The Bunch et al. paper concerning the biblical city of Tall el-Hammam and co-authored by the Tusk has proven a dramatic publication. Arguably the most popular scientific journal article on earth, the paper has by turns been reported to millions; smeared by anti-Christian bigots; spared by a secular publisher; and most recently employed by James Lawrence Powell to defend the scientific method itself.
Immediately after publication, a twitter mob of sciency people decided that the Tall el-Hammam cosmic impact paper was simply unacceptable. The smear was christened by the Tusk as #Pebblegate. Scientific method and centuries of epistemological discipline notwithstanding, these narrow minded ideological actors decided that an archaeologically experienced bible school, joined with a well-credentialed, multidisciplinary, but controversial team of impact scientists, should not be allowed to present their discovery — and must be suppressed.
In an opaque request, elements of the mob petitioned Science Reports, claiming the photographs in the publication were fraudulent. The impact scientists immediately responded to the nuisance claim carefully and appropriately. I have not mentioned the controversy or the CRG response here, and allowed the matter to play out in the intervening months.
(For more context of where the critics are coming from, read these two high profile hit pieces here and from The Bos here. You can also see the nature of the challenges here at PubPeer and Retraction Watch. See the dripping condescension and anti-science attitude? Any reasonable person would. The antagonists bare their woke fangs with zero attention to the scientific method, or the data presented in the paper. How scientific.)
The bottom line with regard to the challenge to the paper, is that Science Reports made an admirable if counterculture decision to allow the “wrong people” to publish properly obtained data the right way. Despite the howls of the hyper-politicized, hyper-secular, sciency left, Nature’s Science Reports stood by the publication, but required an appropriate clarification regarding the photos to accompany the paper.
Some of the figure panels have been manipulated to remove the features irrelevant to the scientific content depicted in those (e.g. measuring tape, previous image labels, visible fingers etc.). The Authors recognize that this level of manipulation was inappropriate, and provide original images. [Emphasis added.]
The rejection of the petition to retract was a fine outcome, and worthy of a final report here on the Tusk.
But then, James Lawrence Powell came along. Originally a skeptic of the YD Impact Hypothesis, Powell has become a vigorous and skilled champion of our evidence after he closely examining the data. But more significant to science broadly, JLP has become an invaluable documentarian of the pathological rejection of inconvenient information, which is applicable to many other areas of contested research.
Dr. Powell first outlined the solid pedigree of our work in a must read book on the history of the theory. Last fall he condensed his thinking on the debate into a masterful article revealing the malicious misrepresentations and anti-science maneuverings of the critics.
And then, just this week, he released a preprint paper providing the same critical inspection of the controversy concerning Tall el-Hammam, in particular the pseudoskeptical rantings of Mark “The Bos” Boslough, the ever present, hyperbolic troll of our work.
And Powell takes The Bos DOWN. Anyone but the Tusk might feel sorry for his ass. See below.
Sometimes, and in particular these times, data alone cannot stand against the force of deniers. It takes a gentleman with Powell’s integrity, experience and class to defend the scientific method. You can see him here on the podcast, Out of the Blank. At first I was surprised to see Dr. Powell on a podcast, but then it made sense, Powell stands up when others are demanded to kneel.