Cleaning the Augean stables (Part I)

24th November 2022

Peer-review: Time to get rid of it

‘There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature citation too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print.’ Drummond Rennie.

Somewhat damning?

It supports my considered opinion that medical research died decades ago. It is now populated by the undead to become, what could best be called, ‘Zombie science’. Or, possibly, the walking dead.

I would not be the first to think this. In truth, I nicked the term. Here is the abstract of a paper by Bruce Charlton in the Journal ‘Medical Hypotheses.’ It was written in 2008:

Zombie science: a sinister consequence of evaluating scientific theories purely on the basis of enlightened self-interest.’

‘Although the classical ideal is that scientific theories are evaluated by a careful teasing-out of their internal logic and external implications, and checking whether these deductions and predictions are in-line-with old and new observations; the fact that so many vague, dumb or incoherent scientific theories are apparently believed by so many scientists for so many years is suggestive that this ideal does not necessarily reflect real world practice.

In the real world it looks more like most scientists are quite willing to pursue wrong ideas for so long as they are rewarded with a better chance of achieving more grants, publications and status. The classic account has it that bogus theories should readily be demolished by sceptical (or jealous) competitor scientists.

However, in practice even the most conclusive ‘hatchet jobs’ may fail to kill, or even weaken, phoney hypotheses when they are backed-up with sufficient economic muscle in the form of lavish and sustained funding. And when a branch of science based on phoney theories serves a useful but non-scientific purpose, it may be kept-going indefinitely by continuous transfusions of cash from those whose interests it serves.

If this happens, real science expires and a ‘zombie science’ evolves. Zombie science is science that is dead but will not lie down. It keeps twitching and lumbering around so that (from a distance, and with your eyes half-closed) zombie science looks much like the real thing.

But in fact the zombie has no life of its own; it is animated and moved only by the incessant pumping of funds. If zombie science is not scientifically-useable–what is its function? In a nutshell, zombie science is supported because it is useful propaganda to be deployed in arenas such as political rhetoric, public administration, management, public relations, marketing and the mass media generally. It persuades, it constructs taboos, it buttresses some kind of rhetorical attempt to shape mass opinion.

Indeed, zombie science often comes across in the mass media as being more plausible than real science; and it is precisely the superficial face-plausibility which is the sole and sufficient purpose of zombie science.’ 1

Unfortunately, I can only provide you with a reference to the abstract. Because, in what I consider a majestic, universe spanning irony, the full article sits behind a paywall. Nowadays most medical papers are kept safe from the public, or the amateur researchers, or anyone else who is not a millionaire. They can only be viewed by those who have access via their university – usually. I call it ‘censorship by inability to pay.’

You cannot even read medical research that will have been funded by your taxes, or someone else’s taxes in another country. Instead, it sits in a virtual room, secured behind the locked-doors of ‘pay per view.’ Which represents another twitching limb of zombie science. It senses money and reaches out blindly to grab it, with dead, bony fingers. ‘My precious.

Going back a couple of steps. Who is this Bruce Charlton of whom you speak? Well, he used to edit the journal Medical Hypotheses. But he made the error of publishing an article highly critical of the mainstream narrative on HIV. The article in question contained this statement. ‘There is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS.’ Inevitably, a major outcry took place. Glasses of Dom Perignon slipped from chubby, quivering fingers. Foie gras was left uneaten, that and the guinea fowl.

Many will strongly believe, that this statement, and the entire article, must be wrong, and should never have been published. But I would contend that this is absolutely not the point. The point is that anyone who believes articles should not be published because they are ‘clearly wrong’ needs to be gently led away from the world of science. Then booted out of the door and told, in no uncertain terms, to get out and stay out. Until they learn the error of their ways.

‘In science, the primary duty of ideas is to be useful and interesting even more than to be true.’ Wilfred Trotter.

What happened next was depressingly predictable. Elsevier, the publishers of Medical Hypotheses, did exactly what you would expect of the walking dead. They did not defend the right of the editor – of a journal titled ‘Medical Hypotheses’ – to publish contentious articles. They panicked, then piled the blame on Bruce Charlton.

After receiving a raft of complaints, Elsevier had the article peer reviewed under the oversight of editors from The Lancet. Following the peer review, the article, and another by Marco Ruggiero of the University of Florence in Italy, was withdrawn and a reform of the journal was mooted.

“They were withdrawn because of concerns expressed by the scientific community about the quality of the articles, and our concern that the papers could potentially be damaging to global public health,” the publisher said in a statement.’ 2

 My favourite comment is below:

‘This journal has published ‘hypotheses’ that are regrettable… “I do not think that the medical community will lose anything if the journal does not continue in its current form.’

And if you want to find a more Stalinist, Big Brother(ist), and frankly sinister comment than the final one, you will need to travel far. ‘Regrettable’ … a word most commonly used by the evil baddie in a James Bond movie. Just before feeding his underling to the sharks waiting below.

Evil bad guy:           ‘Your actions, I am afraid, are regrettable.’ Presses button.

Underling:                ‘Aaaarrrgggh….’ Chomp, thrashing, blood.

And lo it came to pass that Bruce Charlton was fired. Then, in an even more majestic, metaverse spanning irony, Elsevier decreed that the journal Medical Hypotheses must become peer-reviewed. Bruce Charlton had vehemently disagreed to this – another reason why he was fired.

Yes, a journal dedicated to publishing new scientific thinking was to be peer-reviewed. But who could they choose to carry out such a task? All those ‘peers’ who just happened to have previously published the exact same new hypotheses – never published before. A clever trick you may think.

Of course, they do not mean that. What they mean is that established figures within the field should be chosen to do the hatchet job … sorry, peer-review. The very people who would suffer the greatest reputational (and financial) damage, if their established views were to be successfully overturned. Now let me think about the likely outcome of any such review … for approximately one picosecond.

The simple fact is that peer-review has become a slaughtering field for new ideas, and new hypotheses. It is the perfect place to send a timid new-born hypothesis blinking into the sunlight. I visualise a David Attenborough documentary. The bit where a baby wildebeest plops to the ground, under the baleful watching gaze of a pack of hyenas. You know what happens next. It ain’t pretty.

Do you think my view of peer-review is a bit over the top, a wild conspiracy theory of some kind? Well, here is what Richard Horton, long-time editor of the Lancet, has to say of peer-review.

‘The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.’

Or this quote from Richard Smith, discussing Drummond Rennie:

‘If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market,’ says Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of the Journal Of the American Medical Association and intellectual father of the international congresses of peer review that have been held every four years since 1989. Peer review would not get onto the market because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flaws. 3  

Listen guys, sorry to disillusion you, but peer-review was never meant to push forward the boundaries of scientific research. It was primarily designed to keep the top guys at the top, and squash anyone with dissenting views. You think not? You think it has been proven to be effective?

‘Multiple studies have shown how if several authors are asked to review a paper, their agreement on whether it should be published is little higher than would be expected by chance. A study in Brain evaluated reviews sent to two neuroscience journals and to two neuroscience meetings. The journals each used two reviewers, but one of the meetings used 16 reviewers while the other used 14. With one of the journals the agreement among the journals was no better than chance while with the other it was slightly higher. For the meetings the variance in the decision to publish was 80 to 90% accounted for by the difference in opinions of the reviewers and only 10 to 20% by the content of the abstract submitted.’4

And yes, since you ask, I have been asked to peer-review papers. I sent one off recently. Hypocrite? Well, hypocrisy makes the world go around. In my defence I believe it’s a good idea for me to recommend that a ‘contentious’ paper on LDL gets published. Otherwise, my sworn enemies get to clamp it within their pitiless jaws and crush it to death. Why do you suppose I get sent papers from time to time? Because the editor knows exactly what I think, and wants the paper published. Hypocrisy! Why, yes.

In reality, peer-review is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. All journal editors know it’s bollocks, most reviewers know it’s bollocks. But it suits everyone to pretend that the ‘all hallowed’ peer-review cleaves the sword of truth in a mighty fist, protecting us all from bad science.

Does it? Just to give you one recent example where you can replace the words ‘peer-review’, with the words ‘chocolate teapot’ I refer you back to the world of COVID19. Where one, now infamous paper, passed straight through the editorial team, peer-review, and every other check and balance, to find itself published in the Lancet, no less. Even though it rested on completely made-up data:

‘The Lancet will alter its peer review process following the retraction of a paper that cited suspect data linking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine to increased COVID-19 deaths.

In the future, both peer reviewers and authors will need to provide statements giving assurances on the integrity of data and methods in the paper, the journal’s editor Richard Horton told POLITICO.

“We’re going to ask our reviewers more directly, whether they think there are any issues of research integrity in the paper,” he said. This stipulation will apply to every paper submitted to the journal.

“If the answer to that question is yes, that’s the moment where we trigger some kind of data review,” he added.

