Re: [asa] Denver RATE Conference (Thousands...Not Billions)_Part 2

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Thu Oct 18 2007 - 15:09:26 EDT

Another one , but this time pure British (Churchill's mother was a foreigner!!!!) coming from a member of the Government in about 1990 is "being economical with the truth".

You mention one-sided advocacy but when does this actually become dishonest. One should always look for contrary evidence. One needs to be personally robust and almost seek out things to destroy one's position. After all if you don't someone else will and that is what ought to be done. Good ole testability.

The difficulty is not ascribing blame is when you read an article by Woodmorappe on age dating (late 70s in the CRSQ) and start checking his 700 anomalous dates. I did so and after 100 which were all typical misreadings etc etc, I gave up in disgust and came to a moral conclusion.

It was reading Morris's inexactitudes in the GF on radiometric age dating which convinced me that his ideas were 10000% false

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Steven M Smith
  To: Michael Roberts
  Cc: ; Kirk Bertsche
  Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:59 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Denver RATE Conference (Thousands...Not Billions)_Part 2

  "Michael Roberts" wrote on 10/18/2007 04:35:38 AM:
> You have not actually said it, but are you saying that B either
> doesn't know what he is talking about or his whole approach is full
> of what Winston Churchill called terminological inexactitudes.

  'Terminological inexactitudes'! I hadn't heard that one before. Churchill was great with words. I'll have to use that comment on some of the articles that I peer review!

  Although it was not his primary field of research, Baumgardner probably knows more about radiocarbon than I do. What I find when I hear him talk or read his articles is that he is an advocate for his point of view (POV). Thus he emphasizes those facts that support his POV and minimizes, disregards, or even ignores those facts that do not. This differs from a good -- or perhaps the ideal -- scientific journal article that dispassionately lays out a fair summary of previous work and evidence, adds details of the new study and findings, and then discusses the conclusions in light of all of the evidence. Since none of us are experts in every sub-topic for each sub-discipline within the specialty for our chosen field of science, we depend on the authors (and subsequent peer-reviewers) to ensure that these articles are inclusive and balanced. The problem that I have with Baumgardner's approach is that when I apply the same techniques to his articles that I use when peer-reviewing science articles submitted for publication, I do not find balance and fair consideration of opposing evidence and views -- I find one-sided advocacy.

  I like the way Kirk responded to Michael's statement ( I don't see willful deception but simply an invincible hold to a preconceived POV. That which supports the POV is accepted; that which does not is irrelevant.

  I include a bit of doggerel that serves as a warning to all of us.

    We are most easily deceived,
       When answers received,
   Meet with notions preconceived,
     Or doctrine long believed.

    (Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are my own and are not to be attributed to my employer ... or anyone else.)
    Steven M. Smith, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey
    Box 25046, M.S. 973, DFC, Denver, CO 80225
    Office: (303)236-1192, Fax: (303)236-3200
    -USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Web Site-

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Received on Thu Oct 18 15:11:41 2007

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