors will complete adequate reviews of manuscripts, but should be cautious about relying on their recommendations for publication.
So, considering Griscom's qualifications, the results of this study, and the fact we were informed by one of the paper's author's, Gregg Roberts, that, "The other reviewer was not a truther. And that reviewer provided a much less rigorous review then did Griscom - while also recommending publication if the review points were dealt with adequately," it is clear that the review was legitimate and thus Jones would not need to hide if he recommended Griscom. Jones very well could have just fired back a response to Loose Nuke and in doing so failed to adequately address one question asked.

Further evidence that Jones was not dodging the question is demonstrated by the fact that Loose Nuke also asked, "Why was David Griscom thanked in the Active Thermitic Acknowledgements?" Jones did not answer this question in the comments, but did essentially answer it on the Visibility 9/11 podcast at the time of publication:
Usually peer-review is done completely anonymously, but it is possible for a reviewer to identify himself. I've seen that done before. (Note: Jones, has authored or co-authored over forty peer reviewed publications, including three papers for which he was first author in the renowned journal NATURE) In this case one of the reviewers identified himself as a physics professor, a Fellow of the American Physical Society... well credentialed... I checked... like 80 peer-reviewed papers of his own.
So it is no secret or problem that Jones was made aware Griscom had been selected as a reviewer prior to publication.

Furthermore, Jones stated in the comments that "BYU scientists did a review of the paper" that led to changes in the report. Jones previously revealed in comments on another post that the paper was "peer-reviewed by the Physics dept. chair at BYU... because two of the authors are from this dept." Elsewhere he revealed that he was told by the chairman that the paper "was sound scientific research and that he was now persuaded that explosives/pyrotechnics were involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11."



Then we have chemical engineer Mark Basile, who was not involved in the paper, recently stating on video that he has unequivocally confirmed its findings and even obtained a completely independent sample of dust from a NYC museum.



French researcher Frédéric Henry-Couannier also confirmed several aspects of the experiments. And it was reported by a Danish media outlet that professor of inorganic chemistry Jens Ulstrup, of the Technical University of Denmark, "felt that the assessments were made on the basis of 'very suitable' tests by current standards."
Pat ignores all of that though, because Griscom is a "sack of fecal matter... Troofer moron... AAAS-hole... nut" who has theorized that the planes on 9/11 were swapped out for drones and that the passengers were in on it and are still alive.
Gregg Roberts responds:
Many scientists who have done good work in their field have strange beliefs that have nothing to do with the quality of their scientific work. Using Griscom's analysis of what happened to the passengers and generalizing from that to whether he provided a tough, accurate, technical review of the red/gray chips paper, is an unjustified leap.

All this trash talk is just a way to avoid dealing with what the paper says. Even the editor-in-chief who perversely resigned in protest rather than firing the editor who allegedly published the paper behind her back didn't criticize the paper itself.
Debunking the Debunkers blog contributor Steve Weathers had this to say:
Did Pat just imply that the individuals in the peer-review process favoured the article being published when there was some obvious flaw to the paper that should have prevented publication? Where is the error? Has he cited a peer reviewed response to the material presented? Do the existing peer-reviewers have less of an understanding about the science involved here than Mr Pat Curley? If the fault is so obvious, where is the peer reviewed criticism?
Here is how Pat's peer-review of the paper would have gone.
Pat:
I think what we are looking at here is just "bits of paint and rust." Also, you say here that thermite burns at 400-450°C., but it actually burns much hotter.
Reply from authors:
First off, there is no kind of paint in existence capable of producing a high-temperature chemical reaction as evinced by the fact that the chips produce molten iron spheres. Secondly, paint from the WTC has a different chemical composition. Finally, we soaked the chips in a paint solvent for 55 hours and they remained intact.
In regard to your second point, we were saying that 400-450°C is the temperature that TRIGGERS the reaction. We have forwarded your stunning incomprehension of the material to the editor and expect them to promptly find a more qualified referee.
Joseph Nobles over at the "debunking" site ae911truth.info states, "And yet Griscom says that he couldn’t find anything to criticize about the ATM paper! 12 notes of suggestions he has that makes Harrit, et al. sweat and strain to meet (according to Jones), but none of these are criticisms?"

Nice reading comprehension there Joey. What Griscom actually said was that he "found absolutely nothing to criticize in the final version of the Harrit et al. paper!"
You know, the final version they produced after they made the changes based on his review!

Nothing has changed since Steven Jones told "debunkers" to Put up or Shut up on April 7, 2009:
Here's what you need to know (especially if you are not a scientist): UNLESS AN OBJECTOR ACTUALLY PUBLISHES HIS OR HER OBJECTION IN A PEER-REVIEWED ESTABLISHED JOURNAL (yes that would include Bentham Scientific journals), THEN THE OBJECTION IS NOT CONSIDERED SERIOUS IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY. YOU SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT NON-PUBLISHED OBJECTIONS EITHER.

So how do you, as a non-scientist, discern whether the arguments are valid or not? You should first ask, "is the objection PUBLISHED in an ESTABLISHED PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL?" If not, you can and should say -- "I will wait to see this formally published in a refereed scientific journal. Until then, the published peer-reviewed work by Harrit et al. stands...
IF it is so easy to publish in Bentham Scientific journals, or if these are "vanity publications" (note: there is no factual basis for these charges) -- then why don't the objectors write up their objections and get them peer-reviewed and published?? The fact is, it is not easy, as serious objectors will find out.
Related Info:

Prof. David L. Griscom: "Pay for Publish" without Peer Review is False!
Jones' Dust Analysis - Common Arguments Addressed
Why the Harrit Nano-thermite paper has not yet been debunked - "peer review"