Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Remembering “The Piltdown Man” – 100 years later

Have the Darwinian faithful ever been so optimistic about their theory that they stretched the evidence dishonestly? Well, yes, there have been instances of “hiding the decline” in the biological sciences.

Here’s one described in the Seattle Times: (H/T Evolution News)

Tuesday is the centennial of the grossest fraud of 20th-century science: Piltdown man. It is a case worth remembering.

On Dec. 18, 1912, amateur geologist Charles Dawson presented to the Geological Society of London a partial skull. It was purported to be a human ancestor 500,000 to 1 million years old, an age scientists now assign to Homo erectus. Dawson said he had found the fossils in a gravel pit near Piltdown Common, south of London.

Dawson had no scientific credentials, but his friend Arthur Smith Woodward did. Woodward was the keeper of the geological department at the British Museum. He had been at the dig and had seen the jawbone “fly out” of the ground under the blow of Dawson’s pick.

There was a problem with the jawbone. It was from an orangutan only a few hundred years old. It was fitted with two fossilized chimpanzee teeth, filed down to make them look more like human teeth. The cranium fragments were human, from the Middle Ages. All had been treated with an iron solution and acid to make them look older.

Scientists didn’t have many fossil skulls in 1912, but none of them looked like a human cranium with an ape jaw.

Several scientists, including one from the Smithsonian Institution, argued that the jaw and cranium did not match. It took 40 years for them to be proved right, and even longer for Dawson to be confirmed as the con man responsible.

The surprising thing is that this is not the only time that this has happened with Darwinists and global warmists.

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Are lesbian couples better for kids than heterosexual couples?

Apparently, lesbian couples can be as good at parenting children as traditional married couples. That was the conclusion of a new study anyway. Who authored it, and who funded it?

Excerpt:

Several media outlets including CNN, Time magazine, Reuters and US News and World Report, have promoted the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which claims children raised by lesbian parents are “psychologically well-adjusted” and have “fewer behavioral problems” than children raised by heterosexual parents.

Of those four outlets, however, only Reuters reported that the author of the study, Dr. Nanette Gartrell, is herself a lesbian. According to the New York Times Gartrell wed her partner, Dee Mosbacher, in 2005.

Seven out of nine groups that provided funding for the study are gay advocacy groups, including the Gill Foundation and the Gay Lesbian Medical Association. Reuters, Time and U.S. News and World Report did not include the sources of funding for the study.

[...]The problem with many studies regarding children of gay parents, according to the late Steven Nock in a 2004 National Public Radio interview, is that they rely on “self-recruited” subjects. The question, Nock said, is “whether or not people who volunteer to participate in studies resemble the sort who do not.”

Gartrell’s study reportedly recruited its 78 subject couples “through announcements in bookstores, lesbian events and newspapers” in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, according to CNN.

So already we should be on guard.

But there’s more! Here’s the methodological problem with the study: (H/T ECM)

In a letter published online in Pediatrics, Professor Walter Schumm, who has served as an expert witness for the State of Florida in a trial concerning gay adoption, points out, “at least 67 per cent of the mothers in the [lesbian family study] had at least a college education compared to approximately 28 per cent of women of similar age in US Census data” so that the effects seen could be partly due to higher levels of education rather than “gender” per se.

Another letter points out that ethnicity and region of residence also differ considerably between the two groups, with the control group having “many times more minorities and many more children from the South” of the US. For example, around 68 per cent of the controls were “white/Caucasian” compared with 93 per cent of the study group. That writer expresses surprise that there was no attempt to adjust the results for these differences, and that the study was accepted all the same by Pediatrics — the journal of the country’s leading professional group.

So this study is as reliable as East Anglia studies on man-made global warming. But a lot of people in the media will cite it anyway, because it sends the right message. It sends the message that people who oppose same-sex marriage are ignorant bigots and that fathers are totally unnecessary for the development of children.

And that’s what the elites in media, education and government want people to believe. They want that view to be made into law and reflected in public policy. And they don’t really care if children are raised without fathers, just like they don’t care if unborn children are killed in the womb. Because adult happiness is more important than children’s well-being.

Here is my previous post explaining how same-sex couples differ from traditional couples.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VA attorney general demands that university account for AGW research grants

From Watts Up With That.

Excerpt:

No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli  directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

The Attorney General has the right to make such demands for documents under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, a 2002 law designed to keep government workers honest.

More at The Hook.

Cuccinelli is a Republican, of course. I hope he starts a trend! I also note that he is a graduate of the George Mason School of Law, one of the best places for conservatives to do a law degree (or an economics degree).

Related stories

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Australian climate data also adjusted to hide the decline

Story from Watt’s Up With That. (H/T Lex Communis)

First, a graph of temperates from measuring station “Darwin” in Australia:

Excerpt:

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style … they are indisputable evidence that the “homogenized” data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

One thing is clear from this. People who say that “Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK” are wrong. At least one part of the data is bad, too. The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero.

So once again, I’m left with an unsolved mystery. How and why did the GHCN “adjust” Darwin’s historical temperature to show radical warming? Why did they adjust it stepwise? Do Phil Jones and the CRU folks use the “adjusted” or the raw GHCN dataset? My guess is the adjusted one since it shows warming, but of course we still don’t know … because despite all of this, the CRU still hasn’t released the list of data that they actually use, just the station list.

And here’s Steve McIntyre and Chris Horner on the secular-leftist CNN:

Steve is moderate and circumspect, but Chris Horner is quite direct. I just ordered his book “Red Hot Lies”.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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