Random Tusks

Extraordinary Evidence and Inexplicable Ignorance: Bunch (2012) and The Bos (2013)




It is telling to read competing journal articles regarding the Younger Dryas Boundary Event. For example below is the recent paper from The Bos, et al., and below that a publication from the YDB team the year before. (I was added as an author to that one based on some field work I did years before starting this blog).

There are a number of interesting observations that can be made, but let’s make the most obvious: Boslough et al., Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event, does not cite Bunch despite being published seven months later. This pattern will be familiar to readers of an earlier post regarding The Bos’ failure to cite LeCompte’s refutation of Todd Surovell’s totemic work.

In the comments section of the LeCompte post at the Tusk, The Bos himself explains this seemingly willful oversight as simply the result of bureaucratic diktat from AGU:


Dear George Howard,

Perhaps this timeline will help you understand why we didn’t cite LeCompte et al.

April 24, 2012: Boslough et al. submitted final draft to AGU, addressing reviewers’ comments.
May 14, 2012: Boslough et al. accepted by AGU for publication.
May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.
Aug. 7, 2012; LeCompte et al. approved by PNAS.
Sept. 17, 2012: LeCompte et al. published PNAS.

I’m sorry to keep bringing up those pesky laws of physics. They prohibit information from traveling backwards in time. We were forced to wait until after the LeCompte et al. paper had actually been written before we could read it and respond.

— Mark Boslough on the Cosmic Tusk, February 9, 2013

As I said in my reply to The Bos in the comments, this is nonsense. Having been a co-author of a couple of peer-reviewed articles and spoken with others much better published, it is no secret that it is perfectly acceptable and indeed encouraged to give the editor or publisher a call or drop them a note in order to halt or alter your text if new evidence is published. This is certainly appropriate in this instance given the paper, by their own admission, was designed to be a definitive critique that should halt research into the YDB.

Common courtesy — and scientific method it seems — would demand The Bos take a deep breath in such a circumstance, do the right thing, and address the highly detailed evidence published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shortly after his own submission, to an inferior journal, months before his final publication.

(In fact, with respect to Bunch there was even more time for The Bos to do the right thing. Bunch was published in June 2012, and LeCompte later in September 2012. But in both instances all 15 Boslough authors found it more pressing to hear the snap of the rope than the detail of the appeal.)

Moving on. Take a look at the content and tone of the papers. Bunch et al. dives deep into the nanosphere, produces extraordinary images which demand explanation, meticulously documents the composition of the materials, provides cogent narrative with data to back it up — and cites contrary findings without fear or prejudice.

The Bos takes the low road, rules it all simply impossible, calls into question the provenance of the evidence —  and denies citation to over 60 pages of peer-reviewed journal articles directly relevant to his subject.

The problem as always is getting people to read the primary sources carefully using their critical thinking skills to discern the relative validity between the contributions. Give it a try:

Very High Temperature Melt Products — PNAS-2012-Bunch


Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event 



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