Christian peer review
Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia peer review is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication.We don't, after all, want science to be confused with mythology, fraud, or any type of error or dishonesty. When flying on an aircraft, for example, you don't want the calculations used to design it to include a miracle, or other superstitious nonsense.
Of the various types of peer review, my study is most concerned with the scholarly:
- Scholarly peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field, before a paper describing this work is published in a journal or as a book. The peer review helps the publisher (that is, the editor-in-chief or the editorial board) deciding whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected.
Of these criticisms, these two seem most apt (emphasis by me):
Criticism of peer reviewVarious editors have expressed criticism of peer review.[Rennie D, Flanagin A, Smith R, Smith J (March 19, 2003). "Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication: Call for Research". JAMA 289 (11): 1438. doi:10.1001/jama.289.11.1438.][Horton, Richard (2000). "Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion, and crack-up". MJA 172 (4): 148–9. PMID 10772580.]
Allegations of bias and suppressionThe interposition of editors and reviewers between authors and readers may enable the intermediators to act as gatekeepers. Some sociologists of science argue that peer review makes the ability to publish susceptible to control by elites and to personal jealousy. The peer review process may suppress dissent against "mainstream" theories. Reviewers tend to be especially critical of conclusions that contradict their own views, and lenient towards those that match them. At the same time, established scientists are more likely than others to be sought out as referees, particularly by high-prestige journals/publishers. As a result, ideas that harmonize with the established experts' are more likely to see print and to appear in premier journals than are iconoclastic or revolutionary ones. This accords with Thomas Kuhn's well-known observations regarding scientific revolutions. A theoretical model has been established whose simulations imply that peer review and over-competitive research funding foster mainstream opinion to monopoly.
Assumption fallacies during advocacyPeer review advocates often assume that anyone criticizing peer review "must" have a particular pet theory they have never got published in peer review journals. They also assume that it must be their sole reason for criticizing peer review. This way, peer review advocates commit logical fallacies of a kind that jeopardize falsifiability, ignoring the fact that peer review can be criticized for general ineffectiveness without any one particular pet theory.
54. Bradley, James V. (1981). "Pernicious Publication Practices". Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 18: 31–34. doi:10.3758/bf03333562.Further: Good science does not have to be published in the peer-reviewed literature. Groundbreaking scientific books, like Darwin's Origin of the Species or Newton's Principia were not published in peer-reviewed journals.[Problems with Peer-Review: A Brief Summary by Casey Luskin, February 10, 2012]
55. "British scientists exclude 'maverick' colleagues, says report" (2004) EurekAlert Public release date: August 16, 2004
56. Higgs, Robert (May 7, 2007). "Peer Review, Publication in Top Journals, Scientific Consensus, and So Forth". Independent Institute. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
57. Brian Martin, "Suppression Stories" (1997) in Fund for Intellectual Dissent ISBN 0-646-30349-X
58. See also Juan Miguel Campanario, "Rejecting Nobel class articles and resisting Nobel class discoveries", cited in Nature, October 16, 2003, Vol 425, Issue 6959, p.645
59. Campanario, Juan Miguel; Martin, Brian; Martin (Fall 2004). "Challenging dominant physics paradigms". Journal of Scientific Exploration 18 (3): 421–38. Bibcode:2008atcr.book...11C.
60. "... they may strongly resist a rival's hypothesis that challenges their own." Malice's Wonderland: Research Funding and Peer Review Journal of Neurobiology 14, No. 2., pp. 95–112 (1983).
61. Francisco Grimaldo and Mario Paolucci (14 March 2013). "A simulation of disagreement for control of rational cheating in peer review". Advances in Complex Systems 16: 1350004. doi:10.1142/S0219525913500045.
