Texas school board hearings: Startling gains in the hard science of citation bluffing are now widely noted

Like any member of the tenured entitlement class, University of Texas microbiologist Andy Ellington, is entitled to facts that support his beliefs.

Providing such facts is easier than in the past, thanks to the great gains made by the science of citation bluffing. In "Andy Ellington's Citation Bluffs and the Scientific Debate Over the Miller-Urey Experiment," (Evolution News & Views, July 21, 2011), Casey Luskin offers illustrations from his online testimony:

Ellington's testimony cites a 2008 paper, "A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres," co-authored by Jeffrey Bada, one of my own professors at UCSD. He claims this paper (herein referred to as Cleaves et al. (2008)) shows "significant amounts of amino acids are produced from neutral gas mixtures." However, Cleaves et al. (2008) does not show what Ellington claims it does:

(1) First, the paper contradicts pro-evolution curricula which Ellington is defending by observing that the early earth probably did not have a reducing atmosphere of methane and ammonia.

(2) Second, a close analysis shows the paper doesn't actually show that amino acids can be produced under actual natural conditions on the early earth. Regarding Point 1, Cleaves et al. (2008) notes: bl1Instead, evidence strongly suggested that neutral gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor–not methane, ammonia, and hydrogen–predominated in the early atmosphere. (H. James Cleaves, John H. Chalmers. Antonio Lazcano, Stanley L. Miller, & Jeffrey L. Bada, "A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres," Origin of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere, Vol. 38:105-115 (2008).)

The paper further states that "it is now generally held that the early Earth's atmosphere was likely not reducing, but was dominated by N2 and CO2." This directly contradicts a number of curricula up for adoption in Texas, such as …

Sources argue, however, that the tenured entitlement class's FactsTM, presented to students, are above the rules governing plebeian facts in everyday life.

For one thing, they are subject only to the Central Dogma, "There is no contradiction in Darwin,"which means that any fact can be dealt with in any way that a tenured Darwinist wishes.

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Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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