Daily Archives: March 10, 2008

Mythical Underdogs and the Role of Peer Reviewing

Michael White over on the Scientific Blogging Site posted an article in which he exposes the largely mythical nature of the narrative of the scientific underdog repressed by an entrenched scientific establishment. I urge people to read his article but if you are too pressed for time, I’ll quote White on what that narrative precisely consists of. I am quoting White but keep in mind the context: White is critical of this narrative.

The narrative goes like this:

1. The famous, brilliant scientist So-and-so hypothesized that X was true.

2. X, forever after, became dogma among scientists, simply by virtue of the brilliance and fame of Dr. So-and-so.

3. This dogmatic assent continues unchallenged until an intrepid, underdog scientist comes forward with a dramatic new theory, completely overturning X, in spite of sustained, hostile opposition by the dogmatic scientific establishment.

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