62. See also: Sophie Petit-Zeman, "Trial by peers comes up short" (2003) The Guardian, Thursday January 16, 2003
63. H. Fang. "Peer review and over-competitive research funding fostering mainstream opinion to monopoly", Scientometrics 87(2), pp. 293-301 (2011)
64. Smith, Richard W. (2009). "In Search of an Optimal Peer Review System". Journal of Participatory Medicine 1.
Now to be more specific, personal even. One factor alone stops me submitting work to professional archaeology journals: the demand that for dates, I must use Anno Domini and Before Jesus Christ:
Dates should be quoted AD/BC (or ad/bc if radiocarbon). (Notes for Contributors, current archaeology)You understand that as the whole of my point is to contradict Christian tradition and historicity, that demand would make it impossible for me to submit.
Where else could I go? What about BAR: Biblical Archaeology Review? I am not a biblical scholar and I do not accept validity of the term 'biblical archaeology'. Even so, I asked about the process and was told that after submitting, to wait a year at least. They too use Anno Domini and Before Jesus Christ.
There are, of course, a mass of theological journals on biblical matters. The problem with them is peer review, because of who owns and edits them. Here's one:
This is not unique to Edinburgh, for all our oldest universities were first established as religious, Christian institutions. For all the later additions, the departments of divinity and theology remain. And you see my problem: the very basis for this institution is opposed to my history.
Centre for the Study of Christian OriginsThe Centre for the Study of Christian Origins (CSCO) was established to promote research on the emergence and developments in Christianity in the first two centuries of the common era.
Initial purposeThe main initial purpose in establishing the CSCO was to link relevant researchers in the University of Edinburgh and beyond, so that lines of research convergence can be identified and fostered.
It is hoped that the trans-confessional and trans-disciplinary nature of research on Christian origins will be demonstrated and facilitated.
CSCO represents a particular concern to bridge the study of the New Testament and second-century Christianity.
It provides a means of linking interested scholars in several traditional disciplines, such as:
- New Testament/Christian Origins
- Roman History
- Second-Temple Judaism
The guardian of this particular gate - Edinburgh - has been and probably is still Larry Hurtado:
Larry Hurtado (born 1943) is a New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Professor 1996-2011). He was the Head of the School of Divinity 2007-2010, and was until August 2011 Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins, at the University of Edinburgh.He is, naturally, a strong defender of his peer review (and in equally-strong measure, critical of those outside his magic circle):
He was elected a member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas in 1984, and received the Rh Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship and Research in the Humanities in 1986. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008, and President of the British New Testament Society from 2009 to 2012. He has won research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the British Academy, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). He has given invited lectures in many universities in the UK and other countries, and was a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University in Australia in 2005.
...genuinely scholarly claims are submitted for review by other scholars competent to judge matters.In my opinion, he knows nothing of early Christianity, accepting, as he does, the textual tradition which I describe as mythological and largely fraudulent, and the historicity of a first-century "Jesus Christ". He continues the Christian claims over pagan symbols (both the New Testament abbreviations also known to Christian scholars as nomina sacra, and the Chi-Rho. He is not my peer by any stretch of the imagination and I regard his institute as a shelter for apologists. Ask him to consider anything I write? It would be a joke in poor taste.
This scholarly critique should form part of doing a PhD, with supervisor(s) and examiners assessing the validity of the thesis as it progresses and then is submitted for examination. This is why a PhD in the field is a good earmark of someone with competence and also someone who understands the scholarly process.
(Peer Review and Biblical Studies Scholarship, Larry Hurtado, October 21, 2013)
This brings us to my point: peer review in this field cannot work, for it is owned by Christian institutions, managed by Christians whose work is to support the (false) textual tradition and the New Testament as a sacred, god-given collection of work. I do not respect their qualifications - they might as well be experts in Lord of the Rings, pretending it is all historical.
No university is more prestigious than Oxford.
While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest surviving university. (The University of Oxford)It began as a religious institution, to teach clerics, and has always retained its religious character.
