Just when I thought I’d managed to chase away the anti-crackpots by ridiculing them with the anti-crackpot index, a new one pops up! JBL is a maths graduate working on combinatorics. His unusual tactic for criticizing viXra submissions is to quote their abstract with a link and no further comment. Most anti-crackpots at least manage some rhetoric but for JBL just saying nothing seems to be enough. It has to be said that this level of criticism makes it hard to respond with any kind of defense. It was not until yesterday when he started to explain his actions that he was identified as yet another anti-crackpot.
JBL admits that he does not understand much physics so he just looks at a few of the viXra articles, yet he claims to have shown that viXra is a failure. This is despite the fact that viXra has very modest aims to allow anyone to freely publish their work. I like to think that my series of article on “crackpots” who were right shows why this is needed. With over 1800 articles in under two years it can hardly be said to have failed. Of course not everything on viXra is the highest quality of research, but there is a lot here that is of value to science and the goal is to ensure that nothing that might be of value will be lost. The professional scientific community as a whole hates censorship and suppression, until they get to the work of amateur scientists. JBL is typical of a sector of the academic community who thinks that the work of outsiders without access to an endorser for arXiv.org should not be allowed to publish their work in any form. Happily there are others who support the role of viXra and other organisations such as FQXi where the work of independent scientists is allowed to feature along side that of professional researchers. By the way, six of the 35 authors who made the final round of the latest FQXi essay contest have used viXra to archive examples of their work in the past.
JBL’s poor level of scrutiny is indicated by his odd belief that viXra:0812.0004 was the first publication on viXra. He also claims in another post that the amount of citations used by authors on viXra is next to zero. Anybody who looks through a random sample will quickly find that only a small minority lack any references and most have a very reasonable number. It seems that he thinks he can just spout any rubbish without risk of anyone checking it.
Indeed, given his rather poor level of debate you might wonder why I even bother to point him out. The answer is that sadly some people will read what he says and believe it without checking any further. It also has to be mentioned that despite his serious accusations on his blog which at some points cross the line between nonsense and slander, he has not yet allowed my responses to appear there. I will just have to hope that people who read them will also find this. He hopes that viXra will die but I am happy to report that it is thriving and it is the anti-crackpot blogs like his that are fading away.
Update: JBL has since appologised for his postings by email and removed them from the blog.