I have followed this evolving thread with a little dismay.
The point surely is not whether Cremo is right or wrong, and I have no doubt
in my own mind that he is pretty much wrong, but whether he is able to state
his views freely, and to subject them to peer review.
Publication in BAR ensures that, at least.
There is an argument that views which are "beyond the pale" should not be
given houseroom in any serious publication, because such would give them a
false accreditation. I understand the point, but reject it. In my opinion it
is analogous to the banning of the broadcasting of the words of IRA
spokespeople by the Thatcher government. The suppression of such thoughts,
ideas and words simply lends them a sense of glamour, and prevents rational
rebuttal, and stops the rest of us from realising precisely what idiocy, and
in the case of terrorists what evil, these people are propounding.
Ideas are always best aired, examined, and if wrong shot down in flames.
Publication in a serious arena where the offending article can be examined
and refuted seems to be the best way of stopping silly ideas spreading.
Even if you despise everything Cremo says you should fight to the death for
his right to say it. Not a thought for which I take original credit - but
one by which I try to live.
From: Doug Weller <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 12 December 2001 10:15
Subject: Re: BAR going down the drain?
>On Wed, 12 Dec 2001 09:23:06 +1200, Tom Higham <thomas.higham@ARCHAEOLOGY-
>>Hang on a second, I don't know what Cremo's paper is about or what he
>>says in it, but surely the person or people you should be criticising
>>are the editors of the proceedings, not the publishers (BAR). The
>>convenors of the conference gave him a slot to talk in. I don't know
>>what he talked about or what he is writing up in this proceedings but
>>presumably it will be refereed by someone and if it is criticised in
>>peer review or if there are major scientific flaws with the paper
>>then it will presumably be rejected for publication unless
>>significantly modified. BAR publish the proceedings of the conference
>>from the editors of the proceedings, they don't edit the papers
>>themselves and publish.
>Perhaps BAR takes no responsibility of the contents of its publications, I
>don't recall. But you appear now to be saying that if it's in BAR, it will
>have passed peer review. If that is the case, there is something very
>strange going on. Did you look at the newsletter this came from? And the
>rest of his web site? Should we just ignore this?
>I take the point that it was part of the proceedings. Maybe there will be a
>critique of Cremo included, but I really don't think we should simply let