The Scientific Method has a lot in common with The Catholic Church
You are not simply attacking an idea—but a publishing empire!
Academics, and I do mean the sciences, have become akin to The Catholic Church—at least in Peer Review.
Instead of meeting with Bishops and kissing the rings of Cardinals, you meet with your “peers” and let them all take turns trying to assassinate your career. You offer up years of work on a silver platter for them to dismiss in a second.
Let me paint you a picture:
An author a long time ago wrote a book. This book was written towards the end of the 19th century. In it he made outrageous claims, (I don't want to attempt to sway you to think his claim is “outrageous” so, reader, please read the quote and decide for yourself) such as “There will be no more scientific advancements made in the 20th century.”
Now, hopefully, we all know this is not true. I don't have to list examples do I? Okay here is one:
- E = mc2
Don't worry the book wasn't immensely popular. However, it did influence many prominent intellectuals of the 20th Century. These intellectuals, even postmortem, have publishing empires and their estates and foundations command an immense amount of power. It influenced some to such a degree they based entire theories on it. And not theories that really don't effect us like the quantum physics of a black hole—Hawking Radiation doesn't directly impact your electric bill, your commute to work, or your tax filing—but public policy (like the economy) and foreign policy (like how we shape our Chinese foreign policy!)
Here is where the Catholic Church part comes in. A long time ago, the hoi polloi (I finally get to use that word) began to realize the impossibility of Eden ever existing. “No problemo,” you say, “it was all old testament anyway.” Well here is the problem: If you disprove Eden, then Jesus died for nothing. And the whole Catholic religion falls into calamity. Eden must exist to make the Christ sacrifice significant. The Holy See declared it blasphemy to question the existence of Eden. And if anyone thought to question or attack the idea of Eden ever existing—they were undermining all of Christendom! The Catholic Church was scared of losing money.
Now, we have the same problem with some of the intelligentsia. They often subscribe to vague notions of what exactly the current situation of the world is. These are not guys who simply write on a blog about the end of the world as we know it, but these are people who actually shape how we interact with each other. The ideas they have from a very crazy author pose a very real threat to all of us.
And to attack the original crackpot author of the book, is to attack their publishing empires directly—and those in the publishing company's envoy—namely your “peers”.
You cannot simply say, “Fuck it! I'll publish it anyway." Because if you do not submit it to peer review —you may as well have never done any research. It will never be recognized.
Now do you see how science and religion have much more in common than we care to think?