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Thread: The true face of The Skeptic

  1. #1 The true face of The Skeptic 
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    Read how The Skeptic accepted a skeptical article for publicatuion in Skeptic magazine, but caved to pressure and did not publish it:

    http://reverent.org/ufo_skeptic/


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I can see that you would be disappointed in the end-result. Who would not be? We all like to see our work admired, our hypotheses validated, our ideas spread like seed on fertile ground.

    However, the concerns about your work seem reasonable and the practical considerations surrounding the operation of a publishing business add their own veneer of complication. Were you hard done by? I think not. Should you be disappointed? Only if you are human.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    The English professors' criticism is perfectly valid.

    It doesn't follow that great writing is derived from great prose style. In fact, Dickens is generally regarded as a rather poor and hum-drum prose stylist, with occasional moments of genius, like the opening and closing lines of A Tale of Two Cities. You don't seem to understand how literary critics value work, they look at the influence on other writers, innovations that catch on, general expressions of certain ideas.

    Nor does it follow that the average reader is an adequate judge of literary quality. You seem to suggest that by virtue of being educated people would be educated in respect to literature? Have you ever taken a literature course, are you aware of Dickens' links to earlier writers like Fielding, Burney, and Austen, his relation to other serialist authors of his time. Then his influence on subsequent writers like Henry James or Oscar Wilde. That is how genius is measured, on enduring impact and overall effect. We look at Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and we can see it would never be performed if it were a new play today, because it is a product of its time. Its value lies largely in its influence, partly derived from Aristotle's Poetics, on the writing of tragedies in the West.

    In fact, most people educated in relatively the same tradition will write prose that is rather indistinguishable from others. Your conclusions simply don't follow from your data.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It doesn't follow that great writing is derived from great prose style.
    It is very obvious that a peace of writing has apart from style some content. I can give you the following example. Recently I took a SCUBA course and had to read a manual. It was not in great style but contained useful knowledge. Your comments are both in bad style and useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Have you ever taken a literature course, are you aware
    What do you want to teach me? Read Dickens?
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I notice that I_feel_tiredsleepy writes grammatically correct English, properly punctuated, in well constructed sentences, free of typographical error.

    I leave you to fill in the unspoken and unwritten words, but ask you to ponder this question. How much weight would you give to a literary critic who is apparently illiterate?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    However, the concerns about your work seem reasonable
    Which concerns, this

    The test seemed to me to be based on a nerd misconception
    or this

    We don't want to look like the dorks
    ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    and the practical considerations surrounding the operation of a publishing business add their own veneer of complication.
    The problems were caused by editors' inability to select interesting papers. Even if it is true that they had shortened the magazine (Shermer does not say this in his preface on eSkeptic) they could have cut a boring article, rather than a controversial one.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    However, the concerns about your work seem reasonable
    Which concerns, this
    The test seemed to me to be based on a nerd misconception
    or this
    We don't want to look like the dorks
    You are clearly offended (and apparently emotional) about these criticisms. They must be painful for you. However, you are being extremely selective in the portions of the statements you are quoting.

    The essence of the criticism is that what makes Dickens a great author has very little to do with his prose style and everything to do with character, plot and social commentary. None of those can be detected with the quiz you gave (in which, incidentally, I scored the bog average 50%). Do you assert this criticism is wholly invalid, or irrelevant, or what?

    Your study is intriguing and entertaining. The same person who offended you with 'the nerd misconception' also said they were quite taken with the idea. It is amusing. It is not, however, meaningful in terms of a critique of Dickens. It is, indeed, the whole cloth on which he must be judged.

    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    and the practical considerations surrounding the operation of a publishing business add their own veneer of complication.
    The problems were caused by editors' inability to select interesting papers.
    There is no problem from the editors point of view. There is no problem from my point of view. The problem, from your point of view, is that the editors found your work less interesting than you felt they ought. Tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Even if it is true that they had shortened the magazine they could have cut a boring article, rather than a controversial one.
    I think there conclusion was that your article was not so much controversial as wrong headed. Such a judgement clearly has a strong subjective element in it. That is hardly surprising in the field of literature. I really think you would be better off putting this episode behind you rather than cherry picking their correspondence to fuel your fury.
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    Having an article rejected by a magazine is the normal state of affairs for one who writes for a magazine. If your articles aren't getting rejected by editors, you aren't writing many articles.

    they could have cut a boring article, rather than a controversial one.
    Some would argue that they did. I read Skeptic every month and I'd have to say that one would be an article I'd likely skip entirely with a yawn.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    How much weight would you give to a literary critic who is apparently illiterate?
    Whom are you talking about? Faulkner?

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/05/hbc-90000036
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    How much weight would you give to a literary critic who is apparently illiterate?
    Whom are you talking about? Faulkner?

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/05/hbc-90000036
    Entirely meaningless, Faulkner wrote in Stream of Consciousness style, it is deliberately ungrammatical. Especially, considering he often took on the voice of the mentally handicapped and the uneducated.

    Edit: Next you'll be criticizing James Joyce for making up words, entirely missing the point of what kind of aesthetic effect such ungrammatical writing has.

    Edit2: Or here take this extract written by Dadaist author Gertrude Stein.

