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Still Waters

Human hands were designed by a 'Creator'

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Still Waters

Twitter exploded today with the news that a peer-reviewed scientific paper about the human hand credits its design to "the Creator", and scientists around the world are so furious, they called for an official retraction.

The paper, which mentions a "Creator" several times throughout, was published by the journal PLOS ONE back in January, but went largely unnoticed until James McInerney, a researcher in computational molecular evolution at the University of Manchester in UK, used twitter to call the journal "a joke".

http://www.scienceal...designed-by-god

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Leonardo

Thus are underlined the pitfalls of translating from another language, however it still suggests those who peer-reviewed the article were seriously lacking as they had the opportunity to clear up the misunderstanding regarding translation before the paper was published.

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eight bits

The paper has been retracted.

PLOS One is a real journal, and is not the only real journal that has been the victim of a creationist exploit.

The net effect of these shenannigans is to remind everyone that Genesis is not about science.

About the authors: From an item that appears in

http://languagelog.l...du/nll/?p=24360

The linked article reports that one of the authors, Ming-Jin Liu, apologized for the team thus (in the Reader Comments section for the paper at PLOS One):

We are sorry for drawing the debates about creationism. Our study has no relationship with creationism. English is not our native language. Our understanding of the word Creator was not actually as a native English speaker expected. Now we realized that we had misunderstood the word Creator. What we would like to express is that the biomechanical characteristic of tendious connective architecture between muscles and articulations is a proper design by the NATURE (result of evolution) to perform a multitude of daily grasping tasks. We will change the Creator to nature in the revised manuscript. We apologize for any troubles may have caused by this misunderstanding.

Eigh-bits Personal note: I am unable to locate any verification of the affiliation of one of the authors to an American university. This is relevant because of a doubt about the above quote expressed at the link given:

The first, second, and fourth authors are from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan); their English ability may not be up to snuff. But the third author, Le Xiong, is affiliated with the Foisie School of Business, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, so one would expect that their English would be sufficient to understand that "the Creator" refers to a god or being of some sort.

"Affiliated" with an English-speaking institution does not guarantee native-speaker competence in English.

Edited by eight bits
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eight bits

Update

Found her

https://www.linkedin.com/in/le-xiong-109478104

She claims only "profeessional working proficiency" in English... and she's a master's degree student, apparently scehduled to graduate next year.

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quiXilver

well... it's possible to say, or write anything. Doesn't make it real, true, or important.

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third_eye

the point is Twitter ' exploded '

:tu:

~

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Nuclear Wessel

I am in awe as to how such a paper managed to get past peer-review. I mean, REALLY? REALLY?! Good... grief.

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eight bits

Nuclear Wessel

My guess is that the reviewers understood the reference to "the Creator" as the authors did, as a figure of speech, rather than as a pet name for a god, particularly an Abrahamic one. There's a big chunk of the world, for example Asia, where Creator and Abrahamic God aren't everyday ideas and the one simply doesn't summon the other to mind.

I googled Nature journal creature for chucks. Nature is to scientific publishing what God is to Abrahamic religion, only more so.

The first hit from nature.com was for an article entitled "All creatures great and small."

http://www.nature.co...l/413342a0.html

Hello, that's a line from a Christian hymn. Did Twitter light up? And 'sup with creature, anyway? Isn't that an affirmation that the animal was created? That's not science. That's Genesis

How did that get through peer review?

And here we have a big cut. All those reading my question who are native speakers of English think "Well that's a stupid question." Many of those who aren't NSEs, however, think "Now that he mentions it, how do you tell when a reference to Genesis taken from a Christian hymn is NOT a religious reference? Is there a rule?"

A rule? In English? Surely you jest. You say "creature" in a scientific paper and nobody cares. You say "Creator" in a sceintific paper and Twitter explodes. That's as close as English comes to having a rule.

If PLOS ONE is going to publish in English, then they definitely should have somebody who speaks English a lot read over each article before acceptance. My guess is that in this case, nobody involved speaks English a lot.

That's not a spirituality or skepticism issue, however.

Edited by eight bits
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Doug1029

Twitter exploded today with the news that a peer-reviewed scientific paper about the human hand credits its design to "the Creator", and scientists around the world are so furious, they called for an official retraction.

The paper, which mentions a "Creator" several times throughout, was published by the journal PLOS ONE back in January, but went largely unnoticed until James McInerney, a researcher in computational molecular evolution at the University of Manchester in UK, used twitter to call the journal "a joke".

http://www.scienceal...designed-by-god

That's hilarious. Bet some reviewers get dumped over this one.

There is a certain amount of prestige to being a reviewer. This leads some folks to become reviewers, hoping to advance their careers, but taking on more than they can handle. They compensate for having bitten off more than they can chew by not doing the job. The editors don't know whether they did the job or not, so stuff gets through that shouldn't.

I'd say that McInerney has it right. The joke's on them (PLOS ONE).

Doug

P.S.: stuff routinely gets through peer review that shouldn't and reviewers sometimes change the meaning of the article by insisting on changes when they don't understand what the article is saying. All peer review does is reduce the number of mistakes; it doesn't get rid of them all. The real review is conducted by the readers after publication. And that's what happened here.

Doug

Edited by Doug1029

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docyabut2

I guess the Creator had to create hands to feel to explore and probe the world. Sometimes I feel we are just humans robots programed with feelings to record all life experiences.

Edited by docyabut2

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TOG

the point is Twitter ' exploded '

:tu:

~

Is everyone OK? Twitter is pretty big, I imagine it left a crater. Should we be worried about environmental effects, fallout or anything?

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third_eye

Is everyone OK? Twitter is pretty big, I imagine it left a crater. Should we be worried about environmental effects, fallout or anything?

Only in the minds of the twitterers ... though the crater whether present, prior or post is still debatable ~

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Stubbly_Dooright

Just the hands? Where's the rest made by? Mattel?

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Vlawde

I...I...I CAN'T TWEET!!!!

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Golden Amazon

Why can't this person believe what he wants and write what he believes. People reading the article can take it or leave it.

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Rlyeh

Why can't this person believe what he wants and write what he believes. People reading the article can take it or leave it.

The word "scientific" should be a big enough hint why people can't just write any old thing they believe.
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barbco196

Why can't this person believe what he wants and write what he believes. People reading the article can take it or leave it.

ONE reason: EGO. God forbid there should be an entity far more intelligent than themselves.

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Liquid Gardens

Why can't this person believe what he wants and write what he believes. People reading the article can take it or leave it.

It has nothing to do with 'ego' I assure you. Did anyone actually say that this person can't believe what he wants, and that people can take it or leave it? Can someone actually take that away from someone else?

More importantly, why does your comment only go one way? Why can't the people here who disagree 'believe what they want and write about it'?

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barbco196

Is everyone OK? Twitter is pretty big, I imagine it left a crater. Should we be worried about environmental effects, fallout or anything?

That explains the 'fairy circle' thread. Twitter caused them.

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