These changes to the eminent U.K. journal’s peer review policies are a direct result of a paper that used data from the U.S.-based firm Surgisphere, purporting to be from around 700 hospitals in six continents. But as questions emerged over the study, Surgisphere refused to allow a review of its dataset.

It wasn’t just the Lancet paper that had used data from Surgisphere. The New England Journal of Medicine had used the data for a paper.

The paper was retracted at the request of three of its four authors. They claimed that they couldn’t see the raw data because the fourth author — Sapan Desai, the CEO of Surgisphere — refused to hand it over. But the fact that the co-authors hadn’t seen the raw data pre-publication also raised questions for many readers.’ 5

Yes, indeed, the great and mighty Lancet published a paper based on completely fabricated research. Do you think Horton’s sticking plaster solution is going to have the slightest effect? “We’re going to ask our reviewers more directly, whether they think there are any issues of research integrity in the paper.

Yup, that’ll sort everything out, no doubt about it. No … doubt … about … it. Ask a few peer-reviewers to accuse their peers of potential research fraud. I can see no problem with doing that, at all. I can just imagine the frosty silence that will ensue the next time the author and peer-reviewer meet up.

Peer-reviewer:        ‘You’re a liar.’

Researcher:             ‘No, you’re a bloody liar.’

Hands up those who think that Richard Horton was simply attempting to deflect criticism away from himself, towards the peer-reviewers. ‘It’s not my fault, it was the peer-reviewers. They made me do it.’ Boo hoo. Poor little you.

Some may believe (as would I dear reader) that this utterly fraudulent load of crap sailed through editorial control, and the peer-review process, because it was attacking the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID19. Claiming that it killed people. Of course, this was very much the party line at the time. Still is. [Not getting into that debate here].

However, I know, and you know, and everybody knows – although those at the top of this particular game would deny it vehemently – that if the authors had claimed the opposite well then. Well then… well then, their research paper would have been scrutinised to within an inch of its life, then rejected. On whatever grounds could possibly be found. A semi;colon in the wrong place. ‘Off with their heads.’

Peer-review. Yes, peer-review… a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding.

Max Plank was the man who published Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Much against forceful dismissals by his peers it must be said. Einstein’s theory was, at the time, very much unacceptable to most physicists. Plank held out against them, which was perhaps to be expected. He was a bit of a free-thinker. As he once famously said:

‘A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’

Science can never be about acceptability – which is, too often, the purpose of peer-review. It is about the truth. Or reality, or whatever term is the best description to use. Science is about rocking the boat, and upsetting the established views, and informing ‘experts’ that they are talking rubbish.

As Richard Feynman said. ‘Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’

Peer-review achieves the exact opposite of what we should want from science. It cements the power of experts. It acts as a brake on progress. It rewards those who maintain the status-quo. It helps to ensure that acceptable papers are published, and unacceptable papers are not.

Yes, I am fully aware that the vast majority of people use the term ‘peer-reviewed’ as a term of praise. A stamp of scientific veracity. It has the exact opposite effect on me. It grates horribly. Just publish the damned paper and let me decide if it is a load of rubbish, or not, thank you very much. I do NOT need a board of censors to decide what I can and cannot see. Lest my poor little unformed and childish mind becomes corrupted.

I also know, I really do know that we would all love to believe in peer-review. Surely it is better than doing nothing. We cannot just let any old crap get published, can we? To be perfectly frank, the idea that we have to do something, simply because we believe something must be done, is an insatiable human drive that is another of my pet hates.

A.N. Idiot:                  ‘Something must be done.’

A.N. Other Idiot:       ‘Here’s something, let’s do that.’

Me:                             Sigh. ‘With or without any evidence that it works?’

Further Idiot:             ‘Evidence, we don’t need evidence. It is obvious that this will be effective.

All idiots together:    ‘Well, that’s good enough for me.’

Here is the contrary standpoint. If doing nothing is just as effective as doing something, then I always recommend we take the ‘doing nothing’ option. Apart from anything else it frees up time to do other things that are clearly more beneficial. Such as getting in a bit of whisky tasting or picking your teeth.

In fact, doing nothing is part of my broader ‘don’t just do something, stand there’ initiative. Unfortunately, almost everyone else seems to favour the ‘Work, work, busy, busy, chop, chop, bang, bang.’ philosophy. ‘Looks how busy I am. I must be doing good.’ To quote Bing Crosby:

We’re busy doin’ nothin’

Workin’ the whole day through

Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do

We’re busy goin’ nowhere

Isn’t it just a crime

We’d like to be unhappy, but

We never do have the time

I have to watch the river

To see that it doesn’t stop

And stick around the rosebuds

So they’ll know when to pop

And keep the crickets cheerful

They’re really a solemn bunch

Hustle, bustle

And only an hour for lunch.’

I love that song.

Having said this, I also do believe we should try to ensure that research papers are not complete rubbish, based on fraudulent research (see under the Surgisphere paper on hydroxychloroquine – published in the Lancet). For science to work, we should be able trust what we read. As far as this is possible.

But the peer-review system, as it currently exists, does not achieve this. It allows utter made-up rubbish to be published. Worse, much worse, it stops a great deal of potentially valuable research dead in its tracks.

‘If mankind is to profit freely from the small and sporadic crop of the heroically gifted it produces, it will have to cultivate the delicate art of handling ideas.’ Wilfred Trotter.

Therefore, gentle reader, I have a suggestion. Journal editors should make their own decisions about what should and should not be published, based on how interesting and valuable it seems, then publish. Do not hide behind shadowy peer-reviewers, who have their own agendas to pursue.

At which point you use the Internet for what it is good at. Get a bloody good discussion going. Make the article free to view, for anyone, for the first two or three months – or longer. Invite a broad scientific audience to get involved.

Make it easy for people to attack it or praise it. Hit the upvote button. There are very many, very smart people out there. If they can’t find a problem with a paper, fine. If they can, get the authors to argue their case. Publish the best responses. Expose the discussion to the world. Pull the paper, if needed. Slap various addendums on it, such as ‘readers should note that this paper is a steaming pile of…’

Would this work. Well, it was certainly not the Lancet editorial team, or the peer-reviewers, or even the authors of the paper, who recognised that the hydroxychloroquine paper was fraudulent. It was other researchers from around the world who pointed out that the data were made-up.6

So, in my view, we need to allow the entire world to be reviewers and get rid of peer-review. Other than use it to provide helpful suggestions as to how to make the paper better. Just to add that the helpful elf who edits my blog ramblings, had this to say about this blog:

‘Like it – what you’re suggesting is a TripAdvisor like free scientific paper web site that can be commented on by anyone … ‘ Which is a bloody good summary.

I lay this suggestion before you with all great humility. Next, I hope to discuss the FDA, and the other regulatory bodies around the world. Let me see. What comes after hyenas? Vultures, great white sharks, vampires, leeches … let me think.







166 thoughts on “Cleaning the Augean stables (Part I)

  1. andy

    Peer reviewed?
    I was assisted greatly, in a private and amateur endeavour, by a top accademic a few years ago.
    It exposed me interestingly during this time, to the short-cuts, falsities, and flights of speculation that supported their subject, one that I was bringing to the publics notice.
    When I was finished I offered our completed work to the academic but was amazed to find myself being roundly derided for my poor work though I had actually been using the exact same material that the academic had produced and given to me.

  2. Pam Gotcher

    You have a fan-girl here! Totally agree with you and hope you continue to share truth! Get so TIRED of people on social media asking over and over for “peer-reviewed” studies – as if they knew what it meant.

  3. steve479

    What comes after hyenas? Vultures, great white sharks, vampires, leeches … let me think.
    Search for the world’s highest criminal fines and you will find Big Pharma companies – who are aided and abetted by FDA, MHRA, etc.

  4. Jeremy May

    That’s a really good article (‘article’ sounds more impressive than blog).

    With non-scientists, like me (who is also blessed with limited intellect) I relied on the peer-review system to give an article credibility. Now what?
    But even I understand the flaws in the system.

    There’s a sort of peer-review system on book covers. ‘Superb, the next big thing’, or ‘Utterly hilarious’. Many of these ‘reviews’ (to use your vernacular) are bollocks. Some of them must have read a different book to me, and I’ve had to waste a couple of hours reading to the point where I realize I’ve been duped.

    Never trust a third party. Make your own mind up.

    I like your ideas. Thank you.

    1. Paul Fruitbat

      “…‘article’ sounds more impressive than blog”.

      It’s also correct. A blog is short for “Web log”, and means the whole collection of articles published on a given Web page (such as Dr Kendrick’s).

      It’s a useful distinction, which I would like to see preserved.

  5. Frederica Huxley

    Heresy doesn’t sit well with the money makers. Marcia Angell, former editor of NEJM, was pilloried for daring to publish a book in 2004 on the scandals of peer reviewed papers.

