Why did you release your research to the public before taking it through the peer-review process?
Traditionally, new scientific research is submitted to a group of other scientists for evaluation and revision BEFORE publishing and going public.
I sincerely want to know why you decided to publish, then wait for peer-review.
Thank you for your time,
That’s a fair question, one that you could probably guess is asked of us quite frequently–so we wrote an official response on our Q&A page:
Q9: Why is the Universal Model not written and published from within the scientific establishment?
A: Today, most new scientific theories and papers submitted through the scientific establishment undergo a rigorous review process where establishment-trained peers decide whether the content is worthy and fits within the confined views of their respective field. In the past, many large changes in science through new discovery have not come from within the scientific establishment, but from individuals that used an outside perspective. New theories and papers within the establishment are typically complicated, built on old theories and written to the well-schooled peer groups that continue to believe in the old theories. The Universal Model is not about complicated theories; it is about simple models that demonstrate new natural laws, which are observable in nature. This method of science is a return to the original way scientific inquiry and study was conducted centuries ago.
Essentially, it comes down to the fact that our research attempts to alter fundamental theories in nearly every major field of science. Were we to submit a single one of our hundreds of claims to a journal, it would likely be dismissed because it would contradict other fields of science that scientists “know” are correct, although we actually do have explanations for those apparent conflicts as well. That being said, we have plans to submit our research in chunks to various journals to be peer reviewed, if for no other reason than to satisfy those calling for an official peer-review of our work. Hang tight.
Another thought– The framework of the UM actually comes from peer-reviewed journal articles, college level textbooks, significant science magazines, and books written by prominent geoscientists. This work is hardly a collection of totally new observations. Rather, it is a synthesis of observations made by hundreds of scientists over the past 100+ years, with some exceptional discoveries made by UM researchers. To a large degree, it simply presents a new way of looking at essentially the same things in nature, using many of the same journal articles.
In the end, you’re right, Preston. The status quo is to put articles through the scientific establishment so they can determine on behalf of the world whether our research is at all useful. However, we decided instead to write our research in the format of a textbook instead of going through the impossibly long process of chopping up our research into isolated, bizarre claims to be reviewed over an additional number of decades. Perhaps it has been careless or selfish on our part to be so excited about what we have found that we would put our reputations, and in some cases careers, on the line so that our work could be reviewed by as many people as possible in its entirety in a very short amount of time. If we are wrong, the world can laugh at us and just move along. If we are right even 10% of the time, I’d say it’s worth it. I’m sorry that our approach is so appalling so the average scientist, but I don’t think it should be. It’s socially risky to skip the formal peer-review process, but I’d hardly say the work is not being peer-reviewed right now. Many professional scientists are reviewing our work and will have a lot to say about it publicly; it just isn’t being reviewed for publication in a journal.
Here’s a question for you, Preston. Are college textbooks typically peer reviewed? If not, then would you generally insist that all textbooks go through such a process?
Respectfully, I think you’ve approached publication the wrong way. You’re not alone. Darwin’s theory of evolution wasn’t submitted to peer review either. I think Darwin approached it the wrong way as well. Let me explain.
UM, Charles Darwin, and probably thousands of others bypass the process of peer-review, and in so doing take up a huge responsibility. Your audience will read UM, some will reject it, others will embrace it. UM is especially appealing to those who would like to find a way to reconcile science and Biblical religion. No doubt many of your acolytes will come from the ranks of the faithful looking for answers. These people have real questions, and their souls ache for answers, and at first glance UM appears to have them, so they will embrace it. That all sounds great, right? Imagine for a moment that UM is wrong. All of the UM adherents will have to come to terms with the fact that their worldview is wrong. If they make the mistake of conflating spirituality with UM, then the paradigm shift won’t be limited to their rational selves, it will transcend into spirituality as well.
People’s lives will really be affected by what UM is teaching. People’s lives were directly affected by what Darwin taught. Some people’s lives were probably destroyed by what Darwin taught. UM mentions that there was a scientific dark age because erroneous principles have been perpetuated. Peer review is how you prevent a scientific dark age. The fact that Darwin published the Origin of Species before gaining approval of the scientific community show that he didn’t understand the gravity of his responsibility.
I’m all for challenging established science, but it should not be done irresponsibly. The theory of evolution wouldn’t have been any less revolutionary had Darwin convinced the scientific community before going public. UM wouldn’t be any less revolutionary if you had convinced the scientific world before going public. Unfortunately, your cat is out of the bag. It’s too late to take the responsible choice.
