2857: Rebuttals

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The mainstream dogma sparked a wave of dogmatic revisionism, and this revisionist mainstream dogmatism has now given way to a more rematic mainvisionist dogstream.
Title text: The mainstream dogma sparked a wave of dogmatic revisionism, and this revisionist mainstream dogmatism has now given way to a more rematic mainvisionist dogstream.


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This comic provides a satirical take on the intricate layers of scientific critique and consensus. Cueball stands as a representative of the scientific community, addressing the audience with a statement that encapsulates the recursive nature of scientific debate. The comic touches on the propensity within the scientific fields to oscillate between embracing new evidence and adhering to established consensus. It reflects on the inclination to reject new findings not because they lack merit, but because they conflict with the prevailing theories that have weathered previous scrutiny and dissent.

The statement begins by acknowledging a shift in attitude, where "conventional wisdom," the accepted understanding within the community, has come under fire. This skepticism towards the status quo is not uncommon in scientific practice, where evidence is continuously scrutinized. However, the comic suggests that the reaction against accepted norms can sometimes lead to the dismissal of new data, not on the basis of its validity, but due to its misalignment with the current consensus. This reveals a tension between the progress of knowledge and the comfort of established belief systems.

Furthermore, the backlash against conventional wisdom is not a straightforward rejection but is layered with its own biases, implying that the dissenters may also fall prey to ignoring contradicting evidence. The comic thus highlights a multi-faceted argument within the scientific community, where there are multiple 'levels' of disagreement and rebuttal, each building upon the last.

Cueball's statement dissects the nuanced ballet of scientific thought through a sequence of phrases, each peeling back a layer of the academic onion. It starts with a backlash against the prevailing consensus. However, new evidence is being termed "inconvenient", hinting that it supports the prevailing consensus, even as many researchers are moving away from it. Thus, the researchers opposed to the prevailing consensus are being criticized for seeming to ignore this new evidence. Cueball acknowledges this criticism. But because the quote culminates in a "however", Cueball is presumably about to rebut that meta-consensus, such as by making an argument in defense of the researchers people are claiming are ignoring the new evidence.

Perhaps, further, by declaring that the above became the "conventional wisdom" of how all the perceived to-and-fro came about, he is now about to expound a completely different interpretation of how the current bipartite situation came to be. Or even whether there was such a compounded disagreement in the first place; e.g. by revealing that all positions taken by all sides are entirely consistent with any selection of source data, but basic misunderstandings of each other side's claims led to arguing at cross-purposes.

The title text serves as an extension of this theme, offering a linguistic maze that mirrors the complexity and sometimes absurdity of academic discourse. It whimsically encapsulates how a challenge to mainstream thought can solidify into its own dogma, necessitating further revisionist waves, in an endless cycle of intellectual evolution and revolution. This self-referential loop wittily underscores Thomas Kuhn's notion of the 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions,' suggesting that what is considered revolutionary at one time may become the very dogma that future revolutions seek to overturn. The title text delights in linguistic acrobatics, stringing together a series of portmanteau and near-repetitive phrases that dance on the tongue with the finesse of a verbal gymnast. "Mainstream dogma" suggests widely accepted beliefs, but it swiftly mutates into "dogmatic revisionism," a playful jab at the stubborn insistence on reforming the norm. This revisionism doesn't just adjust the current; it becomes "mainstream dogmatism" in its own right, a new orthodoxy birthed from the rebellion. And then, with a flourish, it yields to an even more whimsically coined "rematic mainvisionist dogstream," a hilarious spoonerism that could leave even the most loquacious academic's head spinning. This nonsensical cascade mocks the sometimes pretentious and convoluted language that can plague scholarly communication, turning serious dialogue into a merry-go-round of terms that are as circular in progression as they are in logic.

This nonsense phrase may also be mocking the way in which, when you get this many layers deep in waves of consensus and counter-consensus, all these terms start to lose any real meaning, and become mere empty labels to be thrown around as terms of deprecation or abuse between the competing factions.

Title text term (Possible) meaning Nature of the term
Mainstream dogma The popular and currently unchallenged set of beliefs that comfortably flow with the academic current. Real
Dogmatic revisionism The stubborn insistence on changing established views, with a religious zeal for rewriting the scholarly scripture. Unlikely combination of real words
Revisionist mainstream Once the avant-garde, now the new normal; the rebel ideas that have become the establishment. Unlikely combination of real words
Dogmatism An unshakable adherence to the new creed, now fervently preached as the one true academic gospel. Real
Rematic Perhaps related to "remake" or "remix," implying a recycled, refurbished set of ideas in vogue once more. Not a real word
Mainvisionist A visionary yet mainstream adherent, with sights set on steering the scholarly ship into familiar waters. Not a real word
Dogstream The current of thought that flows doggedly along, resistant to change and comfortably narrow. Taken literally, a river of dogs. Not a real word
Mainvisionist dogstream The dominant narrative that's been revised so often, it's hard to distinguish from its own parody. Not real words


[Cueball, hand raised with a finger held up, stands behind a lectern on a high podium speaking into a microphone on the lectern. Behind him is a banner, with four lines of illegible writing above a (blank) picture at the bottom.]
Cueball: It's become conventional wisdom that the backlash against the prevailing consensus led researchers to ignore inconvenient new evidence. However...
[Caption below the panel:]
In a field that's been around for a while, it can be hard to figure out how many levels of rebuttal deep you are.