    1. summitflyer

      Read her book and led me to further question the motives of big Pharma.The more one looks into this subject the more one is convinced of the absolute criminality of this bunch ,instituted by Rockefeller in the early 29th century.

  6. John

    Hmmm. Reminds me of school. Review the evidence and make up your own mind – but be sure that you come to the same conclusion as the teacher or you will be punished. Peers, by definition, are “equal to” as the author, so why would they be more qualified to judge than an editor?

  7. Gary Ogden

    Thank you, Dr. Kendrick. Mainstream science did indeed die decades ago, but there is a lot of good science being published online independent of journals, hooray! Three which I frequently read are Dr. Jack from IPAK, Mathew Crawford, and Alex Washburne)

    1. Ann Walker

      Echoed in my mind too – all the way through, a very similar mechanism at work, causing disastrous economic results which could spell the end of the free world. A very dangerous development indeed in my view.

  8. Richard Horowitz MD

    I find the synchronicity striking, as my Medical Hypothesis paper on natural solutions for COVID was cited this am in another journal (R.I. Horowitz, P.R. Freeman, Three Novel Prevention, Diagnostic and Treatment Options for COVID-19 Urgently Necessitat-ing Controlled Randomized Trials, Medical Hypotheses (2020)
    One day before I wrote this op-ed that was NOT published in the Washington Post, that I posted on my FB page:

    COP 27, Aliens, Zombies, the FDA, and Health Care: What Do They All Have in Common?
    As a seasoned healthcare veteran and TV aficionado, watching the final hours of deliberations at COP 27 was reminiscent of the final episode of the Walking Dead. “A decade ago,” as per Zombie talk, the most watched series was “going out with a shamble and a dull moan.” Similarly, watching weary, sleep-deprived delegates at COP27 shuffle like zombies to find soggy turkey sandwiches to munch on during the last day of talks (fresh brains were a week old by that time) was sci-fi horror material. After all, the world as we know it is dying. Every day, up to 150 species are lost according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which could translate into a 10 percent a decade loss of diverse life on our planet as the world races towards 1.5 degrees Centigrade. We need biodiversity to sustain life. So as brain dead, exhausted delegates raced to the finish line to recompense countries for climate damages, all of which will exponentially get worse with every 0.1 degree increase in global temperatures, the stark inaction at COP27, refusing to phase out fossil fuels, increasing yearly climate damages, is clearly an indication that the zombie apocalypse may already be upon us.
    There are several other viable theories however that can account for the lack of compassion, intelligence, and foresight we witnessed at COP27. Fossil fuel pollution is known to produce chemicals that cause brain inflammation, and have been linked to ADD, ADHD, autoimmunity, and Alzheimer’s dementia. As the world warms from increasing greenhouse gases, vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease, which have now spread to 14.5% of the global population, will get into some delegates brains, mixed with environmental chemicals. The result is brain inflammation and poor executive function. This is similar to the effects of the well-known zombie virus, presently being secretly worked on by US and Chinese researchers in the Wuhan-bat virus-zombie laboratory.
    The other possible theory that could explain the pitiful results of COP27 is, surprisingly, money. Could the 600 plus fossil fuel delegates at COP27 have something to do with the outcome where we are not phasing out coal, gas, and oil fast enough? Big Tobacco’s health effects will pale in comparison to the mass death and destruction we will see from Big Oil, who has denied and obfuscated the known effects of fossil fuel pollution on global warming for decades. Yet, the worst is yet to come. One of the little-known effects of our climate emergency is that as the world heats up and permafrost in the Arctic melts, it will release viable bacteria, fungi, and viruses into the stratosphere. This will potentially lead to new pandemics. What might the response of Big Pharma and the FDA be to a new pandemic linked to climate change? Maybe nothing, or at least a new vaccine without proper oversight? Today we learned that the FDA had inadequate surveillance of clinical trial sites during vaccine rollouts, according to an investigation published by The BMJ. This followed a similar pattern in “a 2007 report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General… (where they) found the FDA audited less than 1% of the nation’s clinical trial sites between 2000 and 2005”. During COVID-19, only 9/153 Pfizer trial sites and 10/99 Moderna trial sites were inspected by the FDA. Since nearly half the FDA’s budget now comes from ‘user fees’ paid by companies seeking approval for medical devices (Big Pharma), would this not put the foxes in the position of guarding the hen house, putting potential profits above human health and safety? I got vaccinated by the way, as did my patients, but was shocked to find such a lack of FDA oversight in such an important heath care arena.
    As more and more wildfires, heat strokes, droughts, floods, and vector-borne diseases increase, and humanity fails to adequately respond and meet the challenges before us, I can only assume that either the zombie virus is real, an alien Reptilian infiltration has occurred destroying the planet, or perhaps there is a simpler explanation: Money transcends ethics, and Freud was right when he aptly predicted that ‘De-Nile is not just a river in Egypt’.
    Dr Richard Horowitz has worked for HHS, providing Congress with recommendations on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tickborne illness. He is the author of a comedy science fiction/climate change novel, Starseed R/evolution, The Awakening (Permuted Press 2022)

    Investigation raises concerns about poor FDA oversight of clinical trials. Published November 18, 2022 |

    Horowitz, R.I., The Global Rise of Chronic Diseases: Why Broaden the Paradigm to Include Tick-borne Illness and Environmental Toxin Exposure? Arch Med Case Rep. 2019, Volume 1, Issue 1.

    El-Sayed A, Kamel M. Future threat from the past. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Jan;28(2):1287-1291. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-11234-9. Epub 2020 Oct 17. PMID: 33068243; PMCID: PMC7567650.

    Hofmeister AM, Seckler JM, Criss GM. Possible Roles of Permafrost Melting, Atmospheric Transport, and Solar Irradiance in the Development of Major Coronavirus and Influenza Pandemics. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 16;18(6):3055. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18063055. PMID: 33809626; PMCID: PMC8000708.

    1. alexei

      Is it not curious that those who can see through the Covid scam, the mass brainwashing programme that has been imposed globally, are unable to recognise the same mechanism predating Covid that has been used for decades by the very same people who have been lying through their teeth to us with false information on Covid?
      How does the same person manage to suspend their scepticism in one case but not the other?

      1. AhNotepad

        Alexei, did you mean to refer only to covid? Or should climate have got a mention? Other wise I am confused as to the point you are making

      1. AhNotepad

        A more constructive approach would be ask how would windmills and solar panely fix climate change? You could gradually expnd on this, you may learn something, or Richard may learn something. All we have learn’t so far is you make ad hominem attacks, which is usually the mark of someone with little to say.

      2. Steve

        The basic premiss is faulty. Climate change is natural. We live on a dynamic, spinning body that is speeding through space. It is virtually impossible to model the climate on our planet. Our best supercomputers are only able to model the climate to a resolution of a 100km cell. Think about that ! And that doesn’t include interactions with volcanoes and intergalactic bodies (meteorites) that impact the climate. Changes, when they occur, happen over huge timescales NOT human lifespans. Like the covid modelling, climate models are mostly BS.

        And add CO2 scrubbers, EVs and heat pumps to the list of dubious technologies that won’t change a thing apart from the economy and billionaires Bank accounts.

        1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

          What we need is a control world. No humans, but everthing else in place. Then we have a proper randomized experiment. I am not quite sure how you would make it, or where you would put it. Opposite side of Earth’s orbit? At present we have an observational study going on, with many uncontrollable variables, the exact impact of which are – essentially – unknown. As such it remains fully possible for anyone to claim pretty much anything they like. ‘It’s science Jim, but not as we know it.’

        2. Marvin Stiebler

          Even if we presume, just for argument’s sake, that CO2 is the (sole) evil driver of climate change it is made up to be, our current discussions and solutions neglect to address the much more relevant question of how to get rid of CO2 in the air (in an equally publicly funded and discussed manner as reducing CO2 production).

    2. Eggs ‘n beer

      Please could you point me to evidence that increases in CO2 beyond the pre-industrial levels will cause atmospheric (or any other sort) of warming? I have traced the equations used for radiative forcing of various gasses back to their origins and they are terribly presumptive, with no actual science involved. Even the concept of CO2 and methane being a concern at all is strange, as Lacis and Hansen, two major proponents of global warming, state in their 1974 paper “A Parameterization for the Absorption of Solar Radiation in the Earth’s Atmosphere” that “The principle absorbers in the earth’s atmosphere are water vapour in the troposphere and ozone in the stratosphere.“

      Furthermore “ we have not included here parameterizations for absorption by O2 and CO2. These are minor absorbers compared to O3 and H2O but their contribution is significant for some applications. According to Sasamori et al. (1972) O2 and CO2 together are responsible for about 8% of the absorption in the atmosphere corresponding to about 2 1/2% of the absorption by the atmosphere plus surface. CO2 absorption overlaps H2O and requires greater care.” Methane doesn’t even rate a mention as insignificant!

