Friday, March 11, 2011

New papers and the continuing debate over the JoC.

By Duane Hamacher

Our group has recently published two papers:

Hamacher, D.W. & Norris, R.P. (2011), "Bridging the Gap" through Australian Cultural Astronomy.  Archaeoastronomy & Ethnoastronomy: building bridges between cultures, Proceedings of the IAU Symposium No. 278, edited by Clive Ruggles.

Hamacher, D.W. (2011), Meteoritics and cosmology among the Aboriginal cultures of Central AustraliaJournal of Cosmology 13: in press. 

In the previous post, I had discussed my uneasiness with the Journal of Cosmology.  The editor of the archaeoastronomy component, J. McKim Malville, has no doubt kept the standards for the archaeoastronomy issues very high.  However, the same issue contains an article by Rhawn Joseph in which he equates scientists who support the Big Bang "myth" to Bible-thumping creationists.  Claiming in the preface that "The overarching message is this work is upsetting and should be censored, removed, and banned. Therefore, you have been warned: This article contains information which some people find threatening and upsetting" is very much like the ranting I've heard from 9/11 and climate change deniers, moon landing "hoaxers", and UFO conspiracy theorists.  Making inflammatory comments supporting a fringe point-of-view and then claiming that the article contains information scientists "find threatening and upsetting" when the scientific community calls BS is just silly.  And I'm interested to learn more about the "Brain Research Laboratory, Northern California".  

As for the Hoover study claiming to have found fossilized microbes in meteorites, the journal claims that "Only a few crackpots and charlatans have denounced the Hoover study."  Shouting and denouncing people who don't agree with you as "crackpots" is not professional or proper peer-review.  Of course people aren't going to agree, and debate and constructive criticism is what leads us to the truth (and it doesn't really matter if you came from Harvard, MIT, NASA, or Podunk State University - the evidence should speak for itself if it is of high quality).  

I also took offense to negative comments from Gabriel Beck about skeptic and astronomer Phil Plait and his "torches and pitchforks" followers regarding the possible Jovian planet in the outer fringes of the solar system, especially considering Plait's review was very kind and fair.  Personal attacks and jabs in a peer-reviewed journal are very unprofessional, regardless.

At any rate, I'll leave my paper in the journal and put my faith in Kim, who I know is very good at what he does and maintains a high standard.

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