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Ok, so...

  1. "...new evidence" (yes, possibly we can start with "...evidence", but let's start with the first contrarianism).
  2. "...inconvenient..." (so there's something we're saying is wrong with that new evidence?)
  3. "...led researchers to ignore..." (maybe could fold in with the inconvenience, but arguably ignoring is a 'third way' step in sidelining it, not even disagreeing)
  4. "...the prevailing consensus..." (another layer of implied position-taking where there is something to disagree with)
  5. "...the backlash against..." (to which others firmly took up the contrary)
  6. "It's become conventional wisdom that..." (and this is a counter-contrary perspective)
  7. "However..." ("...and I, for one, think that they're wrong about the whole thing!")

...well, by a very quick and dirty deconstruction. But, then again, I fully expect to be shown wrong in my delayering! 00:31, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

Wouldn't the inconvenient new evidence be the justification for the backlash against the prevailing concensus, not the reason why the new evidence is ignored? I'm not going to try to explain this comic, I'm lost already. Barmar (talk) 00:46, 21 November 2023 (UTC)
It was the backlash that ignored the new evidence. The new evidence wasn't adopted by the 'backlashers', as I read it, so couldn't be their justification. (Or at least that's how the conventional wisdom interprets it, which of course could be wrong!) 00:56, 21 November 2023 (UTC)
I agree, and the first couple of paragraphs of the explanation are currently wrong in suggesting that the "prevailing consensus" is the one to which the researchers ignoring evidence ascribe. Instead we have a position that most scientists accept to be true and have done for some time ("prevailing consensus"), but this has inspired a revolt that is implied to be more emotively-driven than facts-based ("backlash") leading to revolt-inspired research ("has led researchers") uncovering evidence ("new evidence") which did not fit the revolting researchers' preconceived ideas ("inconvenient") and has therefore not been properly taken into account ("ignored"); however, this description of the situation is one that is generally assumed to be true, without critical thought or despite proof to the contrary ("conventional wisdom"), and Cueball is about to tell us why ("however..."). In truth, Cueball could be about to rebut any one of those things, but it is heavily implied to be the "conventional wisdom" that is in his view wrong, so there may actually be no prevailing consensus, or no real backlash, or no real research done because of that backlash, or no new evidence, or proof that that evidence could actually be useful to counter the prevailing consensus, or (and this again is most likely IMHO) it is wrong for people to assume that that the evidence was ever ignored. Therefore Cueball is about to support the revolting researchers, but only in rebutting the mainstream rebuttal accusing the rebutting researchers of failing to rebut contradictory evidence... 10:05, 11 December 2023 (UTC)

I impressed myself by correctly remembering that the author of "Structure of Scientific Revolution" was Thomas Kuhn. It was assigned reading in a philosophy of science class I took over 40 years ago, but I haven't had to think about it much since then. Barmar (talk) 00:43, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

ChatGPT: "Here is an image depicting the concept of a 'more rematic mainvisionist dogstream.'"

Looking for a way to depict the Title Text: "The mainstream dogma sparked a wave of dogmatic revisionism, and this revisionist mainstream dogmatism has now given way to a more rematic mainvisionist dogstream." Too garish? 00:52, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

I'm not typing color codes, but I figured it would make more sense to coordinate the color by compound word, not roots. So "dogma" would be one color, "mainstream" would be another, etc. And then "dogstream" would be two-tone. 09:47, 21 November 2023 (UTC)
On that topic, I think the description for "rematic" should be changed to more clearly reflect the combination of "revisionist" and "dogmatic"; I don't think it implies any relation to "remake", "remix", "refurbish" or "recycle", even if the ultimate meaning is similar (and I'm not sure that's the case anyway). 17:27, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

A simple explanation of "rematic mainvisionist dogstream" is that they are created by taking "re" from revisionist and replacing the "dog" from dogmatic which replaces the "main" from mainstream which then replaces the "re" of revisionist. Rtanenbaum (talk) 19:25, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

That's an excellent explanation, yet I'm still not sure I understand the comic. There may be just too many layers of meta. Barmar (talk) 16:22, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

Unclothed evidence would certainly be inconvenient, to say no more, in the puritanical Church of Scientific Dogma. 17:39, 21 November 2023 (UTC)