      So why the turnaround? When did the science change? Or are you now talking about climate “Science TM” in the same vein as we were subjected to Covid “Science TM” which had nothing to do with science and everything to do with power and money, based upon faked models.

      And where is your evidence for “more and more wildfires, heat strokes, droughts, floods, and vector-borne diseases increase”? Sure, we’ve had a lot of floods down under recently. But nothing extraordinary. Allied with the coldest November days in over a century and excellent November snowfalls at the ski resorts. Which the climate alarmists said would never ever happen. The dams will never be full (2007), and your children will never see snow (2000).

      I am quite prepared to believe that the delegates are brain dead zombies, I consider that to be a primary qualification for attendance, along with a chronic infection of hypocrisy. But I can’t see the link to pollution, unless the waves of excess CO2 from all the flights have caught up with them and they’re suffering from anoxia.

      1. Martin Back

        Please could you point me to evidence that increases in CO2 beyond the pre-industrial levels will cause atmospheric (or any other sort) of warming?

        “The year was 1856. Foote’s brief scientific paper was the first to describe the extraordinary power of carbon dioxide gas to absorb heat – the driving force of global warming.

        “Foote conducted a simple experiment. She put a thermometer in each of two glass cylinders, pumped carbon dioxide gas into one and air into the other and set the cylinders in the Sun. The cylinder containing carbon dioxide got much hotter than the one with air, and Foote realized that carbon dioxide would strongly absorb heat in the atmosphere. ”

        1. AhNotepad

          The CO2 in the atmosphere is not in a glass tube. Ever been in a greenhouse in the sun? It’s hot. Go outside, not so much. Foote might have demonstrated something, but is it transferable to a bigger space?

        2. Eggs ‘n beer

          That’s a good experiment of Mrs Foote. Showing that a 333,333% increase in CO2 concentration leads to a 3.36% increase in temperature. Clear, concise results. However I don’t see how you can conclude that even a 100% increase in CO2, taking us to 600ppm, could result in catastrophe.

          Going a bit deeper, it would have been interesting if she had eliminated CO2 from the air for a sample, whilst maintaining the water vapour.

        3. Martin Back

          In 1859 physicist John Tyndall, after a series of very careful experiments, could confidently announce, “Thus the atmosphere admits of the entrance of solar heat; but checks its exit, and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet”.

          Obviously we have moved on since then in both theory and experiment, and the vast majority of scientifically literate people now admit to the reality of the greenhouse effect, IMO.

          What is far less certain is what will happen in the future if CO2 continues to accumulate in the atmosphere. The climate has been fairly stable for the last 10,000 years or so. But it’s a chaotic stability; it’s settled into one pattern at the moment, but it could smoothly without any drama or warning settle into a different pattern which could totally disrupt human society. Snowball Earth; hothouse Earth? Take your pick.
          Lorenz Attractor simulation

          The oceans absorb much of the excess CO2 and heat. But as they warm they become less able to absorb CO2. Could the process reverse and they start releasing CO2? Could they warm up enough to release methane from frozen clathrates? Will the added CO2 acidify the oceans and lead to a mass die-off of the base of the food chain? Or will the increased snow pack in Asia (from more moisture in the air) lead to increased albedo and trigger a cooling effect?

          There are so many possibilities. No one knows for sure. The safest course of action is to try to keep things as they have been in recorded history.

          1. AhNotepad

            The safest thing to do is to stop messing around with poorly understood systems. Just because these scientific literate people believe something, does not make it fact. It is more likely they believe it because they have been told it is so.

        4. Jerome savage

          Even Wikipedia recognises the minimal amounts of carbon Dioxide in the air. Extract –
          “By mole fraction (i.e., by number of molecules), dry air contains 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.”
          0.04 % ??

      2. Martin Back

        Water vapor accounts for 60-70% of the greenhouse effect while CO2 accounts for 25%. The problem is, there is no way to affect the amount of water vapor in the air because the surface of the earth is 75% water. Any water you remove from the air would soon get replaced by evaporation from the oceans. But we can control the amount of CO2, to some extent, so that’s what we focus on.

        1. wayne harris

          This presentation about CO2 ,climate change and the enviromental role of CO2 by Dr Patrick Moore former president of Greenpeace are things climate alarmist never seem bring up when preaching pending global doom . Find it on you-tube: Dr Patrik Moore Carbon and Climate Catastrope

        2. Eggs ‘n beer

          But where is the science behind your statement? Lacis and Hansen state that all gases other than water and ozone only contribute 8% of atmospheric warming and 2.5% to get surface temperatures. Your figure for ‘others’ is 30% to 40%. Of course there’s no way to control water vapour, nor can ozone and oxygen levels be changed. As far as I can determine, all these numbers being thrown around by the ‘must do something’ brigade have the same validity as the half a million dead in the UK from Covid lunatics, who with their lockdown and mask up mantras have caused immense social, societal and financial damage – and the mds brigade are determined to achieve even greater, more permanent destruction while being paid vast sums themselves.

          Justification for the numbers, and the models. Or, just trust the experts.

          1. Jerome savage

            Good point. The age we are presently living in, I feel, is the age of deceit.
            The marketing colleges hav z lot to answer for. Someone put on these pages some years ago the profound truism “If it has to be advertised, it’s not worth having” – elementary and a motto worth carrying.

  9. Martin Back

    You’re going to have to find some way of sorting the wheat from the chaff. With AI-generated papers on the rise, the amount of rubbish submitted for publication is going to get exponentially worse.

    Allowing people to comment freely on scientific papers might work, but who has the time to read all the comments on a popular or contentious paper? And who will comment on an obscure paper in an unsexy branch of science?

    Will an army of fact-checkers be able to cope with what’s coming down the pike?

    For instance Meta (i.e. Facebook) trained its AI on “over 48 million papers, textbooks and lecture notes, scientific websites, and encyclopedias”. You’d think with that amount of data it could produce some really interesting science. Instead, it produces persuasive rubbish, complete with fake references.

    Michael Black (Director, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems) tweeted
    “It offers authoritative-sounding science that isn’t grounded in the scientific method. It produces pseudo-science based on statistical properties of science *writing*. Grammatical science writing is not the same as doing science. But it will be hard to distinguish.

    “This could usher in an era of deep scientific fakes. Alldieck and Pumarola will get citations to papers they didn’t write. These papers will then be cited by others in real papers. What a mess this will be. ”

    “Analyzing several of the submitted Elsevier papers, the researchers found sentences for which they failed to infer any meaning; references to non-existent literature; references to variables and theorems in formulae that did not actually appear in the supporting material (suggesting language-based abstraction, or ‘hallucination‘ of apparently factual data); and reuse of images with no acknowledgement of their sources (which the researchers criticize not from a copyright standpoint, but rather as an indicator of inadequate scientific rigor).

    “The citations intended to support the arguments in a scientific paper were found in many of the flagged examples to be ‘either broken or leading to unrelated publications’.”

      1. Paul Fruitbat

        Whoops – how should we choose which 100 to publish? Without any reviewers, juries, committees, boards, etc. Looks like voting, but that’s not perfect either. (The rich simply buy votes).

        The bottom line is that we cannot have an enlightened society without educated people.

      2. giampaolominetti

        A few years ago I had a manuscript rejected, after “regular” peer-review by Medical Hypotheses. This I replied to the Editor who took up the post after Charlton was fired: “Dear Editor, with all due respect, in my humble opinion and from what I see published (and not published) in the journal, your former supervisor, colleague and founder of Medical Hypotheses, Dr David Horrobin, must be spinning in his grave these days. As in the original intention of the founder, it is the scientific community that should judge if a hypothesis is worth considering or not. After all, Horrobin founded the journal to publish his own articles, because he had a hard time in getting his out-of-ordinary hypotheses accepted by ordinary peer-revewed jounals.”
        Medical Hypotheses was renown for publishing weird articles such as “The Nature of Navel Fluff”, or “Horseradish and radish peroxidases eaten with fish could help explain observed associations between fish consumption and protection from age-related dementia”. But it coul not innocently publish anything against such a solidly established fact as the connection between HIV and AIDS. A connection that even Montagnier eventually questioned.
        The Medical Hypotheses case was perhaps the most striking consequence of the spell cast on Duesberg. That kept hitting whoever got in too close intellectual contact with him. I witnessed for instance the case of this article “Questioning the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis: 30 Years of Dissent” by Patricia Goodson, a REVIEW paper that appeared in Frontiers of Public Health, got indexed in Pubmed for a few weeks in 2014, then immediately disappeared from Pubmed to be eventually retracted by Frontiers (in 2019!).
        Reading medical papers that are not at least 40-50 years old requires orders of magnitude higher levels of critical alertness than was earlier necessary. But most of the times not even that: I simply trash them.

        1. carl297

          What!? How can you doubt such things!! Have you not seen Vaucanson’s Digesting Duck!? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….?? 🙂

        2. Paul Fruitbat

          I’m with you on your first statement. As for whether there ever will be proper AI… I am reminded of Ernst Mach, who (as I recall) said that we could never, in principle, know what the Sun is made of.

