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Re: [ontolog-forum] research cartels

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 11:24:25 -0500
Message-id: <4B4DF3B9.1060506@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat, Paola, and Mike,    (01)

I agree with Pat about Professor Bauer:    (02)

PH> Please, NOBODY take this man Bauer seriously. He is a complete
 > kook, with viciously racist and homophobic views.    (03)

Paola's warning about ad hominem remarks should be qualified:    (04)

PDM> it would be great if you could criticise the paper and its
 > content rather than criticising a researcher personal opinion
 > on issues not related to the topic of discussion    (05)

General qualification:    (06)

    Paranoid people can serve as a useful early warning system,
    if you are willing to tolerate a high volume of false alarms.    (07)

Specific qualification:    (08)

    Bauer has many character flaws in addition to his anger
    at having his proposals rejected (for good reasons) and his
    paranoia about anything that conflicts with his prejudices.    (09)

MB> Knowledge is idempotent and therefore cannot be subject to monopoly.    (010)

I'll pass on the "idempotent" metaphor, but I agree that knowledge is
not subject to monopoly -- primarily because any idea can be copied
and recycled with minimal effort.    (011)

Quotation from Bauer's article:    (012)

HHB> Increasingly corporate organization of science has led to
 > knowledge monopolies, which, with the unwitting help of uncritical
 > mass media, effect a kind of censorship. Since corporate scientific
 > organizations also control the funding of research, by denying
 > funds for unorthodox work they function as research cartels as
 > well as knowledge monopolies.    (013)

The Internet has made it impossible to monopolize knowledge, but
I agree that organizations with large sources of funding develop
"hype machines" that distort the amount of attention (and further
funding) that can be alloted to or withdrawn from ideas.    (014)

In Bauer's case, I agree that denying funding to his crazy ideas
is eminently justified.  But many good ideas have not received
the funding they deserve, and many seriously flawed ideas have
received much more funding than they deserve.  Some of the
sources that Bauer cites are sound, but each of them must be
evaluated independently of Bauer's opinions about them.    (015)

John Sowa    (016)

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