Tuesday, August 16, 2016

You Can Learn a Lot from WikiLeaks

Julian Assange is an Australian computer programmer and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.  He was recently in the news regarding his comments on the murder of Seth Rich.

WikiLeaks revealed an interesting document from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) - your tax dollars at work.  Despite the $M's of tax funds spent on CRS each year, its documents are not made public.  One interesting document is labeled The Endangered Species Act and ”Sound Science” and came out in 2008.  Let's take a look at it.  According to Buck et al,

Scientific history is all but littered with famous approaches that were once widely held and later rejected (even though considered “good science” in their heyday): geological catastrophism, Lamarkian evolution, the four “humors” of medicine ... [1]

This is patently false.  Eugene Buck, Lynne Corn, Pamela Baldwin and Kristina Alexander should all take a listen to my podcast on the Renaissance of Catastrophism.  

Buck and company go on to make an excellent point:

At first glance, it might appear that science could be completely objective and neutral.  Yet scientists often have personal values that influence (consciously or unconsciously) the questions they ask, the models or experiments used, the assumptions made, and the interpretation of the results of an experiment.  Also, scientists working for various agencies, companies, tribes, and other interest groups may be influenced by policy positions of their employer. [2]

What sort of data is often hidden or ignored that supports Young Earth Science (YES) because of bias in the research establishment?  Scott Frickel and Kelly Moore even wrote a book on The New Political Sociology of Science (Univ. of Wisconsin Press).

Who determines what is “sound science” or “shoddy science”?  Can the average citizen discern what is "reasonable" or spot the “best available science”?  Do the politicians and majority vote determine truth?

We now look at a specific line of empirical knowledge that supports YES.  Writing in Science, Ann Gibbons reveals a surprising result:

Regardless of the cause, evolutionists are most concerned about the effect of a faster mutation rate.  For example, researchers have calculated that …the woman whose mtDNA was ancestral to that in all living people - lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago in Africa.  Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6000 years old. [3]

Genetic clocks are based on a number of assumptions.  How long is a generation?  For some studies a generation time of 20 years is used, but in a number of countries it has been common in the past for women to get married around 15 years old.  A faster molecular clock results.

According to a UN source, "... many societies, primarily in Africa and South Asia, continue to support the idea that girls should marry at or soon after puberty."  Consider these marriage statistics: 
Now for the other side of genetic clocks - how fast are mutations happening?   Parsons et al published a paper in Nature Genetics on  mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation rates.  They looked at 134  independent mtDNA lineages spanning 327 generational events.  Ten substitutions were observed.  This is about 20x higher than estimates from prior studies.  A higher mutation rate results in a faster clock and supports YES.  Hello CRS, are you listening? 

Bias in Big Science is real.  Consider the final passage in our book YES - Young Earth Science which defends a youthful planet from history and science.  Emil Røyrvik of SINTEF boldly observes that,

In open societies where both scientists and the general public are equipped with critical skills and the tools of inquiry, not least enabled by the information revolution provided through the Internet, the ethos of science as open, questioning, critical and anti-dogmatic should and can be defended also by the public at large.  Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science, seems largely to produce ridicule, opposition and inaction, and ultimately undermines the legitimacy and role of both science and politics in open democracies. [4]

1) The Endangered Species Act and ”Sound Science”  by Buck et al,
p. 10, note 34, emphasis added.
2) Buck et al, p. 12.
3) quoted in YES - Young Earth Science by Jay Hall (IDEAS, Big Spring, TX, 2014), p. 24, emphasis added. 
4) quoted in Hall, p. 192.