          It seemed obvious, as how could any material object get close enough to do any sampling? Not to mention that the Sun is made exclusively of incredibly hot gases…

          Yet a few years later along came spectroscopy, and it turned out that scientists could infer the exact composition of most stars just by analysing the radiation they give off.

          In science “nver say never” is a good slogan.

          1. An Italian Australian at the Tropics

            I would agree with you of this was a scientific or technological matter, but it’s not.

            We can’t even define intelligence, but like the famous quote about porn, I can tell one if I see it. And if we can’t describe it, we can’t reproduce it.

            All AI, existing or theorized, is just pattern matching. Fast, refined, smart but certainly not intelligent. It’s not a matter of hardware or software, we don’t have the logic, the algorithms to even mimic the intelligence of an ant.

            AI engineers would be the first to confirm that AI will never exist, after a few shots of whisky of course.

          2. Jerome savage

            Tempted to add that we may know, or think we know the composition of the sun – but will we ever reproduce it ?

        1. Martin Back

          The next move would be to train your own team of paid humans to imitate a so-called “impartial” peer-review AI, and thusly get approval for your paper.

          A reverse Turing Test, so to speak.

      1. manonrichmondbridge

        What search criteria would be used? Who defines the search criteria? Would the search criteria be transparent? Would a reader / researcher be allowed to generate their own criteria? What happens if the criteria in biased (eg Male v Female bias in algorithms), incorrect or just inappropriate? How are these going to be corrected?
        Remember – GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out – 1st thing I learned in my Systems Analysis & Design course over 40 years ago.

        PS Norah I’m not having a go at you just pointing out some practical realities as I see it.

  10. Jonathan S Christie

    Splendid call-out of the self-important executioners of new ideas who pervert science to preserve their defective legacy, leaving a trail of great steaming piles of their own, er, failed ideas …

  11. Robert Dyson

    Yes, I know it well. It’s not just in medical publications. The days of paper journals and pay-walled access should be over. The journals charged a fortune to publish an article and then charged again for access. The changeover is happening. It does mean a lot of stuff gets published online so more to wade through; we can but take a sip from time to time of that Niagara Falls of publications. Generally in our own areas of expertise we know who to trust as a filter and we can read the odd outlier. I recommend people to read Bruno Latour’s Science in Action. I think I mentioned here before how “Busy Doing Nothing” is a song that has popped into mind more than any other since I first heard it sometime in the 1950s except maybe ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’ that I heard in the 1940s.

  12. Paul Fruitbat

    “We’re going to ask our reviewers more directly, whether they think there are any issues of research integrity in the paper…”

    … and they’ll say, “No” – and we will be right back at square one.

    Finding ways to stop liars profiting from their lies, in an ecosystem largely made up of successful and habitual liars is a challenge that would defeat a team consisting of Kurt Goedel, John von Neumann, Alan Turing, Richard Feynman and Bertrand Russell.

  13. Pat Dougan

    I forwarded your article to my email list which includes my physicians. I was going to change the subject line until I looked up the word Augean 🙂 — Perfect. However, I am anxiously waiting on the LDL articles 🙂

    1. Paul Fruitbat

      Well found, sir! I spent a while looking for it, but failed.

      Isn’t this Internet thingy great? It interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

  14. Antony Sanderson

    The first time I came across the issues with peer review was in 1970 doing an undergrad final year project – calculating the lattice energies of crystals using electrostatic models then comparing with experimental values – (not everyone’s cup of tea – but good fun using a main frame computer to do calculations that could now be run on a mobile phone)

    My supervisor was having problems getting his work published. Then, he discovered that his peer reviewer was one of the understandably few people working in this line of research . . . He change publication and suddenly his work was accepted.

    When I went for an interview at another university. The interviewer asked “What have you learnt about how Science works?” I told him that Science is not simply a dispassionate following of theory, leading to tests, leading to confirmation or rejection of ideas . . . there was a large human/psychological dimension . . . people became obsessed with the correctness of their ideas . . . were willing to be quite ruthless in maintaining their status and rubbishing others”

    We had quite an animated discussion with him defending the pure view of scientific process, and with me eventually describing, as an example, my supervisor’s experience.

    The interviewer rang my supervisor and asked “Is the guy for real?” A few months later It turned out that the interviewer gave my “History and Philosophy of Science” course at my new University.

  15. Alan Richards

    Surely the future is to open-source everything including data. You publish a paper online and anyone can comment on it, much like wikipedia articles get edited and updated in real time (yes I know your views on wiki). After an open period, the author completes a re-draft and publishes.

    Peer review has become some kind of imprimatur whereas it was probably intended originally to correct any howlers which could embarrass the authors.

    1. Mark Waters

      Problem with Wikipedia is that it has censers too ,My wife;s entry on Dr Wolfgang Lutz’s work on Low Carb diets was taken down by a couple of vegans in 2017 and never reinstated. Very sad

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Wikipedia is highly censored on all contentious topics. Some individuals have great power to edit and cannot be challenged. The idea of Wikipedia was good. However, like all things the rot set in.

        1. Paul Fruitbat

          I would suggest that Wikipedia is very reliable on at least 99% of its contents. Trouble is, it’s hard to determine whether a given entry is honest and objective or not.

          To be fair, Wikipedia itself insists that it should never be used as an authoritative source; rather just as a pointer to such sources. That’s very good advice.

      2. Martin Back

        A Wikipedia article on biofuels referenced a South African company that was selling biofuel refineries to small municipalities. It was exposed as a scam in reputable newspapers. I put the information on Wikipedia together with references. The mention of a scam was deleted within two days.

  16. Norah Power

    Thanks for introducing us to Bruce Charlton. I’ve been reading his blogs… great stuff.
    “ Peer review is neither a necessary nor sufficient part of real science.”

    1. Paul Fruitbat

      One need only review the early and enormous scientific advances. Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Hooke, Leibniz, Darwin… not a single one ever enjoyed the benefits of peer review. Well, their peers were usually free to “review” their work – but not to prevent them doing it or publishing the results.

  17. Jerome savage

    On a separate and and maybe tenuously linked note,, consultancy papers commissioned for whatever project, often are very similar- with the exception of the site location/s. It has been known however for the previous site location/s to, not be completely removed – carried forward to the new piece of consultancy work ! Bit of a giveaway.
    We note all the gpod audit reports for the banks in 2008 – just before meltdown. We note one firm of auditors changing its name to it’s initials after the subject of its glowing audit report – simply blew up. Dishonesty & power seem to go hand in hand.

    1. Paul Fruitbat

      That would follow logically if you accept the theory that consultancy reports are often commissioned to give management’s own point of view a veneer of spurious objectivity.

      Naturally all consultants hired would be given the same instructions.

  18. Baillsruth

    Thank you once again for the truth. Are, yes “peer reviewed”. I like the idea of letting the whole world have an opportunity to view the paper, but not via Google they would kill it. 🤗

  19. sueadlam

    ‘A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’ So very true. Isn’t this the strategy being used to push through all the changes that we are currently suffering? It’s the other side of the same coin.

  20. sueadlam

    I’m still snickering on whisky tasting and picking your teeth. I read that as “pickling” your teeth. 🤣 I can’t believe the almighty mess we are Malcolm. My eyes can’t roll back anymore. 😩

  21. AhNotepad

    A good summary by Malcolm of the state of current misinformation propogation, otherwise known as “peer review”. It is a way of enforcing a narrative based on no evidence other than the consensus of a fictionally generated (name your own percentage) shall we say 97% of wannaby scientists?. However, none of the down-voters of Richard Horowitz’s post have done anything to contest the views expressed. This is just another facet of the establishment enforcement of a doctrine. I don’t agree with much of Richard’s views of climate projections, and history reveals the outlandish claims of “unprecedented” happenings whenever some weather, which is other than a balmy breeze on a late spring evening, occurs. Foe example ignoring the Anasazi were wiped out by a 70 year long drought in California. Now the elites and hangers on would have us believe a few years of drought currently experienced is the result of modern humans.

    This is just one example, but if people are going to down-vote someone’s post, at least point out something that questions, if not contradicts, the claims. There are many examples to choose from, and you had better start positively contesting such claims, as the elites are about to inflict their narrative which will make the covid crap look tame by comparison. Even Midazolam Matt has had to go to Australia to eat kangaroo waste discharge tissues so people think he might be human.