That being said, you could still pull the website down. Stop selling your books to the public. Submit it to peer-reviewed journals before spreading it any further. I just became aware of UM today, but I am already aware of serious issues that need revision. I would be happy to help review UM free of charge.
Thanks for your truly insightful reply, Preston. If you are a scientist we would love to give you access to the UM to have you review it for us. Look for the Review Program under the Reviews tab. I’ll get you set up immediately if you are willing to review our work with an open mind. Thanks for this discussion!
I have signed up to help review it.
I stand by my recommendation to stop distributing the UM book until it is published in a reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journal. Judging by your first response you have obviously considered the potential repercussions in your personal life and career, but I didn’t get the impression that you were very concerned about the repercussions in the lives of your adherents if this were to be proven false.
The UM team seems to be very concerned with how bad science can suppress scientific innovation. I agree wholeheartedly. Proceed with caution.
I’m not a Scientist but the evidence is overwhelming in the UM that the geology of this planet was formed by a universal flood. As shown the science has been there all along to support this fact. For the UM to go public to avoid being brushed under the rug like dozens of other science articles I believe is the right move! Once we begin with the correct paradigm the door will be wide open for much more peer reviewed articles to expand and enlarge on what the UM has set in motion. Anyway isn’t 100 years long enough for the peer review process to aright itself on this topic? There is too much pride at stake at this point. I believe it is time for a different avenue to knock it off center and get science moving forward like technology has already done! Dennis Cox, Cedar City, Utah
Thanks for your comment, Dennis. You are not alone in believing that a universal flood was the source of the geologic record we see today. In fact, flood geology was the dominant narrative in scientific communities for hundreds of years. Early geologists were very attached to flood geology because it fit their religious worldview. When a few scientists started to bring up evidence that suggested the flood geology model was fundamentally flawed, there was immense resistance. For some of them, the cognitive dissonance was so intense that they began to believe that God could not exist if flood geology was wrong. They proposed that scientific research be guided by the Bible.
My point is that over a hundred years ago these scientists were convinced by flood geology, just like you are today Dennis. They were just as uncomfortable with modern geology as you are today. But in the light of overwhelming evidence, the scientific community shifted away from flood geology even though they had to undergo an uncomfortable paradigm shift to get there. Dennis, have you considered reading how modern geology came to win over the vast majority of flood geologists over 100 years ago?
Also, the marginalization of flood geology didn’t lead to the death of religion. I went to school at BYU, where they teach modern geology. My peers were able to balance their faith with modern geology. I’ll bet there is a religious professor of geology at SUU who would be thrilled to sit down with you and address your concerns. Have you considered hearing what a modern geologist has to say regarding flood geology?
UM team, this is exactly what I’m worried about. By neglecting your responsibility to go through the peer-review process yourselves, you pass that responsibility on to your audience. How many of them are going to take the time to peer-review your science, and look for critical opinions? What you’ve done is immoral and irresponsible.
Okay, Preston, I can’t let your silliness about religion and science continue without a response. You describe the history of the two competing philosophies of flood geology versus the new science of the day (which was magma) pretty well. But you stop short in your history lesson when you don’t give the reason for why flood geology lost out. But its so simple, and I’m guessing you know that. In a nutshell, as stated in the Universal Model which you haven’t read yet, the neptunists (flood) proponents couldn’t come up with a way to counter the vulcanists (magma) when they claimed the observable lava coming from volcanoes was their cherished magma, simply coming through the crust. It has taken 150+ years for the Universal Model to recognize the difference between the magma pseudotheory and the observable substance of lava which would have ended the debate back then had it been known. Again, Preston, if you had read the book you would know this.
As for your great concern for the spiritual welfare of the readers of the UM, because they may be fooled by the UM into believing something that isn’t real. How real are the many psuedotheories that you as a geologist teach to those same people, and what effect has those teachings had on them. You suggest that the marginalization of flood geology has not led to the death of religion, and yet your magma paradigm has led to the death of the historicity of the Universal Flood, by claiming that it is a myth and that “there will never be any evidence” for it in science, as one of your “peers” has already claimed. Well, the UM begs to differ and we don’t expect your peers to give the evidence a fair review, just as you haven’t, seeing as how you haven’t even read it. That is why the UM did not concern itself with peer review before publishing. Contrary to what your peer reviewers claim there is a tremendously significant amount of observable, verifiable evidence for a Universal Flood that can be found in the pages of the UM. You should read it, you may learn something. I promise it won’t harm your spirituality.