Kerr Watch

Number of days writer Richard Kerr has failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 3 years, 7 months, and 9 days

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Allen West smeared by Dalton, former Nature writer

UPDATE: I failed to add Allen West’s expunged “conviction” to the links below.  Here it is:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/57840143/2010-09-15-Allen-West-Expunged-Conviction-2 To put this kind of stuff in perspective, I was once fined a similar amount (around $4000) by the North Carolina Attorney General’s office for sediment pollution.  Horrors!  I am in the pollution control business!   Truth is, I was restoring a fabulous wetland (I’ll try to post the winning Wetland Scientist calendar photo of the project later) where a technically flawed silt fence installation met a surly regulator with an ax to grind.  I suppose someone with enough guile could spin that to make me look unlike the ecological hero I am truly am, which would not be unlike the attempt made on West’s reputation by Dalton.

The writer formerly employed by Nature, Rex Dalton, recently implied in a Miller-McCune blog that Allen West is a criminal charlatan. That is untrue. I have spoke over the last month to Allen, as well as a number of his collaborators, and determined the true story to the satisfaction of the Tusk.  I have also assembled and shared a number of primary documents linked below, not identified or referenced by Dalton, et. al.

Rex Dalton

Rex Dalton

The true story is consistent with my experience that Allen West is an honest-to-goodness, if imperfectly credentialed, key contributor to the Younger Dryas Boundary hypothesis and the supporting publications.

I am very biased in this matter.  For instance, Allen is my most frequent (if only) house guest.  My wife Pam and I have allowed Allen to stay with our young family on several occasions. The little guy has been a close friend for over five years.  I know Allen West as well as anyone on the Younger Dryas team or its collaborators.

I suppose Allen West could appear to readers of Dalton’s article to be a liar salting his samples at his own expense to get on TV. But I have reason to believe this is untrue.

For one, I have spoken regularly over the last decade with the laboratory techs, supervising scientists and co-authors dealing with the hundreds of samples from dozens of locations around the world and it would simply be impossible for Allen to direct from his “laboratory” in Arizona a fraud of this complexity, scale and nature.

The entire dynamic of the YDB-as-cosmic- impact-layer claim has been a (somewhat ad-hoc) series of multidiciplinary “ah-ha’s!” that occurred with — and mostly without — Allen’s involvement.

The nature, location and personalities involved in this work is not directly evident in the many supporting papers — and Dalton takes advantage of that. Journal articles are justifiably silent on timelines, locations and the experience of dead “lab hands” impossible for Allen West to manipulate.   But there were plenty of them.  Too many for a fraud, and apparently too many for Dalton to follow-up to disprove his hypothesis.

The nanodiamonds and other materials identifed at UC Santa Barbara and Oregon were no Piltdown Man, James Kennett is no Johann Beringer and Allen West……would have no analogy to his magical deviousness if the evidence presented were a fraud.

I have spent a month looking into the true story. Here it is:

Allen West was employed 13 years ago as a consultant for a company in California that contracted with several cities for water studies. Geophysicists can work without a license in California under some conditions. He thought they were following the law, but in this case, he needed a license.

That inadvertent mistake led to a misdemeanor and a $4500 fine. The District Attorney acknowledged that there was no intent to defraud and allowed the misdemeanor to be reduced to a simple infraction that was subsequently removed from his record. Allen West’s record in the State of California is completely clean, and he has no “criminal record,” contrary to the claim by Rex Dalton in his article (see 1).

Dalton disparaged the quality of the work in question despite the fact that he is aware that West’s California geophysical work continues to be referred to positively in 10 reports by four Federal and State governmental agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Department of Water Resources, and the California Energy Commission (see 2).

In 2005, seven years after Allen completed that work, he retired and contracted to write the Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes. Preferring privacy, he chose the pseudonym “West” instead of his given name “Whitt,” and filed the name with the State of Arizona as a legal tradename under the designation “author” (see 3). He continued to use the new name in his scientific career and changed his name legally, meaning it is not an “alias” as erroneously reported by Dalton. People often change their names for various reasons, as for example, Isaac Asimov, who changed his name from Ozimov — nobody accused Asimov of deception.

Allen’s mistake 13 years ago was failing to navigate California’s “guild” bureaucracy. It has no bearing on the excellent science that he has done, as monitored by scores of collaborators. Aspersions by Rex Dalton that Allen West somehow falsified evidence of magnetic spherules, nanodiamonds, and other impact markers are preposterous considering the impossibility of generating these materials in one’s basement.

All of the YD impact data that Allen has produced have been independently verified by other researchers.  Indeed, considerable new evidence will soon be published. Critics who failed to verify some aspects of the work should be advised that the “absence of evidence is not the evidence of its absence.”

REFERENCES:

(1) Link to dismissal of case.

