Random Tusks

Steamed: Ted Bunch From the Heart On Boslough and Scott

This afternoon former NASA geochemist Ted Bunch dropped the Tusk the note below. It is thrilling to see a core YDB researcher with a five decade track record [and here] willing to stand up to his bullies in frank and personal terms, outside the stilted literature and self-serving press releases.

The recent Boslough et al. paper and coordinated press releases are insulting to Dr. Bunch. Ted has worked tirelessly for nearly a decade on this particular project, spending thousands of hours freely giving his time and unique expertise to tediously chronicling the geochemistry of the metallic and carbon spherules in the YDB. Boslough and Scott’s claim that all Ted and the other’s data is simply misinterpretation — for instance testing hundreds of carbon spherules while missing they were actually bog poop — is tantamount to calling the man a fool.

Far worse still is Boslough’s crafty insinuation that there may have been actual fraud!:

While this raised red flags to those already critical of the impact hypothesis, “I never said the samples were salted[!!],” Boslough said carefully. “I said they were contaminated.” January 30, 2013, Press Release, Sandia Labs

What kind of character says something so devious in their own press release? To whose claim does The Bos refer when he speaks of samples being “salted”?  Anyone in the communications business knows that repetition of a falsehood only serves only to give it legs. Sandia Labs’ press office should be ashamed — and tell the Tusk where The Bos heard such a thing!

It is not surprising Ted is willing to take such a stand — the guy is a rock — and knows a punk when he sees one. He is 76, lives in the desert with his young wife and twin ten-year old girls, and knew Gene Shoemaker when Mark Boslough was practicing the recorder. Bully for Ted.

“The theory has reached zombie status,” said Professor Andrew Scott from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway. “Whenever we are able to show flaws and think it is dead, it reappears with new, equally unsatisfactory, arguments.

The January 30, 2013, press release here

Dear George:

Professor Scott’s press release is within the realm of “Zombie status”, that is to say, he may suffer from throwing down way too many strong rum cocktails (a.k.a. zombies) that by most medical standards causes mental impairment. Or, more likely, Professor Scott has not performed his duties as a reasonable scientist which are to weigh the pros and cons of a scientific argument and arrive at a justified and well-founded conclusion, pro or con – exclusive of entrenched biases, ignorance of the factual literature, misinformation, disinformation, etc.  Before issuing the naive statement in his January 30, 2013 press release, he obviously did not read the recent pertinent literature on the YDB theory e. g., Israde-Alcantaraet al. (2012) PNAS: 106:12623 – 12628; Bunch et al. (2012) PNAS: 1903-E1912; LeCompte et al. (2012) PNAS: September, 17).

I have resisted responding to the Boslough et al. (2012) paper because it is disingenuous and devoid of timely, pertinent information. However, Scott’s pompous press release sent me over the edge. The Boslough et al. paper is mostly in response to the Firestone et al. (2007) paper, ignoring five years of voluminous pro-YDB theory evidence given by the core YDB team and many independent research groups, yielding 24 peer-reviewed papers and nearly 57 abstracts. The anti-YDB group’s response to a few of these papers lacks substantive results and were subsequently shown to be fatally flawed (e. g., the Surovell et al. paper) or consist of rhetorical babbling such as the “Requiem Paper,” by Pinter et al. (2010), These futile attempts illustrate the weaknesses of their research-empty arguments, which offer only a disservice to the interested lay readers and to the scientific community. Reasonable scientists simply cannot ignore the presence of YDB impact evidence. Past and on-going YDB serious research efforts of pro-YDB teams cover at least twenty-three research disciplines that range from archeology to x-ray diffraction, most of which fully support the original suggestions of Firestone et al. (2007).

Research over the last few years on the YDB products, found in 18 well-dated sites, was primarily concerned with proving that they are the result of a very high temperature event. YDB objects were compared with melt products from a known cosmic impact (Meteor Crater, Arizona) and from the 1945 Trinity nuclear airburst in Socorro, New Mexico. Their characteristics were found to be consistent with the melt products generated within these comparable detonation plumes, and inconsistent with anthropogenic, geogenic, and authigenic processes in addition to cosmic spherule infall.

Our priorities since the Firestone paper have been to characterize the intriguing debris found in the YDB layer. Of course, there are continuing arguments with respect to the type of impactor and the cause of YD climate change, Clovis cultural demise, and megafaunal extinctions at 12.9 ka BP. Those are reasonable debates to have and it is completely unreasonable to insist that there is simply no evidence. The YDB impact theory may or may not be the answer to solving problems of climate, cultural, biota changes at the end of the Pleistocene, but it does provide a new and intriguing paradigm – in contrast to Boslough’s statistical nonsense about it ”being impossible”, as Bill Napier so clearly explained.

The Boslough et al. paper ignored the research described in the Israde and Bunch papers and chose to cherry pick minor points and to use outdated statistical data about impact frequency (by as much as 12 years) in order to try to prove a bogus point. This is, indeed, disingenuous. I was tempted to give them a pass on ignoring the LeCompte paper which was published in September, may be their paper “in press” at that time was cast in stone. If this were the case and they were responsible scientists, they would have withdrawn the paper for reconsideration.

However, in view of the fact that LeCompte’s work was clearly described in the Israde et al. paper, which Boslough et al. cited several times, a pass is not forthcoming. What really wears on me is the fact that they chose to ignore the reference to LeCompte et al. and continued to maintain their nonsensical disinformation that “independent investigators have failed to confirm the reports of enhanced concentrations of spherules.” Thus, they cannot claim they did not know about LeCompte’s work and so, one must conclude they willfully chose to ignore any evidence that contradicted their extreme bias.

I give no pass to Scott who had ample time to reconsider his position in the “controversy”.  I also have a problem in trying to understand the sophomoric “logic” in their paper Scott et al. (2010) on confusing carbon spherules with fungi and bug poop. A condensed version is: bug poop is round; carbon spherules are round; therefore all carbon spherules must be bug poop!

That said, I ask the interested readership of the Cosmic Tusk to take the time and read all of the pro and con papers on the YDB “controversy” listed above and form your own opinions.

Thank you for your attention,

Ted Bunch

YDB Core Team member

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