lördag 18 augusti 2012

AIAA Power Play: Risky

Power play is commonly used in academic debate: Insinuations from your opponent that you are ignorant and does not have the same full grasp of theories and literature as the opponent, can be very effective, or at least can be believed to be effective.

Let us see how AIAA Journal editor Greg Blaisdell uses this technique in his response to our submitted article New Theory of Flight:
  • I believe the reviewers have treated your paper fairly and have given thoughtful, well-reasoned critiques of your paper. They have not been simply dismissive in their response. I hope you will follow their suggestions for further reading so that you may better understand the basis of their remarks.
  • Given the criticisms the reviewers have brought up, I do not see how you could successfully rebut their comments. However, I am willing to read a rebuttal, if you think you can refute what they have said. Before doing so, I would encourage you to read the references the reviewers cite and to discuss the issues with your colleagues in the Aeronautics or Mechanics Departments at KTH, as the reviewers suggested. 
  • If after having done that, you think the comments of the reviewers are not valid, then I would be willing to listen. However, I think you would have a difficult time convincing me that the reviewers are mistaken.
  • I do not want you to waste your time, since I seriously doubt any rebuttal would be successful. However, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, if you truly think the reviewers' comments 
  • are not valid and can prove that, then I would be willing to listen.
This is power play: The editor states what is obviously not true, that the reviews are thoughtful, well-reasoned and not simply dismissive, and then paternally suggests that we should read the literature and then come back. The editor discourages any rebuttal attempt, without knowing what we have to say, but in the spirit of scientific inquiry cannot but allow it. 

Concerning literature, The Secret of Flight gives an account of the literature the authors have scrutinized under Text Book Theory and New Posts.

Power play is risky, because you can use that technique yourself and ask your opponent about math books which you can claim to master and your opponent has not even heard of. 

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