Big Science Worried About Fraud, But Why?
Deceit is built into the fabric of Darwinism.
Evolution is about gaining a fitness advantage.
Whatever works is part of the nature of things.
It’s sad to watch evolutionists get shocked and worried about fraud. They only have themselves to blame. Big Science, with its DODO mantra and DOPE school system, chose a worldview that rationalizes cheating. They can’t turn back now and plagiarize Biblical ethics to claim that cheaters are bad.
Major chemical database investigates hundreds of suspicious crystal structures (Nature News, 3 Aug 2022).
The occasion for today’s fraud alarm concerns chemistry, not Darwinism. But the ramifications go far and wide, because they could affect public health. Holly Else reports, “An unprecedented number of crystallography database entries are undergoing extra checks amid fears that they are based on fabricated data.” Watch for the word integrity—
The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC), a go-to resource for chemists seeking information on crystal structures, is reviewing almost 1,000 database entries after a research-integrity sleuth flagged the underlying scientific papers as potentially coming from paper mills — businesses that sell fake scientific papers to researchers who need them for their CVs.
The CCDC’s database has never before seen such a large number of entries flagged as suspicious. Scientists who use it as part of their day-to-day research say they are shocked by the scale of the alleged fraud.
Paper mills, as we reported before (27 March 2021), have become a growing problem in scientific publishing. In science, there are actually companies and groups devoted to cheating. They find ready customers in cultures that tolerate cheating their way to fame, such as the population of university students who need the reputation that a good CV (curriculum vitae) gives for obtaining work or admission to higher education. It’s similar to the cheating problem in high schools where students can buy pre-written term papers online. Only in this case, it is far more serious, because fraudulent papers can make it into the corpus of scientific literature depended on by the world’s researchers.
The Cambridge Structural Database does retract entries from time to time when individual papers get retracted from the literature. In 2010, it retracted 70 entries because of falsified data. But fewer than 300 structures have ever been retracted during its lifetime.
The latest expressions of concern were prompted by a preprint on the Research Square repository that flagged more than 800 questionable papers published in crystallography and exotic-chemistry journals between 2015 and 2022.
The Darwinian solution is for the cooperators to punish the cheaters. Theoretically, however, Darwinism does not consider the cheaters to be doing anything wrong. It’s all part of “evolutionary game theory.” The majority cooperators, for now, have captured the Integrity flag and are investigating the extent of the cheating. But if the cheaters become the new majority, they capture the flag, and can punish the old cooperators. There’s nothing moral about it. Even if the cheaters were to succeed well enough to build a whole empire of fraud, resulting in mass extinction, so be it. Stuff happens. There’s no universal moral law declaring, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
Deception, Like Butterfly Camouflage
Today’s cooperators (the scientists with the white hats holding up the Integrity flag) can’t endure the implications of their own system. They’re discovering morality—at least the jargon of morality. The feigned outrage gets amusing.
Chemist Filipe Almeida Paz at the University of Aveiro in Portugal is shocked by the situation. “It’s not in our DNA as scientists to try and deceive others,” he says. Researchers use the CCDC’s database to inform drug discovery, he adds, and incorrect data will ultimately waste time, so it is important that the database is not “contaminated with wrong information” even if only a small proportion of structures are affected.
Deceive? Incorrect? Important? Wrong? Where are those words in the Darwin Dictionary?
Darwinians should not be shocked and outraged. Animals do this all the time. Butterflies mimic poisonous species so that birds will avoid them. Fungi mimic berries that birds will eat to spread their spores. Trap-door spiders camouflage their burrows to increase their chances of nabbing prey. To evolutionists, humans are mere animals on the primate branch. The fraudsters found in this latest scam are like stick insects or mantids getting better at looking like twigs and leaves, that’s all. May the fittest survive.
More on Cultural Evolution
For those who may be unfamiliar with how pervasive evolutionary thinking has become in the social sciences, here are more examples from recent publications.
Testing theories on What drove the Holocene transformation (Complexity Science Hub of Vienna, 24 June 2022). Count the mentions of “evolution” in this article: e.g., “complex social organization evolved to solve certain problems faced by societies” or “the role of religious ideology in cultural evolution.” Then count the instances where evolution required morality to determine good from bad. It’s a very low number, like zero.
Unselfish behavior has evolutionary reasons (University of Bern, 24 May 2022). You may have been taught that unselfishness was morally good. Actually, evolution invented it. It’s a disguise. A new “study” [prepare to be hoodwinked] “reveals how this altruistic care of young can evolve by natural selection.” Here comes the explanation, right out of Darwin’s holy scriptures.
Natural selection favors traits that improve the bearers’ genetic fitness. Individuals with better survival chances typically benefit from a higher reproductive success throughout their life. “If belonging to a social group yields an essential survival advantage, cooperative breeding may evolve.“
Why can’t a member of the deadly MS-13 gang employ that reasoning? Join the gang and survive. Quit and you will never pass on your fitness genes. Natural selection marches on.
Why does love feel magical? It’s an evolutionary advantage (The Conversation, 12 July 2022). Don’t look toward “supernatural forces” to account for love, say three Darwinists from the University of California. Darwin got rid of that. Now, in this “age of science,” we have “evolutionary psychology” to make sense of “magical” things like love:
Evolutionary psychology is centered on the idea that people think and act the way they do today because, over hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors with traits that made them think and act that way were more likely to survive and reproduce, passing those helpful, or “adaptive,” traits on to the next generation. Through this process, the human mind evolved to prioritize things that contributed to survival and reproduction, such as highly nutritious foods and potential mates likely to rear healthy offspring.
We have a follow-up question to them in the green commentary below.