    1. manonrichmondbridge


      All Percentages are available to purchase…

      Good lads and lassies…form an orderly queue there now… 🙂

  22. Eggs ‘n beer

    When I were a lad, and we did science at school, we followed a set way of doing an experiment. Aim, Method, Results and Conclusion. For A levels that meant one experiment, every week, per subject (so three per week if you were doing physics, chemistry and biology), to be written up for external assessment. The Aim (always in third person, of course) was always a to “see what happened” sort of phrase. FF to when my kids are doing science, and we now have Hypothesis, Aim (sometimes), Method, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References. The hypothesis is always a presumption of the expected results, the discussion is merely a lot of woffle, and the references carry a significant proportion of the marks. More emphasis on good English is required than scientific method, and they do one experiment PER TERM! I think this explains part of the current dilemma, everyone is trained to produce crap papers without a skerrit of thought and, of course, one of the KPIs nowadays is how often your paper is quoted elsewhere. Nothing to do with validity or science. Popularity poll.

  23. Mr Chris

    What you say is fair enough, but say, I who know nothing about say vitamin E and atrial fibrillation, joined in a debate on the subject, saying I-was chatting to a man in the queue at Sainsburys and he told me that vitamine E was a plot by the lizards who run the Republican Party. As a remark it would add nothing to the debate, and, more to the point would clog the inbox of people who had something serious to say. Life is short, the information overload is real, and some sort of censorship or weeding out seems a good idea. I know from following your blog for many years that such thoughts are anathema to you, but I often wonder why you don’t weed some stuff that gets on your blog?

  24. Stephen McNally

    Keep up the good work. Love that you care enough to call out the stifling of potential scientific progress.

    If publishing ideas were DNA we would be a dead end in the evolution of a healthier and more informed species.

  25. Darag

    I’m with you, Malcolm. Peer review as it is is worse than a waste of time. It is a fulcrum that humanity’s progress is broken on. Without truthful research democracy itself must suffer as the ignorant come to vote.

  26. SD Cook

    As always Dr. M, you’ve opened my mind yet again. Between you and Brownstone Institute articles, I could probably fulfill 85% of my online research reading. And sans propaganda of course.

    As to your last para – looking forward to your slicing and dicing of the FDA/CDC/NIH and other alphabet ‘public health’ agencies atrocious and often illegal and largely unconstitutional in the US, behaviors, especially over the past three years.

  27. Timothy O’Dowd

    Best article of the year! An enlightening joy to read. I shall pass it widely to my blinkered group followers of “the science”.

  28. An Italian Australian at the Tropics

    Amazing article dr. kendrick, one of your best. You seem to be like a fine Sassicaia or Bolgheri, only getting better with aging.

    As for the papers behind paywalls, Russians have since long found a solution, and hundreds of thousands are freely available to everyone now.

  29. Timothy Wilson


    You may…or may not enjoy this article on peer review.

    Does it apply to all scientific endeavors or just the medical profession?

    It’s long but interesting.



  30. Eggs ‘n beer

    Paywalls have other purposes than raising money. You can hide things behind paywalls, in the expectation that not many people can or will pay for an article. It would be prohibitively expensive if you’re exhaustively researching a topic and everything is behind a paywall.

    For instance, I was interested to find out how much CO2 is emitted by undersea volcanoes. It was like following a treasure trail because one paper referenced a 2008 paper, then that paper a 2001 paper, which would lead to a 1995 article, all free, all stating that underwater volcanic CO2 emissions are totally insignificant, which finally mentioned the Holy Grail of undersea CO2 volcanic emissions paper, 1991, which is paywalled. My suspicions were aroused; as well as my curiosity being unfulfilled. So I coughed up a piece of silver to see the basis for the comments. And Lo! it was revealed that the author states “My principal aim, however, is to emphasise unsettled problems requiring further study and uncertainties due to inadequate data.”

    Which on the face of it might seem to be a refreshing admission of “we haven’t got a clue about ‘Present-Day CO2 Emissions from Volcanos’”, the title of the paper, if he hadn’t then proceeded to conclude, based upon three undersea samples from one area out of 80,000km of undersea volcanic ridges, and seven sub-aerial volcanoes out of 1,350 active ones, plus a totally unknown number of subsea volcanoes, that “anthropogenic emissions clearly overwhelm (total volcanic emissions) by at least 150 times.

    Subsequent studies have shown that the sides of volcanoes, even dormant ones, emit up to 100 times more CO2 than originally estimated.

    So paywalls can be great obfuscators, as well as revenue raisers.

    1. Martin Back

      We can tell the difference between volcanic CO2 and fossil fuel CO2. Fossil fuel comes from plants, or the animals that eat plants, and plants have a preference for C-12 rather than C-13. So by determining the C-12/C-13 ratio we can work out the proportion of fossil fuel-derived CO2 in the atmosphere.

      1. Eggs ‘n beer

        The isotope ratios aren’t relevant to this part of the discussion. The issue is a foundational paper behind a paywall. A paper which admits it has no basis for the results attributed to it.

        1. cavenewt

          ‘by determining the C-12/C-13 ratio we can work out the proportion of fossil fuel-derived CO2 in the atmosphere’

          Despite its non-relevance to the discussion at hand, I found that factoid interesting.

  31. Mark Waters

    Brilliant post Sir, reminds me of Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis – The Expropriation of Health
    by Ivan Illich . which I am just rereading.
    Look forward to part 2

  32. Tracy

    Thank you, Dr Kendrick, for being a voice of sanity and humour in our increasing de-humanised world. I’m not a ‘scientist’ but logic and coherence in an argument are very important to me. I think you have clearly proved that ‘the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’ in the field of ‘science’ as it is in all other areas of life.

    1. Steve

      Tracy, in my experience, money is certainly an issue but it’s more of a symptom that masks the real issue(s): People ! Greed, Jealous, bloody mindedness, immaturity, etc. “Hell is other people”.
      It seems certain areas of (public) life attract ‘the wrong sort of people’, eg. Politics, Science (?), …

  33. Steve Bull

    I agree completely with your assessment of peer review. My questioning of the process began with my reading many decades ago of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and subsequent related research on our attempts at understanding a complex world and creating narratives to frame this understanding.

    What I find interesting (frustrating? confounding?) is that I was made aware of this article by the posting (and agreement with it) by someone who has leveraged the peer reviewed-publications ‘authority card’ to levitate their view on something over and above others without such a ‘pedigree’ of scientific publications.

  34. Mike C

    Thank you for another thought-provoking article Dr Kendrick.

    It occurs to me that peer reviewers for journals are very similar to ‘fact checkers’ for ‘social’ media. If something supports the current narrative it passes scrutiny and is allowed to be published.

    I believe the greatest scientific advancements start with a ‘that’s odd’ moment. We suppress such moments at the risk of stagnation.

    Perhaps the role of peer reviewers could be improved by publishing both the paper and the review(s) in a ‘rejected’ section of a journal (online publishing would incur almost no extra cost). Maybe the authors of such a paper could be given a chance to withdraw first.

    I don’t know how a typical review is structured but perhaps there should be some requirement to list objections such as ‘Conclusion does not accord with results reported’ or ‘Report predictions have already been shown to be wrong’.

    I know Imperial College’s ‘Report 9’ was not in a peer-reviewed journal but my (non-academic and retrospective) analysis showed its predictions were already demonstrably wrong by the time it was published. Were there other academics pointing out the flaws in that paper at the time? Not just the computer ‘model’ but the fact that the predictions just were not happening? Were their reviews ‘fact-checked’ into oblivion? Is anyone trying to say ‘I told you so’ now?

    1. Mike C

      Please forgive me for replying to my own comment. Bad form, I know.

      I found this blog article from 21 April 2020 criticising the Imperial College Report 9:

      The article can be summarised as: ‘Government should not have relied on Report 9 as it is rubbish’.

      However, the article seems to defend the opening premise in the ‘Results’ section of Report 9: ‘In the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour’… as suggesting that this encompasses people failing to avoid getting too close to other people who are coughing (my example). I would characterise this as ‘In the (unlikely) event of the Sun failing to rise tomorrow morning’…

      The article seems to suggest that ‘Report 9′ should not have been taken literally’. FFS.

  35. Geoff

    Many sources appear to agree that “science” has been, to put it lightly, tainted. Since Einstein was mentioned in the piece, I believe the following observations are not only on topic, but both illuminating and confirming of the main themes of Dr Kendricks fine piece(s).

    “[Einstein] made various nods to philosophy, literature, art, and so on, whereas Bohr and those that came after had nothing but contempt for the past. They were the Futurists of physics. They wished to remodel the world by their own shallow concepts: what we now know as the New World Order. That is to say, art, science, and everything else redefined as a raw generator of profit. Or, to put an even finer point on it, art, scienceand everything else were to be sacrificed on the profane altar of business, by which the old Families would get ever richer and more vulgar, taking society down with them.

    “…In the beginning [Relativity] was real science, real physics. The math was garbled, but that was to be expected. All math and physics has always been garbled, as I have shown. As a human creation, it would be expected to be imperfect. What is surprising is that Relativity was not soon corrected,
    especially considering how obvious the mistakes were, and considering all the promoted “geniuses” who combed it and promoted it.

