World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics ???

,

Starting in 2004, i regularly receive email asking me to participate a conference, called “World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics” (WMSCI). Here's one of such email i got today:

Dear Xah Lee:

As you know the Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon affirmed that design is an essential ingredient of the Artificial Sciences Ranulph Glanville, president of the American Society for Cybernetics and expert in design theory, affirms that “Research is a variety of design. So do research as design. Design is key to research. Research has to be designed.” An increasing number of authors are stressing the relationships between Design and Research. Design is a mean for Research, and Research is a mean for Design. Design and research are related via cybernetic loops in the context of means-ends logic. Consequently, we invite you to submit a paper/abstract and/ot to organize an invited session in the International Symposium on Design and Research in the Artificial and the Natural Sciences: DRANS 2010 (http://www.sysconfer.org/drans) which is being organized in the context of The 14th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: WMSCI 2010 (http://www.sysconfer.org/wmsci), 2010 in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Here's the first email i got from them from my mail archive:

From: sci2005@iiis.org
Subject: Inviting you to participate in SCI 2005
Date: October 20, 2004 1:39:48 PM PDT
To: XAH@XAHLEE.ORG

Dear Dr. Xah Lee:

On behalf of the SCI 2005 Organizing Committee, I would like to invite you to participate in the 9th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (http://www.iiisci.org/sci2005), which will take place in Orlando, Florida, USA, from July 10-13, 2005.

Full text wmsci.txt.

I do not know this organization. I don't know how they got my email or how they know that i'm involved in the computer science community. (surely from trawling email addresses in science forums) Though, after getting a few of their emails, one clearly gets a sense that it is a scam, soliciting innocent idiotic academicians (many PhDs are idiots.).

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about them: World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. Here's a juicy quote:

WMSCI attracted publicity of a less favorable sort in 2005 when three graduate students at MIT succeeded in getting a paper accepted as a “non-reviewed paper” to the conference that had been randomly generated by a computer program called SCIgen.[8] Documents generated by this software have been used to submit papers to other similar conferences. Compare to the Sokal affair.

WMSCI has been accused of using spam to advertise its conferences.[8]

Now and then, whenever i got their email, the curiosity in me do lookup the several terms they used in the email, partly to check the validity. For example, in this one, it mentions Herbert Simon. Another one i recall i got recently mentioned Science 2.0. Both of the terms i haven't heard of before.

One'd think that it is easy to tell scam from real science, but with today's science proliferation, it's actually not that easy. Even if you are a academic, it's rather common that many new science terms you never heard of, because there are tremendous growth of new disciplines or cross disciplines, along with new jargons. Cross-discipline is rather common and natural, unlike in the past where science is more or less clearly delineated hierarchy like Physics, Math, Chemistry, Biology, etc and their sub-branches. However, many of today's new areas is a bit questionable, sometimes a deliberate money-making scheme, which i suppose is the case for WMSCI. Many of these, use terms like {post-modern, science 2.0}, to excuse themselves from the rather strict judgment of classic science. Many of these terms such as {systemics, cybernetics, infomatics} are vague. Depending on the context, it could be a valid emerging science discipline, but it could also be pure new-age hogwash. And sometimes, nobody really knows today. Fledgling scientific fields may started off as pseudo-science but later became well accepted with more solid theories. (⁖ evolutionary psychology)

In the past 2 decades, there are quite a few cases where peer reviewed papers published in respected journals are exposed as highly questionable or deliberate hoax, arose massive debate on the peer review system. The peer-review system itself can't hold all the blame, but part of it has to do with the incredible growth of sciences and limitation of the single human mind to make sense of them all. For examples, see:

When it comes to philosophy, it is worse. For example, there's this Hegel (1770 〜 1831). Personally, i regard him as the worst mumble-jumbo scumbag.

In the software engineering area, which i'm a expert, there are quite a huge number of wishy-washy shit. Examples include: eXtreme Programing (espousing that programing should be done by 2 males sitting in front of a computer together, one code while the other sucks his cock.), Universal Modeling Language (which proclaims that this pseudo-language solves the world's problems), Design Patterns (which peddles best practices under the aegis of OOP and jargonism.), and, of course there's Larry Wall, whose crime is too numerous to list. (disclaimer: opinion only.)

Even in the area of math, i'm reminded of the guy Buckminster Fuller (1895 〜 1983) (known for Geodesic Dome, Bucky Ball). I despise this guy. One of the worst new-age garbage from the guy is the “Synergetics”.

On the other hand, there's Stephen Wolfram, with his A New Kind of Science. It has received criticism from many scientists and mathematicians as garbage, exasperated by Wolfram's megalomania personality. Personally i respect his work highly. (See also: Notes on A New Kind of Science.)

blog comments powered by Disqus