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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
Posted in Science / Social Sciences / Sociology

What is Expected of Scientific Papers and Books Publishing New Discoveries or Ideas?

Jun. 29, 2015 9:24 am
Categories: Dysology

Public Domain

Gwyn Macfarlane

When we realize, in hindsight, the dazzling uncontested tremendous consequences for knowledge that have flowed from an original observation in a book or peer-reviewed journal article, we might be forgiven for failing to see weakness in that publication.

Writing on this very topic, in terms of scientific papers only, the highly esteemed hematologists Gwyn Macfralane (CBE, FRS) (1984, p 133) tells us:

'As to what is expected of scientific papers, they should be written in such a way that the reader, if he wished, would be able to answer the three questions posed by all supposed contributions to scientific knowledge: 'Is it true? Is it new? Is it important? Thus the observations and experiments must be described with sufficient detail and precision to allow other workers to repeat the work and confirm - or refute - the findings. And these findings must be related to what others have found in the past, so that the matter of originality may be judged.'

There are some excellent points made here by Macfarlane and I am using them in a peer reviewed journal paper I am currently writing on the topic of due citation and priority for prior-discoveries in science.

What Macfarlane writes about what we should expect of discoveries in scientific papers can also be said for books. I think it helps to list his key points on this topic:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it new?
  3. Is it important?
  4. Is it described with sufficient detail?
  5. Is it described with precision - so as not to lead to misconceptions?
  6. Is it sufficiently related to what others have found in the past, so that the matter of originality may be adequately judged?

But what of contested discoveries in papers and books? In such cases, might these six criteria help us to understand why an original observation, idea or discovery is replicated without citation of its originator'? I think they might - even in cases where there is persuasive evidence for knowledge contamination.


Alexander Fleming; The Man and the Myth . by Gwyn Macfarlane (1984). Harvard University Press.

Author's Favorite
Val Bykhovsky
August 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm
Once more about details...

Indeed, Gwyn Macfarlane says:

"Thus the observations and experiments must be described with sufficient detail and precision to allow other workers to repeat the work and confirm - or refute - the findings."

This is a great point. But nobody knows "the details", that is, the context of the experiment (measurement), that is, what is important and what it isn't. Say, measuring the water boiling point, does it important to indicate the Ca-ion (or any other ions) concentration? I have no idea, and i'm reporting "my" the boiling point 98C. The curious people are trying reproduce my result and say they cannot do it, they get 100.1C. Etc...

My point: each experiment/measurement has its context, which is a soft but very powerful thing. All the experiments with complex systems are context-dependent. Although the water boiling point measurement is a very simple one, still the context is important, leave alone the biological experiments where the context may be more important than the experiment itself. The same is applicable to many other experiments, including the low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR). My naive feeling is that criminology is a highly context-dependent thing.

What seems certain to me is that the emerging 21st Century science should be the least context-sensitive.

Any thoughts?

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
August 11, 2015 at 4:55 pm


I agree. That is important.

In the social sciences, failure to replicate a successful social program (The Boston Gun Project' is just one famous example)- due to implementer or population character or other demographic/ cultural differences is well known. In Realistic Evaluation - Pawson and Tilley call this the "Context - mechanism - outcome configuration."

The context of how Fleming got that particularly powerful strain of Penicillin - how he recognized it and why he kept the strain alive is fascinating. In fact, in the veracious (as opposed to mythical) history of the discovery of Penicillin as a systemic medicine context is the key.

I agree with you. If we are ever to learn how to optimize conditions and skills to enhance our chances of making more important discoveries (and avoiding missing them) context is all important.

I'm personally interested in context in terms of the history of the discovery of natural selection.Because the New Data means the story that Darwin and Wallace independently discovered the theory free of any influence from Matthew's (1831) prior publication of it seems improbable in light of the fact (context of discovery) that their associates, correspondents and influencers are newly discovered to have cited Matthew's book years before 1858.

Val Bykhovsky
August 13, 2015 at 10:44 am


Thanks for your interesting reply. I'm going to follow your links, and will be back soon.

My best,


Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
September 8, 2015 at 5:55 am

Dear Val

Regarding the importance of context for establishing veracity in the history of scientific discovery I highly recommend you see how a leading Darwinist is wilfully ignoring the context in which words were very precisely and deliberately - purposefully - deployed in order to make the fallacious argument that Matthew's prior-published discovery of natural selection could not have been read by anyone known to Darwin or anyone who might have directly or indirectly influenced him with Matthew's original discovery before 1858. This is hard evidence of how Darwinists deploy their - arguably - willful ignorance to hoodwink the world: Here . The website in question "The Patrick Matthew Project" was set up in the wake of the national news coverage (the Daily Telegraph - and the Scottish Daily Mail) of my original discoveries that - contrary to the 155 year old Darwinist story started by deliberate published lies written by Darwin - that naturalists known to both Darwin and Wallace and to their closest friends had actually read and then cited Matthew 's (1831) ideas on natural selection in the literature before Darwin and Wallace ever put pen to private notepaper on the same topic.

Val Bykhovsky
September 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm


Your research on Patrick Mathew indeed is a convincing proof of importance of context. It is a challenge to formally describe a context though. Even for a physical experiment, a simple case comparing to your analysis, the context data for some reason used to be missing/ignored. I was thinking that for simple measurements it probably will be possible to have a pack/array of sensors to be configured for automatic recording the context parameters, so that when repeating the experiment the context sensors will reconstruct the context for the experiment. So hopefully many (but not all) experiments will turn out to be reproducible.

Does it make sense? Any chance to use the context sensors in criminology?

My best, Val

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
September 10, 2015 at 4:40 am

Hi Val

I have only a rather vague intuitive grasp (as a non-physicist ) of what you are describing. I think I know what you mean.

I'm not particularly sure what type of physical context might be scientifically measured in criminology - but those interested in crime mapping might do well to try to factor such detail into their analysis, which they use to make predictions for future crime hot-spots. I imagine it might make their predictions more accurate. For example, storms and climate fluctuations might be relevant in the context of burglary rates and riots. I imagine a storm night might (a) keep some thieves indoors and (b) provide excellent noise cover for others. And riots (some city riots) might be more likely to happen during muggy heatwaves. Factoring in the "context" might help us to know.

Author's Favorite
Val Bykhovsky
September 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

Thanks Mike, you have answered my questions very well, in criminology in particularly. I agree that increasingly the context indicators or pointers will be utilized to predict (or investigate) the potential crimes. In (hard) science, the 'objective' context sensors (context recorders) to me is a reasonable option to judge/compare the results.

Anyway, i think we are on the same page. It is pleasure to 'conversate' with you, and i've learned a lot from you.

Best, Val

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
September 11, 2015 at 10:01 am

Thank you Val

Your comment about context came at a very timely point in my thinking about the common sense and objective meaning of words and phrases used by Darwin and World's leading Darwinists.

Whilst you are focusing predominantly on physical context, I have been focusing on the context of the main argument where certain unambiguous words and phrases were deployed.

The importance of such context has helped me in an article I am writing on my work, which focuses on the veracity of the history of discovery of natural selection and the "reasoning" that has been used byDarwin - and since by the World's greatest evolutionary biologists - to deny Matthew the right to be considered, by the scientific community and beyond, as an immortal great thinker and influencer in science.

It seems that those who wish believe that words no longer hold their unambiguous meaning, but can be believed to hold their opposite meaning, - even when used in an unambiguous context that makes their unambiguous meaning unambiguous - are engaging in a sham inquiry postmodern pseudo-science project.

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