UPDATE: I failed to add Allen West’s expunged “conviction” to the links below. Here is the order expunging the silly matter from the record. 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.
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.”
(1) Link to dismissal of case.
(2) Links to reports citing West’s work in California. Search for “Whitt.”