In the latest American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Arthur Diamond presents a very disturbing result:
Once polywater was considered a failure, not only were those who had written in its favor punished, but those who had written against it were punished just as strongly! If this is a typical outcome, we can conclude that academic incentives are to just ignore contrarian claims that you do not believe will become mainstream. Try to refute a contrarian claim, and even if you succeed you will be treated just like its defenders. Together with last week's debating result:
we can see that intellectuals have little incentive to engage contrarian views. One possible cause here may be like "You Can't Not Believe Everything You Read". Diamond suggests another cause:
Even if a scientist sets out to refute a theory and succeeds, the scientist might pay a penalty in that the refutation may become a forgotten dead end, not generating any further citations to the scientist who correctly authored the refutation.