Opinion 52: The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics and arXiv.org Should Reverse their Unfair and Bigoted Decision Not To Publish On the So-Called Genome Code

By Doron Zeilberger

Written: April 1, 2003

Human nature strikes again! When the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics first appeared, almost ten years ago, I was very excited that at long last we have an open-minded and innovative journal, without the elitist paper-mentality, one that is open to all points of view. Ditto for the arXiv, that was supposed to be an open forum.

Recently I was asked to referee a paper for ElJC and was appalled by their "referee form", that came with a request to have "very high standards", and asked whether the results were "very interesting and mainstream". Now that is an oxymoron if there ever was one! If a result is mainstream it is necessarily boring, because mainstream is just a euphemism for "fashionable", and "fashionable" means just doing the same old stuff.

But what really shocked me was the rejection, yesterday, of an extremely interesting and innovative article entitled "Generalized ESL in the Genome Code" by two very prominent mathematicians (that asked not to be identified for obvious reasons). In this rejected article, the authors make a very convincing case that the revolutionary methodology of Rips and Witztum has a much larger scope than the Bible Codes and ESLs.

Even those "free thinkers" that do not believe in the Torah, do believe in life. As we all know, life is based on the Genetic Code, and thanks to the Genome project, we now have a huge text, written in the alphabet {A,C,G,T}, much larger than the Bible. It is true that we need 22 letters, not 4, but using triplets, we can use the 20 amino-acids, and just omit from the Hebrew alphabet the sacred letters yud and heh.

The other innovative extension of the Witztum-Rips methodology, introduced in that rejected paper, was to modify the notion of ESL (that looks for significant messages in Equally-Spaced-Letters, in other words, in arithmetical progressions), by much more sophisticated sequences, e.g. the Fibonacci sequence, the Catalan sequence, or any sequence in Sloane's database, for that matter.

By combining these two innovative enhancements, the authors make amazing predictions about the Iraqi war, as well as on the future of ElJC itself, that they prove will go out of business in 2008.

It was perhaps this very prediction that provoked the wrath of the editors of ElJC. They did not even send it to be refereed, dismissing the article as "work of crackpots". Another possible reason for the rejection is that one of the so-called "editors-in-chiefs", Brendan MacKay, whom Time magazine once erroneusly called "creative debunker" (I agree that he is "creative", but what did he debunk? On the contrary, his so-called refutations, with the "experts" Dror Bar-Natan and Gil Kalai, only reinforced and proved what they intended to refute. By showing that similar phenomena exist for War and Peace and the UN treaty, all they did was prove that these texts, too, are holy writ).

My guess is that Brendan MacKay tried very hard to "refute" the new doctrine. Obviously he failed, and instead of admitting that he was wrong, he arbitrarily rejected the paper, without even sending it to a referee.

Equally shocking is the rejection by arXiv.org, which is an electronic preprint server, that does not normally referee. However, they too, apparently, have their "mainstream police", and the submission was rejected automatically by a robot, that screens out (what they consider) "crackpot" submission, by looking for keywords. This practice is extremely unfair, and should be discontinued. Let the readers decide what is "nonsense" and what is "sense", and besides, often articles that look like nonsense to contemporaries, turn out to be seminal in fifty years.

I hope that you will join my protest by writing angry E-mail to the editors of ElJC and the moderators of arXiv.org, protesting this unfair, narrow-minded, and brutal censorship of creative mathematical ideas.

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