Re: Does science `cover-up'? The case of Walther Loeb (was Why did progress fail?, etc)

From: Stephen E. Jones (
Date: Tue Jan 11 2000 - 17:46:56 EST

  • Next message: Brian D Harper: "Re: Why did progress fail?, etc"


    On Mon, 10 Jan 2000 18:52:29 -0800, Brian D Harper wrote:


    BH>About Loeb:
    >Miller was not himself the party guilty of mistranslation. He
    >cites two authorities, *both* of which had the mis-translation.
    >The most authoritative was also the first, published in 1913.
    >The second authority Miller cites was published in 1951. Most
    >likely this source just copied the translation error from the
    >1913 source. Anyway, I don't think one can really fault Miller
    >for not reading the original when a translation was available
    >from a reputable authority.

    Even if Miller, when he published his 1953 paper, was not aware of the
    mistranslation (and let's not forget his mentor Urey who was an expert in
    the electrochemistry of gases), my point was that: 1) other German-
    speaking OoL specialists surely must have been aware of it and did not
    publicly correct Miller anytime in the last 40+ years; and 2) Miller is
    aware of it *now* and yet he has to date done nothing about publicly
    correcting his error.

    It may be OK for eminent Nobel prize-winning scientists to act like
    other men in power (e.g. corporate executives, government bureaucrats
    and politicians) in being slow to publicly admit their errors, but then science
    should not try to pretend that science is better than other human
    systems in being uniquely self-correcting.

    BH>Also, Yockey has published his conclusions now in a reputable
    >H. P. Yockey, 1997. "Walther Lob, Stanley L. Miller and
    >Prebiotic 'Building Blocks' in the Silent Electrical
    >Discharge," <Perspectives in Biology and Medicine>,

    Thanks to Brian for the reference. I was already aware of it from the other
    List I am on, but I have not yet obtained a copy of it. Maybe Brian can post
    some relevant quotes from it?

    But now that Yockey has published this in *1997*, if science really was
    especially self-correcting then this should have been front-page news on
    SCIENCE and NATURE. Remember that Miller won a Nobel prize for his
    experiment and his name is in all the Biology textbooks as the founder of
    the field of experimental chemical evolution.

    That there has been a deafening silence on the part of the leading scientific
    journals like SCIENCE and NATURE, leads me to conclude that this is
    probably too embarrassing for the rulers of science in this field to admit
    that they have known for *years* that: 1) Miller was not the first to
    produce amino acids from gases in spark chamber experiments; 2) the
    chemical evolution field is not 40+ years old with no results but 80+ years
    old with no results!

    This is not to say that science does not have normally reliable self-
    correcting system in place to detect and prevent most *early* errors.

    But once an error has slipped through the net and has been in place for
    many years, and the costs of admitting it was wrong (including the public
    relations cost in the culture war against creationists), has become very high,
    big science is IMHO just like big business and big government, in
    downplaying or even ignoring an embarrassing problem in the hope it will
    go away.



    Stephen E. (Steve) Jones ,--_|\ Email:
    3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \ Web:
    Warwick 6024 -> *_,--\_/ Phone: +61 8 9448 7439
    Perth, Western Australia v "Test everything." (1 Thess. 5:21)

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