Scientists believe bonobos might serve as an evolutionary model. The endangered primates share 99 percent of their DNA with humans [FAKE NEWS*] and have a reputation for generally being peace-loving and sexually active — researchers jokingly refer to them “hippie apes” [sic]. And interactions between their social groups are thought to be much less hostile than among their more violent cousins, the chimpanzees.
And so we should all be like bonobos. Groom one another, scratch where it itches, enjoy free love. But wait; aren’t the more hostile chimpanzees products of natural selection, too? What gives these “scientists” the right to prefer one group over the other, if they all achieved the Nirvana of fitness? They have to be equally fit, because they all survive. Darwinians must practice diversity and inclusion!
*FAKE NEWS! This common comparison is a myth. See 27 May 2020.
Range dependent expected utility theory based model for NIMBY conflicts in China: An evolutionary game analysis (PLoS One, 15 June 2022). Everything evolves. Why not the NIMBY (Not-in-my-back-yard) behavioral trait? Just spin the Evolutionary Game Theory roulette wheel and whatever turns up works. It’s the catch-all explanation for every observation.
The evolutionary results show that when one party holds an optimistic mood, equilibrium evolves to a relatively optimal state; while when one party holds a pessimistic mood, the more pessimistic the party is, the more likely it is to cause NIMBY conflicts. Compared with the people’s sentiments, the government’s moods have a greater impact on the evolutionary consequences.
But right after that, the authors say, “Finally, depending on the conclusions of the evolutionary analysis, some suggestions on the governance of NIMBY conflicts are put forward.” Hey, wait! What gives them the right to advise governments on how to punish NIMBY pessimists, if both groups are products of natural selection? Why are they saying that an evolutionary equilibrium is an “optimal state”? That’s a value judgment. Besides, doesn’t Darwinism depend on conflict? Are they trying to climb out of the human race and evolve a Yoda Complex? Quick: stop them! They’re playing an evolutionary fitness game on the rest of us in order to spread their selfish genes!
The Importance of Elders (UC Santa Barbara Current, 7 July 2022). Natural selection isn’t cruel, these Darwinists contend. It can leave room for grandparents, even though their reproductive age is past and they can no longer forage for food. Others thought that natural selection should have eliminated the aged. But no: natural selection is wiser than anyone imagined.
“From the perspective of natural selection, long post-menopausal life is a puzzle,” said UC Santa Barbara anthropology professor Michael Gurven. In most animals, including chimpanzees — our closest primate brethren — this link between fertility and longevity is very pronounced, where survival drops in sync with the ability to reproduce. Meanwhile in humans, women can live for decades after their ability to have children ends. “We don’t just gain a few extra years — we have a true post-reproductive life stage,” Gurven said.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior author Gurven, with former UCSB postdoctoral fellow and population ecologist Raziel Davison, challenge the longstanding view that the force of natural selection in humans must decline to zero once reproduction is complete.
They assert that a long post-reproductive lifespan is not just due to centuries of advancements in health and medicine. “The potential for long life is part of who we are as humans, an evolved feature of the life course,” Gurven said.
Gurven and colleagues talk nice. Isn’t it sweet of them to leave room for grandparents in the Darwinian scheme of things. Grandparents increase the tribe’s fitness because they have an “accumulation of a lifetime of skills they can deploy to ease the burden of childcare on parents, as well as knowledge and training that they can pass on to their grandchildren.” But if these benefits came about by mindless, purposeless, aimless, amoral, selfish natural selection, what happens when Grandma gets dementia, or can’t assist in minding the kids, or becomes a burden? Doesn’t “the force of natural selection” in those circumstances “decline to zero”?
Update 8/04/2022: One of the founders of Retraction Watch wrote an article for Nature on Aug 2 saying that their effort has “never been short of material” because fraudsters are getting more creative. “Miscreant researchers continue to find creative ways to game the publication system,” says Ivan Oransky: “they make fake e-mail addresses to impersonate reviewers, use paper mills, sell authorships and more.”
What you are witnessing in these papers is lost human beings struggling with their Imago Dei (image of God, embedded in the human heart at creation). They profess to swear allegiance to Darwin and the universal force of Natural Selection, but they cannot live with it. Their conscience is shocked when they find fraud within their ranks. In their hearts, they know that integrity is good, that unselfishness is good, that love is good, and that the family wants to keep Grandma around even in her weakness because they love her and appreciate her value even in disability. But let them try to justify that inner knowledge with Darwinism, and they cannot be consistent. And so they sneak over to the Judeo-Christian smorgasbord of values and steal the goods they need without paying the price.
Our follow-up question on the article about “Why does love feel magical?” goes like this. “Excuse me, guys, but you used the word ‘idea’ to describe the thesis of evolutionary psychology. What is an idea in Darwinian terms?” [Pause and wait for an answer after watching the confused look on their faces.] “Aren’t you scientific materialists? Doesn’t your world consist of mindless matter in motion? Aren’t humans products of a long purposeless process that did not have us in mind? Aren’t you evolved apes? If so, isn’t an idea supernatural? Doesn’t it entail the idea that truth exists, and that it is good (moral) to tell the truth? How did that evolve?”
After they mutter a moment, tell them, “You know, if I believed like you, I would have to perceive that your paper is a con job. I get it now. You’re just trying to perpetuate your genes by writing papers like that. In fact, your selfish genes are using you as their puppets to propagate themselves. Truth has nothing to do with it.”
Exercise: Test your comprehension of this article by analyzing this open-access paper:
Back to the future: A way to increase prosocial behavior (PLoS One, 1 Aug 2022). Can evolutionary theory make people behave better? Who decides what is better? Look at the methods and assumptions in this paper and evaluate its strengths or weaknesses. Can you think of better ways to increase prosocial (altruistic) behavior?