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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mike Behe replies to Jerry Coyne, ...

defending his recent paper.

Mike Behe's reply (excerpt):
Yes, complex gain-of-FCT events would not be expected to occur, but simple GOF's would. Yet they didn't show up.

Professor Coyne then proceeds to put words in my mouth:

What [Be]he's saying is this: "Yes, gain of FCTs could, and likely is, more important in nature than seen in these short-term experiments. But my conclusions are limited to these types of short-term lab studies."

No, that is not what I was saying at all. I was saying that, no matter what causes gain-of-FCT events to sporadically arise in nature (and I of course think the more complex ones likely resulted from deliberate intelligent design), short-term Darwinian evolution will be dominated by loss-of-FCT, which is itself an important, basic fact about the tempo of evolution.
Above I quoted Coyne talking about "complex FCTs, which take time to build or acquire from a rare horizontal transmission event." Yet cells aren't going to sit around twiddling their thumbs until that rare event shows up. Any mutation which confers an advantage at any time will be selected, and the large majority of those in the short term will be LOF. Ironically, Coyne seems to underestimate the power of natural selection, which "is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest...." A process which scrutinizes life "daily and hourly," as Darwin wrote, isn't going to wait around for some rare event.
Go here for the rest.

My best guess is that Coyne will end up regretting that he engaged in a civil dialogue with someone who is not afraid to state the science-based evidence against the claim that Darwinism creates huge gains in information. Lobbing insults is safer, and the trolls love it.


Early coffee: Traction, retraction, and self-plagiarism (when scientists retread what they should retire)

"This study reports evidence consistent with the ‘deliberate fraud’ hypothesis. The results suggest that papers retracted because of data fabrication or falsification represent a calculated effort to deceive.":
Med Ethics doi:10.1136/jme.2010.038125

Research ethics

Retractions in the scientific literature: do authors deliberately commit research fraud?

R Grant Steen
Correspondence to
R Grant Steen, Medical Communications Consultants LLC, 103 Van Doren Place, Chapel Hill, NC 27517, USA;
Received 31 May 2010
Revised 29 July 2010
Accepted 13 August 2010
Published Online First 15 November 2010
Background Papers retracted for fraud (data fabrication or data falsification) may represent a deliberate effort to deceive, a motivation fundamentally different from papers retracted for error. It is hypothesised that fraudulent authors target journals with a high impact f actor (IF), have other fraudulent publications, diffuse responsibility across many co-authors, delay retracting fraudulent papers and publish from countries with a weak research infrastructure.

Methods All 788 English language research papers retracted from the PubMed database between 2000 and 2010 were evaluated. Data pertinent to each retracted paper were abstracted from the paper and the reasons for retraction were derived from the retraction notice and dichoto mised as fraud or error. Data for each retracted article were entered in an Excel spreadsheet for analysis.

Results Journal IF was higher for fraudulent papers (p<0.001). 2="8.71;">

For comments go here "The highest number of retracted papers were written by US first authors (260), accounting for a third of the total. One in three of these was attributed to fraud.", or here (An excellent example of either crappy science reporting or crappy science ...), for the view that it's all a bum rap.

One site also offers a number of articles on the shortcomings of peer review. Also an article on self-plagiarism and one on self-plagiarism and bogus authorship.

Self-plagiarism? If I plagiarize myself, can I sue myself?

Self-Plagiarist dies of his pains,
When "Been done!" the reviewer complains.
He was suing himself
In a courtroom in Guelph,
And his spectre now sues his remains.
Wordle: retractionWordle: retractionWordle: retraction


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