    “Though the levels of science promotion have never been higher, the levels of science itself were and are astonishing low. The takeover of science by industry has been a catastrophe, forcing all subfields into a mini Dark Age of brute authority and cloaking mysticism. Yes, we have made some important technological advances in that time, refining our machines, but as a matter of basic theory, we were on firmer ground in the 19th century. The scientific attitude has been utterly destroyed and remade by the merchants and
    industrialists, who have remolded it in their own image. That image is not a pretty one, since it is an image of avarice, envy, dishonesty, and hubris.

    Einstein’s Genealogy

    Click to access eingen.pdf

    1. cavenewt

      ‘Many sources appear to agree that “science” has been, to put it lightly, tainted.’

      See for example much of the work of John Ioannidis of Stanford.

    2. johnsymes

      How much of the rest of this website have you read? It is truly a great Alice in Wonderland experience. Having done a university maths degree a long time ago, I can still recognise a complete load of gobbly-gook maths and phusics, even if it was not backed up by the usual detailed claims of fake mass shootings and Jewish ancestry to pretty much everyone.

  36. johnsymes

    I hold my hands up for a part in this whole mess. As a trainee doctor in the UK and then in a stint in the USA , you could not progress in training without ‘publications’. In the USA it was explicit; you were on a ‘publish or perish’ contract. In the UK it was much more gentlemanly; you just got stuck without publications.
    As I climbed the greasy pole, I did my bit in fostering similar habits in trainees. Further on, I did some peer reviewing for several publications, including some of the higher ‘ranking’ journals. I was always staggered at the comments from the other reviewers of the same publication. What I thought was the essential core of the problems of a submitted paper was completely different from other reviewers. Possibly that is the value for the editors, they get a balanced picture, but it struck me just what a lottery this seemed to be.

    Further up the scale still, I gradually realised what a snakes nest of commercial interests it was. There is a web of self serving interests of journals, companies, ambitious clinicians and academic institutions and regulatory institutions. Much of this is purely structural as a consequence of the funding of the institutions that should be on guard for the public interest, but are not. Regulatory capture for commercial interests is not confined to pharmaceuticals. The BBC has an excellent podcast of the complete disregard of safety in the construction industry revealed at the Grenfell Inquiry. Into the deaths of 72 people in the fire.

  37. cavenewt

    ‘If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market…Peer review would not get onto the market because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flaws.’ says Drummond Rennie.

    In light of recent events, I think this analogy needs to be updated.

  38. Andy

    The debate in academia about peer review has been going on for some time. Various options have been, and are being, tried – preprints, single and double blind review, open peer review, the latest being eLife’s announcement of no formal accept/reject decisions from January 2023. Studies are ongoing (e.g.

    Society journals and the journal impact factor still heavily influence many disciplines, not just in science subjects. DORA was supposed to be a step toward fixing that problem, however resistance is strong – especially when researchers get told about the importance of their H-index to their career from PGR stage onwards. It will take some time to change academy attitudes and practices.

    Open research is also meant to address some of the problems – one commenter remarks upon hypothesis, aim etc nowadays – HARKing is still very much an issue. Greater open practice, pre-registration sites etc are ways forward. Slow, small steps. A great clear out in one go seems unrealistic.

    Dr K mentions paywalls – yet this is an area of greater problems, if anything. The stranglehold of the biggest academic publishers over the majority of articles and proceedings papers, plus their growth into the related technology of research platforms, indexing and aggregating, means a few companies control much of the FHE publishing infrastructure. Still, use a Google Scholar search and rely on university research repositories – just because they may not hold the typeset version, the content of the accepted articles is the same as the paywalled journals, though they often have to wait to become available publicly.

    In the UK, funder open access policies mean that tens of millions of pounds is being spent paying to apply Creative Commons licences to UKRI-funded papers, however the taxpayer still ultimately picks up the tab. A drop in the ocean of government money creation, mind. It does mean most new funded research is freely accessible to the public on publication. Open access publication has been part of the shift toward publishing a greater mass of papers, including the move to getting a greater volume of “non-novel” research accepted and published. Arguably, they also democratise access to research. Ultimately, it is still the case that part of furthering your career in some parts of academia relies on working for free, outside usual paid time, writing your own papers and submitting them, reviewing others, and then paying funder grant money to the publisher so you can read and share what you wrote without copyright restriction.

    Scholarly publishing is flawed and will take a lot of fixing – but some are trying to fix it. Lots of small initiatives going on out there.

  39. Eggs ‘n beer

    Reading Mrs Eunice Foote’s experiment with carbonic acid gas again, could this be a model for a new approach to peer review?

    Remove her penultimate paragraph and there is no hypothesis, discussion or conclusion. No opinionation at all. Merely what she did (method), why (the objective) and the results. How about restricting all papers to methods, and results, and have a review only to confirm that they are valid. Leaving it for anyone interested to make up their own mind about it.

  40. Wayne H

    Following on from the discussions that followed someone’s opinion on the climate “emergency”, I’d like to advertise the work by an esteemed applied statistician John Dee. He has been working through datasets for the weather to look for correlations between CO2 and temperature. A recent sequence of work proved (imho) that there is no correlation at all. Here’s the link to the free part:

    I hope he doesn’t mind me uploading a couple of paragraphs – unfortunately I can’t copy across the graph – doesn’t seem to be an option in the copy/paste of WordPress ? To get the full technical descriptions, a subscription is needed..

    “Without further ado I present to you a cross-correlation function plot of the first order difference for atmospheric CO2 with HADCET mean annual temperature for the period 1659 – 2021:

    (Graph goes here …)

    The first and most obvious feature to note in this slide is the total absence of any statistically significant correlation out to ±60 years.

    What does this mean in plain English? Incredibly, it means that there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the notion of CO2 induced warming.Thus, we observe that temperature is fluctuating and CO2 is fluctuating, there being no direct and obvious causal connection between them in the real world. This is why the IPCC base their highly politicised conclusions on Earth systems models that have been programmed to support the narrative.”

    1. Martin Back

      I don’t know how John Dee managed to magic away the very clear rise in temperature of the last 30 years, consistent with the rise in CO2, if you look at the HADCET graph.

      Anyway, assuming his analysis is correct and there is no correlation between CO2 levels and temperature in Central England, that still doesn’t refute the theory of global warming.

      The key is the word GLOBAL. It is a mistake to monitor the climate in one region and extrapolate over the whole globe. Even the mighty United States covers only 1.87% of the earth’s surface. Central England must be a small fraction of this, and local influences like ocean temperatures, prevailing winds, vegetation agriculture and urbanization, etc etc may be more important than CO2.

      Thinking globally, my simplified model is the earth faces the sun for 12 hours and warms up, then flips around and faces away for 12 hours and cools down by radiating heat away into space. If the energy in equals the energy out, then the mean temperature is stable over the long term. And really, the only way to measure the energy balance is by satellite, and they have been doing the measurements for many years, and the measurements don’t contradict global warming.

      The other simplified global effect is that temperature moves from hotter to colder. Any excess heat at the tropics will move to the poles, where it will accumulate because there is nowhere else for it to go. That’s why the poles are getting warmer at twice the rate of the rest of the globe. We see this in record snowfalls in arctic regions due to increased evaporation from the warming arctic ocean, and more sea ice in Antarctica because increased fresh meltwater floating over the salty seawater freezes more easily than seawater.

      1. Eggs ‘n beer

        Has he magicked anything away? His point is one of correlation. Even if temps and CO2 have risen in tandem in the last 30 years, there are plenty of other occasions when the opposite has occurred, or the temperatures have changed dramatically (up or down) with no increase in CO2. Correlation does not equal causation.

        Nobody disputes the facts of global warming. The sun warms the globe. Certain gases act to create the greenhouse effect, without which life (as we know it, Jim) would not exist as everything would freeze at night. Global warming is just as essential as CO2.

        If GLOBAL is the key word, then please stop worrying. Everything is OK, because at the same time as Middle Earth was warming, Antarctica was cooling,

        there isn’t a global trend. Or maybe there just isn’t as much CO2 down there.

        The trouble with simple models is …. well HL Mencken summed it up with “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

        Your first simplicity falls over because heat is generated internally. If energy in equaled energy out the atmosphere would still heat up from volcanic and nuclear sources, and we wouldn’t be here as earth would never have cooled down.

        Your second simplicity fails, because if the heat flowed from the tropics to the poles and accumulated there because there’s nowhere else to go, then after a few billion years of such heat transfer the temperature difference would be almost zero by now.

        Why are you continuing with ’the sky is falling’ hysteria while ignoring the lack of science behind alarmist claims?

        1. Steve

          IMO, Any arguments for global warming/climate change/other BS are irrelevant if they consider such an insignificant period as thirty years. The trend amongst the climate loons is to try and blame every single weather event on mankind, frankly it’s mad and anti science.
          Apparently, we had record temperatures during our recent summer (the hot bit in the middle of the year) but here’s an alternative explanation for that event:

          Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring, it’s all natural !

