Is it fair to desk-reject the above paper based solely on this one
My claim: Under no circumstances, is it fair to reject heretic claims based on their contrarianism alone, without going through the reasoning. It may still have to be done due to other constraints of time and effort, but it is never fair.
May I request you to have a look at three case studies that I have compiled to beg review of the antithetical expression established knowledge. The point is that contrarian claims should never be discarded solely on the basis of their contrarianism alone. These historical examples underline that the presumption of established knowledge can be unfair to contrarian thinkers.
The following three counter-examples are a case in point as to why desk rejection mainly because of heresy may not be a good idea. It only intends to provide a proof by counterexamples; to complement other answers which are well written and cover all of the important points.
Thomas Gold (1920 - 2004) was a brilliant contrarian scientist and a professor emeritus in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University.
As a consultant to NASA in 1955, Gold conjectured that "the Moon is covered by a layer of dust resulting from the ceaseless bombardment of its surface by Solar System debris" (Bondi 2004). He was opposed by many of his colleagues, but was eventually proven right when the crew of Apollo 11 returned with samples of lunar rock and regolith in 1969.
Astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell along with her doctoral adviser Antony Hewish (1924 - 2021) discovered a regularly pulsating source of radio waves in the sky with a pulse width of 0.3 seconds and a period of 1.337 seconds, later called as a pulsar (Hewish 1968). Thomas Gold hypothesized that pulsars are vigorously spinning neutron stars emitting radio waves from their magnetic poles (Gold 1969). This was considered so outrageous that he, a Cornell University astronomer and a NASA consultant, was not even permitted to present it at the first international conference on pulsars (Dermott 2004). This incident begs the following question: Is any idea ever outrageous enough to exceed the outrage of not allowing the idea to be talked about in the first place?
The experience of Thomas Gold is not uncommon. Contrarian thinkers challenging the consensus narrative have always faced unfair, sharp, and inconsiderate rejection from the mainstream thinker community as well as the public at large.
For centuries, sailors had reported witnessing extremely large, sudden waves, over 30 meters high, that seemed to come out of nowhere. Such waves became known as rogue waves or monster waves. Scientists almost universally believed the rogue waves to be a myth for hundreds of years.
When the renowned and respected explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville (1790 - 1842) confirmed experiencing such waves in his expeditions, which was corroborated by his co-travelers, it was ridiculed even by the then French Prime Minister François Arago (1786 - 1853) who was also a well respected scientist and mathematician (Levine 2018).
In 1994, the Draupner E oil drilling platform was constructed in the North Sea, 160 kilometers off the coast of Norway. It was designed to withstand waves of 20 meters height, estimated at that time to occur once every 10,000 years (Levine 2018). On 1st January 1995, the platform was hit by a 26 meter high wave in a relatively calm sea with no storm in the vicinity, thus conclusively establishing the existence of rogue waves. It is now believed that rogue waves are much more common than previously thought, with many of the strange unexplained maritime incidents in history now being hypothesized as having been caused due to rogue waves (Groch 2022).
Dan Shechtman (born 1941), a professor of materials science at the Israel Institute of Technology, was studying rapidly solidified alloys of aluminum with the transition metals, a major class of metals based on their chemical properties. He discovered quasicrystals in 1984 while on a sabbatical at the John Hopkins University.
It was believed at that time that the solid state of matter can show only two fundamentally distinct states of arrangements of the molecules: crystalline and amorphous. In the amorphous solids, like glass for example, the arrangement of the molecules is aperiodic and disordered. Aperiodic means that the pattern does not repeat itself over space; disordered means that there are no simple rules governing the pattern, meaning that the unseen portions of the pattern cannot be predicted over a significant range. In the crystalline solids, the arrangement of molecules is periodic and ordered, meaning that it is repetitive and predictable.
The quasicrystalline state of arrangement of molecules, discovered by Shechtman, is characterized by patterns that are ordered, but aperiodic. In other words, the arrangement of molecules is predictable, but not repetitive. It was an unexpected discovery, and Shechtman faced enormous backlash from the scientific community.
The paper describing his research findings was repeatedly rejected, getting published only after more than two years. After the publication, the head of his research group at the John Hopkins University called him a disgrace to the group and asked him to leave (Jha 2013). Linus Pauling (1901 – 1994), a strong contender for the title of the greatest chemist ever, one of the founders of quantum chemistry and molecular biology, strongly rejected Shechtman’s findings, saying, "There are no quasi-crystals, just quasi-scientists" (Jha 2013). Shechtman was eventually vindicated and even won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2011.