(2) Links to reports citing West’s work in California. Search for “Whitt.”

a) U.S. Geologic Survey

http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2004/5267/sir2004-5267.pdf

b) U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Hi-Desert Water District: http://margosturges.com/californiadroughtupdate.html

c) Calif. Dept. of Water Resources:

http://www.water.ca.gov/pubs/groundwater/bulletin_118/basindescriptions/7-10.pdf

http://www.water.ca.gov/pubs/groundwater/bulletin_118/basindescriptions/7-12.pdf

http://www.water.ca.gov/pubs/groundwater/bulletin_118/basindescriptions/7-62.pdf

d) California Energy Commission for solar power plant installations:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/genesis_solar/documents/2009-11-13_Data_Requests_Set_1A_1-227_TN-54067.pdf

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_palen/documents/2009-12-7_Data_Requests_Set_1_TN-54349.pdf

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/genesis_solar/documents/2010-06-25_Staffs_Prehearing_Conference_Statement_TN-57332.PDF

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/genesis_solar/documents/2010-06-29_Staffs_Rebuttal_Testimony_TN-57363.PDF

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/genesis_solar/documents/staff_assessment/04_CEC-700-2010-006_SectC5-C9.pdf

(3) State of Arizona tradename filing for name change as “author.”

13 comments to Allen West smeared by Dalton, former Nature writer

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi George –

    I am so glad that that bit is over with.

    Now we only have to wait for the next one.

    Sorry to break the news George, but this crap is not over yet. In my opinion, the only way it will end is if Bolden fires Ed Weiler.

    That is what it is going to take to put impact studies back on solid ground.

  • Paul Repstock

    George:Nice to see Mr. West cleared and your faith and friendship validated. One has to wonder at the motivation for Dalton’s attack?? Is there really such desperation to discredit impact theories in the face of mounting evidence?

    Interesting that you happen to mention Azimov though he has no relevance to our current discussion. A few days ago I happened to pick-up and start reading his 60+ year old books. Some things never change and Mr. Azimov was as much a psycologist as a futurist, possibly there is a link.

  • Steve Garcia

    I agree with Ed and Paul. This kind of allegation-filled article by attack dogs (on behalf of the status quo) happens from time to time, and I was keeping an open mind, waiting for more information to come in.

    WHY does science think it needs this kind of viciousness? Are they THAT insecure?

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Steve –

    Some people are that insecure.

    You have to remember that this is a fight abvout funding and the goals of the national space program.

    Some people think of it in terms of billions of dollars at stake; myself, I think of it in terms of millions to billions of lives at rather immediate risk.

    Morrison thought of the hazard in terms of a task for himself and NASA Ames. He had devoted years of his lif3e to impact research. Huntress thought that JPL would be a more appropriate center.

    Arizona and JPL will tow Morrison’s line on comet impact, until they are either forced to stop or reality stops them.
    I expect that to end about October of this year.

    In the meantime, NASA wil be a hurdle to comet impact research, and no help.

    The interesting thing for me here is Bear Stearns approaching West to write Firestone and Kennett’s book.
    The background on that decision by them would be most interesting.

  • Barry Weathersby

    E.P…what happens in October?

    Haven’t read Asimov in too many years but after following you guys I’ve been tempted to find a copy of Larry Niven’s and Jerry Pournelle’s ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’. Read it in the mid ’70s or so and it has always stayed in the back of my mind.

  • George:

    Thanks for providing us with “the rest of the story”. As usual, you applied your excellent research skills to get to the real truth.

  • October 2011 — publication of painstaking expert studies of ground evidence in many sites by at least 2 labs that confirm Dennis Cox’s vertical geoablation paradigm re carpet sweeping of Western Hemisphere by thousands of comet ice fragments in an hour?

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Rich -

    Highly unlikely. I doubt if Dennis will have even one of his features confirmed as a geobleme by
    this October, little less dated to the YD.

  • Here is a link to one of the blogs I frequent concerning the Younger Dryas Impact Theory and Dalton’s recent diatribe concerning the Theory. This Blog runs far afield in science articles, and this one is additionally note-worthy for it’s length. Link here:
    http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2011/06/14/real-science-under-attack-the-dirty-tricks-of-rex-dalton/
    It is nice to see a greater awareness of the YDI Theory in mid-stream media.

  • [...] many folks simply spat them out, closed their minds, and decided to ignore them. Worse, others deliberately smeared the YD researchers. Fortunately, thanks to curious and competent scientists like Andronikov and Lauretta, good [...]

  • aeron sunny

    To Paul Repstock’s question about Rex Dalton’s motivation for his attack, part of the answer is pretty simple if you look at Dalton’s history. He has made a career out of besmirching scientists and digging into irrelevant past events to produce stories that are designed to attract the attention of all those titillated by the apparent fall of others. The surprising thing is that the Nature editorial board have found this type of “investigative journalism” appropriate for a journal that should pride itself on objectivity not tittle tattle and hearsay. There’s no question that he has irreversibly reduced the standing of Nature as an independent source of information about events of interest to scientist. His methodology is like that of any News of the World journalist – get the most damning quote he thinks he can legally get away with and use that to produce a conflict with his other interviewees. A fair hypothesis is that he has a deep seated envy of scientists (as others have noted he has no science training at all) and gets satisfaction out of watching them suffer. This motivation has led him to try to actively bring about their demise as the case in point. Your web site is contributing to bringing his pastime to an end. Well done.

  • Steve Garcia

    aeron -

    It appears you are mixing up Rex Dalton and Tyrone L. Daulton.

  • [...] for the climactic (and staged) scene of NOVA's "Megabeasts unexpected dying" would look like "…a liar salting his samples at his own rate to get on tv." (full disclosure: I additionally appeared in that software, as a [...]

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