  41. imnoclue

    I believe when the This Week In Virology Podcast, of which I’m a fan, covered that particular Lancet retraction, they characterized it as a pro-Ivermectin article that was retracted due to data fraud, as if it was unthinkable that an anti-ivermectin article could be fabricated.

  42. johnsymes

    It is not possible to work out what is going on with the brief fragment posted by Wayne H on this climate change topic because the article itself is behind a paywall – ironically considering the discussions in the rest of the post. The graph that we can see in not of CO2 and temperature, but some sort of devious correlation co-efficient, but we cannot discover what. The correlation (?causation) of the raw data of temperature and CO2 over the decades is absolutely obvious

  43. Howard Kendall

    Have you read “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling published by Sceptre Books .You will like his approach . Best Wishes Howard

  44. Andrew H

    Looking forward to Part 2.
    It will be interesting to see what happens with results from The James Webb Telescope and the Big Bang Theory.
    It fits much of the evidence so far , but they have had to put in “Dark matter” & “Dark Energy” to make it fit the observations. Tortured more like but fine for peer reviewers.
    If it was presented as a theory today – it would be rejected immediately.
    But there are so many researchers/scientists who have vested interests in keeping it going.
    Already the James Webb Telescope is seeing fully formed galaxies only 300 million years after “the big bang”. Will spectra of their stars show an absence of heavy elements? As there would not have been enough supernovae to form them.
    Remember less than 100 years ago, the Andromeda galaxy was known as the Great Spiral Nebula in our own galaxy.
    Plus before Apollo, most of the peer reviewers in tweed coats said that most of the craters on the moon were volcanic. They even drew maps of lava flows! Now? Everything is an impact crater, and look at it through a telescope,it is bleeding obvious. A child could see that.

    1. Steve

      Andrew. The physicists and astronomers are very open and, IMO, honest about dark matter and dark energy being just a place marker for something they don’t understand. Investigations and research may change everything and this is at odds with the medical scientific community where results and settled science is driven by big pharma. There is no pay off for big multinationals if the big bang theory is right or wrong, pure science can afford to be unsettled, medical science can’t.

      1. Sasha

        It’s not always about money, is it? Scientific theories have a way of surviving for other reasons. AFAIK, there are arguments against both the Big Bang and Darwin’s theory, just to take the big two.

        1. Eggs ‘n beer

          You’re right, in that there are questions over the Big Bang and Darwin. But there are no patents or copyrights involved, so open discussion is allowed. Nothing to involve money. But in the medical, or agricultural fields well, it used to be said that ‘money talks’, but in reality it is ‘money muzzles’.

          1. Sasha

            How about research careers and further funding in evolutionary biology and astronomy? That’s money isn’t it? Something worth protecting. Not to mention big egos.

          2. Eggs ‘n beer

            By and large that funding is via a begging bowl. Mere petty cash in comparison to the real money that is fire-hosed at ‘research’ that enhances and fulfils the narrative.

  45. nestorseven

    A great read. Although my faith in evidence based science has taken a further hit. It’s all political and marketing based.

  46. Paul Murphy

    I agree peer review is not working. What is not clear, however, is what to replace it with.

    At present the problem with peer review is that it really is peer (equals) review: so people of equal views and standing with respect to the editorial group are asked to serve as reviewers and that locks out people who have not achieved this level of standing and/or do not share the annointed opinions.

    So how to fix this? One option I like would use anonymous papers and commenters on an archiv like server – except that the comment writing process would periodically be interrupted by pop-up questions specific to the subject matter. The answer process would be time limited to prevent google lookups and the questions varied enough to make multiple attempts difficult but easy enough that someone working in the field would be able to answer them in a second or two. Comments would then be weighted by demonstrated expertise.

    Papers that survive the review process would then be amended as appropriate and moved to a different archive with the author’s names shown.

    1. Paul Fruitbat

      If, as a non-scientist who has never been through the peer review mill, I may make an observation…

      Surely peer review has never been able, or expected, to evaluate the quality, accuracy, or reliability of a paper? If the paper is really original, especially if it draws on new data, I don’t see how any outsider – no matter how brilliant – could evaluate it accurately.

      As far as I can see, peer review is mostly a kind of very coarse triage: experts trying to decide which papers look as if they might be worth while, and which look like non-starters.

      Well, if that ever worked it stopped working when researchers caught on and started working the system. Peer review might just about be able to separate the sheep from the goats when everyone is being perfectly open and honest. But when authors and institutions start gaming the process in pursuit of money and prestige, forget it.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I agree. All systems, like peer-review – start with good intentions, then gradually become taken over and corrupred by vested interests and bias. [I view Wikipedia in the same light].

        It is a never ending battle to try and maintain high standards, and usually requires external bodies to police the system and keep it clean. In this case, there are no external bodies. Journal editors should act as the police, but in many cases they are the most biased of all. Sadly. Their bosses want the money that comes from advertising, and reprints, and the prestige of publishing the lates monster, pharma funded, clinical trial that will hit the headlines around the world. Too much pressure to conform to the mighty dollar.

        1. Geoff

          I would like to point out that many systems also appear to start out by claiming good intentions, whereas the true intent was no doubt fraud from the beginning.

          Indeed, nearly 2,000 years ago, Lucian of Samosata wrote that he may not cleanse the Augean stable completely, but that he would do his best in his expose of Alexander of Abonoteichos who became rich, famous and highly respected via impudent, audacious, and astonishing medical fraud.

          Lucian’s comments on the ancient quack are both entertaining and instructive and can be found at this link.:

          1. Eggs ‘n beer

            Lol! The more things change, the more they stay the same. I don’t think we’d get away with “the doings of a person whose deserts entitled him not to be read about by the cultivated, but to be torn to pieces in the amphitheatre by apes or foxes, with a vast audience looking on.” nowadays though, the animal rights people would be up in arms. However I think his manner of death (his leg mortifying from foot to groin and being eaten of worms) is a fitting end for the modern day Alexander of Abonoteichoses.

    2. Steve

      Paul. The problem is, IMO, research is not done in a vacuum. In specialist areas most of the researchers are known to each other – and there is the issue of the research funding. This means that reviews really need to be done in the open.
      Maybe a standard review checklist could be developed to weed out some of the most contentious issues ?

    1. Geoff

      Here’s support for that view.

      “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

      -Marcia Angell MD
      Volume 56, Number 1 . January 15, 2009
      Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption By Marcia Angell,

    2. Martin Back

      David Gorski, a surgical oncologist, attempts a takedown of John Ioannidis:
      What the heck happened to John Ioannidis?

      Gorski quotes some extremely dubious CDC figures to “prove” that Ioannidis underestimated the IFR of Covid-19 by an order of magnitude. When Ioannidis gives some background on a PhD student who published some tweets critical of his work, Gorski opines “This has to be the most egregious ad hominem that I’ve ever seen” and proceeds to pile into Ioannidis by quoting a string of completely unmotivated ad hominem attacks.

      I’m sorry, but if this is the best argument the promoters of the “Covid is deadly; only the vax can save you” story can dredge up, Ioannidis’s stellar reputation is safe.

      1. thecovidpilot

        Something has been pestering me…is mild covid a totally different disease from moderate/severe covid? It seems that mild covid is a viral disease potentially treatable early with antivirals, but moderate/severe covid is an immuno-inflammatory disease perhaps treatable with anticoagulants, antiinflammatories, and antihistamines. (Of course, cases of moderate/severe covid begin as mild covid.) If this is true, then it seems that journal articles combining cases of mild covid with moderate/severe covid are muddying the water.

        I’d like to get all sorts of opinions on this–especially medical opinions.

        1. AhNotepad

          Is it “covid” of any sort? How does anybody know? When tese transitory illnesses came along before 2020 jt was flu, which would occur at various strengths. Why do most people claim “covid” now instead of flu? I think it is because they have stopped critical thought and just believe what they are told.

          1. Steve

            Apparently, just like Pacman, the Covid virus ate the Flu virus, such that it disappeared in 2020. All hail Covid.
            Friends, of the jabbed variety, keep coming up to me at regular intervals to tell me they have caught Covid again, and again. I always ask “how do you know ?”; Answer “We got tested !”. There’s the problem. What did they do with the Flu ?
            I suspect the difference between mild ‘Covid’ and severe ‘Covid’ is related to age, general health, fitness and Comorbidities.

          2. Eggs 'n beer

            How do they manage that? On the very rare occasions (just finished the box of five RATs) when we think we might have covid and take a test they’re always negative. We’re starting to feel inferior at BBQ’s because we don’t have any covid tales to compare.

  47. JDPatten

    Dr. Kendrick,
    You told us above that you yourself did a peer review on a paper ypou thought was worthwhile having to do with LDL.

    Please, if it’s worthwhile, tell us about the paper. Title? Link?


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