You may recall how I had to refute the claims by Mark Chu-Carroll on his blog “Good Math Bad math” that everyone who posts on viXra.org is a crank. When I was asked for a counterexample I pointed to my own contributions. He failed to find any fault in my work but never admitted his error either. Since then he tried to take my advice to concentrate more on the “good math” but he has recently stopped the blog altogether citing dissatisfaction with the policies of scienceblogs.com
Mark Chu-Carroll is a computer scientist working for Google. Somebody pointed out that it always seems to be computer scientists who think they can debunk “crank science” even though they have little expertise in the subjects under question. Another example of this has now surfaced over a rationalwiki.org, a whole wiki site dedicated to debunking bad science and criticising religion.
Rationalwiki now has a section about viXra on their arXiv entry page that currently reads as follows:
“The cranks, not wishing to put up with this sort of thing, started a competitor: viXra, “founded by scientists who find they are unable to submit their articles to arXiv.org because of Cornell University’s policy of endorsements and moderation designed to filter out e-prints that they consider inappropriate.” Given some of the lunacy available on arXiv, we’d like you to just pause for a moment and contemplate what sort of content viXra accumulates. The scientific world is mostly amused.“
The second reference to “the scientific world” is linked to some anonymous posts on scienceforums.net. This is typical of the quality of citation used by rationalwiki to back up its claims.
Since I am the guy who started viXra, this means that I am being called a crank again, sigh. For the record I have a first class degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in physics from the University of Glasgow. I was a double silver medal winner at the International Mathematical Olympiads of 1977/1978. I have authored a number of articles in the Usenet Physics FAQ. I was also a Senior Vice President in the Fixed Income Analytics department of a major investment bank up until my retirement. Despite my relatively short time in academia I have 10 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 4 of them were published while working as an independent scientist. Two of my physics papers are listed in the TOPCITE 50+ section of SPIRES. One of them was published in 1986 yet it is still read and had its 50th citation this year. A number theory paper I published independently in 2006 has 36 citations. I also had 14 submissions accepted into arXiv.org before they introduced their endorsement policy that prevents me from using it further. One of my physics papers in arXiv.org has 47 citations according to Google Scholar, despite never being published elsewhere. OK, these things are nothing outstanding, but they are not the hallmarks of a crank either and I had never been called a crank before starting viXra.
So who is the genius who has identified me as a crank now? Apparently it’s some guy called David Gerard who works as a sysadmin in London. I wonder if such idiocy will ever cease.