As early as 1193, Alexander Neckham from St Albans gave biblical and moral lectures on the Psalms of David and the Wisdom of Solomon. One of the first university buildings was the Divinity School, begun in 1423 specifically for theology lectures. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford)
The History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century by T H Aston, Clarendon Press, 1994
This is the system of education Britain exported across the world, ensuring how the textual traditions of other religions have also been accepted as historical in a sort of "I won't question yours if you don't question mine" approach.
Now, look at how I describe myself: a shovelbum - a bum with a shovel; I am not writing a dissertation, nor am I a professor, or any other academic. For half a century, I've had a desire to learn what happened in the first century and since I more-or-less achieved that, I've been curious to learn how divine men of the Roman Empire were conjured into existence. Whatever answers I've come up with are a revelation to me, for I had little or no preconceptions (I was too ignorant, for neither am I a classicist): I've been drawn to them just by following the basic rules of archaeology and historiography..
I live and work mainly in England thus, by English law and English governance. This is not a secular state, for we have long had an Established Church with bishops living in palaces, with chauffeur-driven limousines (whilst describing themselves as The Poor), and sitting in parliament's Upper House. Virtually all our major institutions are Christian and many are by royal charter, and this includes major universities and the British Museum. Our monarchy is made "special" through baptism (which is Greek Magic) and secret consecration. I checked how our school curriculum treats Christianity and eventually found a requirement to treat the New Testament as historical. Our powers that be are unlikely to tear down the pillars that hold themselves aloft over us; they have a studied disinterest - at best - in anything I have to say.
|Bishop Christopher Hill was awarded (a Lambeth) Doctor of Divinity by Archbishop Justin Welby in recognition of his significant contribution to the life of the church over many years. (2014)|
The Lambeth Degree is a real academic award. The candidates are exempt from both residential and examination requirements and the awards are made, on merit, in recognition of their particular contributions to religious, academic and public life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s right to grant degrees of the realm is derived from the Peter’s Pence Act of 1533 which empowered the Archbishop to grant dispensations previously granted by the Pope.
(Archbishop of Canterbury awards Lambeth Degrees)
Although these are commonly termed “Lambeth Degrees”, the Archbishop is not a university and the degrees he awards are full degrees of the Realm. The Archbishop is noted as an institution authorised to award degrees in a Statutory Instrument made under the 1988 Education Act.
...a Degree of the Realm, which can only be awarded to subjects who take the Oath of Allegiance to the monarch of the United KingdomThere is no real peer-review in the field I study; having a degree in unicorns farting rainbows, writing in support of magic and a false textual tradition carry no weight, but rather repel me. So this irks some - as it should, especially all those who bow to authority (in religion, or - frankly - in any field).
My series of theses - for a new religion, Chrestianity, for the absence of Christianity until at least the medieval period, for the Christian textual tradition being fake, for Christianity misappropriating from other and earlier religions, people and events - and my demands for changes in methodology, such as the need to date manuscripts more reliably, for the need for historians to follow the rules of historiography and for archaeologists to think more for themselves rather than follow historians who do not apply the same rules, seem to set me apart from everyone else.
Let me make clear, I do not claim to be brighter, or better educated than others; my arguments may well have some holes in them; others certainly could present my arguments better than can I (and in recent years I lost some of my mental capacity due to strokes). None of this makes any difference to how right, or wrong I may be. I am either on the right track, or not; if I am on the right and others on the wrong, then their better arguments cannot compensate for their errors.
|Equestrian statue of Charlemagne in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican.|
The problem for us, now, is that the states of the resultant Christendom codified and institutionalised this new religion; in the fashion of imperial Rome and as they built anew, they also remade history as they expunged the original records. Worse, these new institutions would protect themselves as they defended the state, so we arrive in the modern world corrupted.
All I've done is look at a series of cultural layers, observed what is there and tried to interpret; I refuse to describe what is not there.
My book submission has been well received by the publisher's editorial committee and I am now working on the remainder. It isn't literature, but it is the best I can do.
The State must stop using universities to teach superstition
Royal baptism will inspire - Welby