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A huge mountain made out of a molehill

Posted by dwwitzell on 24 Mar 2016 at 02:34 GMT

The furor over the single mention of the word Creator in this paper is shocking! A huge mountain made out of a molehill. At best, the reactions show prejudicial bias. At worst, it can be considered intolerant and bigoted. I am thoroughly disgusted at the anti-scientific witch hunt that has taken place here! Retraction of the paper was bad enough, because it was not done for scientific reasons! If it was, you would have focused on the methodology, the data, and the conclusions, citing specific methodological flaws, or specific flaws in the data or conclusions, rather than ignore the science and zero in on the use of one word that by no means reflected the focus of the paper.

But firing the reviewing editor was not only total overkill, it looks vindictive, petty, and spiteful! He appears to have focused on the paper itself during his review, not allowing the one-time use of one word to distract him from the meat of the paper, and he did not deserve to be fired over his approval of this study. All you critics should have behaved in a more rational, open-minded, and tolerant way, and let the science presented speak for itself, rather than get your knickers in a knot because the paper contained one word you obviously couldn't stomach. You certainly did your scientific reputations no favours by over-reacting to it. And by insisting on the censorship of papers that use terms that offend your personal biases, you have transformed the term "peer review" from a term connoting quality control in scientific publications to a political term more suggestive of "peer pressure," which guarantees suppression of both innovative science and of scientists that deviate even slightly from the status quo. You have also undermined science itself, because true science is supposed to be dictated by the data. It is supposed to be free of personal bias and censorship. Innovative, groundbreaking discoveries don't come from those committed to the status quo and who practice and insist on consensus science. They come from those able and willing to think outside the box and to follow wherever the science leads. But who will be willing to practice science this way as long as the old school dinosaurs have the power to threaten their careers?

By succumbing to hostile peer pressure and choosing to engage in a witch hunt, PLOS has revealed itself to be a journal prepared to do no more than merely rubber stamp the status quo, rather than one that fairly evaluates the evidence and boldly goes wherever it leads, no matter what. So it seems that in future, we need not expect much in the way of cutting edge, revolutionary new discoveries being first revealed in PLOS, as long as personal bias reigns supreme!

No competing interests declared.