In Which I Throw Down   3 comments

Reading a Bad Astronomer post and the associated comment thread, I started to get really grumpy. Then I got more grumpy. Then I got mad. So I commented there, but I’m going to reproduce my comment here at home for any passerby to see, slightly edited.


People, if you are going to debate science, you must remember the absolutely cardinal rule of science, so basic that it’s turned into a joke in the movie “Real Genius”

“Never… no… Always… remember to cite your references”

Please do not tell me that there are peer-reviewed journal articles supporting your position. This is meaningless, it’s the same horrible behavior I see on other “hot button” science issues on various other sites. Someone may have told you this. You might have read it somewhere. Maybe you actually believe it is true.

I believe it not. I believe your organization’s claim that these papers exist also not in the slightest. Unless I *know* that your organization has a well-established history of only referencing peer-reviewed science (and there are a very, very limited number of organizations that fall under this umbrella). Best to cite those too, just to be safe. Although, to be honest, this should be a fantastically easy task as any credible organization that has a real science position on a public policy issue *will provide those references* anyway. Cut n’ paste, people, it’s not so hard.

It’s like failing to put your ingredients list on your pre-packaged food -> you don’t get to sell it to me, I’m not buying it. In fact, from a scientific standpoint, your pre-packaged food gets halted at the distribution center and doesn’t make it into the marketplace, it fails the basic rules.

And in all honesty, the internet would be a better place if people were forced to do basic goddamn research before pretending they had.


Sorry, I’ve seen too much of this lately and it’s making me grumpy. There is a simple method of providing a reference. There are several different style manuals available. MLA is acceptable. If you cannot provide a reference, please do not include the nebulous possible existence of one as a part of your *scientific argument*.

Homie don’t play that.

Posted May 13, 2008 by padraic2112 in science, web sites

3 responses to “In Which I Throw Down

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  1. What, you mean Wikipedia doesn’t count?

    Dude, it bugs me too, and I don’t read very many scientific arguments.

  2. Wikipedia counts as a reference. Any old web site counts as a reference. You can cite a conference paper; that’s peer-reviewed, but it’s not a journal paper. You can use someone’s research that hasn’t been published somewhere as a reference. You can use a technical report as a reference. You can use a research study published by a corporation or a working group as a reference.


    You don’t get to call them “peer-reviewed journal articles”. Peer-reviewed journal papers are a particular class of animal.

  3. Pingback: Follow Up To Vegetable « Pat’s Daily Grind

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