    "To be regularly gay was to do every day the gay thing that they did every day. To be regularly gay was to end every day at the same time after they had been regularly gay. They were regularly gay. They were gay every day. They ended every day in the same way, at the same time, and they had been every day regularly gay."

    You may react by saying this prose is repetitive and nonsensical. However, that is not the point at all, Stein was trying to achieve an effect with this writing, part of a story that repeats the word gay around 500 times in a few pages. She was responding to modernist trends of atonality and literary automatic writing. We can debate whether this achieves something interesting or not, whether the aesthetic effect is pleasing or interesting. However, it would entirely miss the point to dismiss Stein on the basis that her writing is not conforming to standard English prose.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    How much weight would you give to a literary critic who is apparently illiterate?
    Whom are you talking about? Faulkner?
    Certainly not Faulkner. That would be absurd.

    A preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with. :wink:
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Having an article rejected by a magazine is the normal state of affairs for one who writes for a magazine. If your articles aren't getting rejected by editors, you aren't writing many articles.
    The point is that the article was ACCEPTED by the editor and galley proof was sent before it was verboten (similar to the scientists who do not read the papers they cite forum posters do not read the article they comment on).

    Another point is that the reference to my another article, where I reported similar results for the art quiz is misteriously missing in the proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I read Skeptic every month
    It is more like quarterly.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    How much weight would you give to a literary critic who is apparently illiterate?
    Whom are you talking about? Faulkner?
    I was talking about you.

    No magazine or publisher owes you anything. They have no obligation to place your work in print. They are perfectly free to change their plans for publishing your work at any time unless you have some contract with them that requires they fulfill certain obligations. I imagine the publishing field is a dynamic one in which interest, deamnds, fashion, commercial interests and the like are always varying.

    I think you need to face it: your article didn't cut it for this publication. Try another, or rewrite the article, or move on. The petulant attitude is becoming tiresome.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    .

    A preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with. :wink:
    It is an outrage, up with which I cannot put.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by simus
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Having an article rejected by a magazine is the normal state of affairs for one who writes for a magazine. If your articles aren't getting rejected by editors, you aren't writing many articles.
    The point is that the article was ACCEPTED by the editor and galley proof was sent before it was verboten (similar to the scientists who do not read the papers they cite forum posters do not read the article they comment on).

    Another point is that the reference to my another article, where I reported similar results for the art quiz is misteriously missing in the proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I read Skeptic every month
    It is more like quarterly.
    I actually did read try to read the article and abandoned it. I followed your link, found the article link... but it didn't interest me.

    You're spending all your time crying over spilled milk when you can just crack open your Writer's Market and send the article elsewhere. I know of at least two authors personally who had accepted articles that were pulled at the last minute for editorial reasons. The practice isn't uncommon.

    And, yes, I was aware Skeptic is quarterly. I always seem to get my mailed issue just after it hits the stands at my local Barnes and Noble. But since it sits in my bathroom and gets read for about 10-15 minutes at a time, I do seem to read it every month! :-)

    Even though I obviously mean I read it regularly -along with Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry as well as several journals relating to archaeology, anthropology and general science.

    Market your article somewhere else. Stop whining about the big, bad editor who dissed you. Just because I find it a boring topic, doesn't mean others won't like it.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    We all like to see our work admired, our hypotheses validated, our ideas spread like seed on fertile ground.
    Some just would like to see, and some do see. If you read the paper you should know that it was based on the statistical analysis of over nine thousand test results. And the total number of people who took the test is about fifteen thousand. My other test, on modern art, was taken by over three hundred thousand people. So my ideas do spread just like you said. Just there was an attempt to stop them.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    You are clearly offended (and apparently emotional) about these criticisms. They must be painful for you.
    I posted those quotes because they are funny (look who says them and about whom).
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    I can see that you would be disappointed in the end-result. Who would not be? We all like to see our work admired, our hypotheses validated, our ideas spread like seed on fertile ground.
    http://www.nzzfolio.ch/www/21b625ad-...73d08771b.aspx
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  20. #19  
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    Why do you think its interesting?

    BTW Daily mail is an atrocious news source so why do you use it as a reference?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Why do you think its interesting?
    Because the commenters here were sure it will never see light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    BTW Daily mail is an atrocious news source so why do you use it as a reference?
    Any concrete mistakes or misrepresentation?
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    No, they weren't saying that. YOU are making that baseless assertion.

    Regarding Daily Mail. Not evenWikipedia regards it as a factually reliable source for use.

    What exactly is you purpose in the constant rants about your vilification of art and literature.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    No, they weren't saying that. YOU are making that baseless assertion.
    Just read the comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Regarding Daily Mail. Not evenWikipedia regards it as a factually reliable source for use.
    And Daily Mail regards Wikipedia as an unreliable source.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    What exactly is you purpose in the constant rants about your vilification of art and literature.
    That is you who is ranting. I give experimental data.

    Why did Cambridge students vilify Longfellow's poem when his name was detached from it?
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  24. #23  
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    I did read the comments. And my statement stands.

    Daily mail is not a reliable source to use for your assertions. Also neither is the creationist apologetics website you continue to link to.

    You have not answered my question,

    What is your purpose in the constant rants and vilification of art and literature?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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