Saturday, February 23, 2008

the latest in the world of Paleo Controversey

Rather than making two separate post, I'll just include both here. Aetogate and DINO are in the news again today. Its sad when there are two controversies taking place at the same time. Sometimes the results and responses (or lack there of!) are even more depressing.

The Albuquerque Journal reports "Ethics Panelist Calls Museum Flap Baseless" (you have to watch a short commercial to read the article) after the State Cultural Affairs chief Stuart Ashman called for a review of the charges brought against Lucas and company. However, the invited two "outside guest experts" to help with the new inquiry were not impartial. Norman Silberling and New Mexico geologist Orin Anderson were asked to aid in the inquiry. However, "A scholarly library index lists Anderson and Lucas as coauthors of 65 research papers. Silberling and Lucas coauthored five papers. Lucas has dedicated books to both Silberling and Anderson, and, in his Feb. 18 letter (open access .PDF), Silberling described himself as "a professional friend and admirer of Lucas." I have to ask, why did Siberling write a letter three days before the review panel's meeting to state officials declaring Lucas' innocence when he was asked to help with the review? Does that not show his partiality?? Not to mention that the entire tone of his letter is rude, accusatory, and derogatory to young paleontologist and very unprofessional*. I only hope that Stuart Ashman and other state officials will realize the blunder that including these two partial parties has caused and will conduct a open, and impartial review on the matter.

"It’s difficult to believe that Parker and/or Martz or their associates didn’t prime Naish to initiate his accusatory blog site knowing that all sorts of slanderous, unsubstantiated bile would result. From this, it’s apparent that an interconnected group of mainly young, un or under -employed workers (including both Parker and Martz) has for whatever reasons a strong grudge against Lucas and the NMMNH&S. But that’s just the way it is."

My thoughts on the comment in bold above probably does not need words.

**Update** Check out the other latest responses to this story:
Aetogate, continued: Norman Silberling shoots his mouth off
Political cartoon by John Trever for
from the Albuquerque Journal (not sure how I missed this):
Adventures in Ethics and Science -How committed are paleontologists to objectivity (in questions of ethical conduct)?
Tetrapod Zoology - an interesting post on traumatic anal intercourse with a pig (just a curious post, it has nothing to do with Aetogate, he assures me).


David Nimkin, The Southwest Director for the National Parks Connservation Association seems to have joined the "pro-job-cuts" bandwagon for DINO. Kurt Repanshek for National Parks Traveler recently contacted the NPCA for a comment regarding these changes in the park and was startled at what he was hearing from Nimkin: “I really am of the opinion that they’re doing a fine job in the face of real significant financial constraints," he said. "I’ve gotten messages saying she (Superintendent Risser) ought to be fired, change the leadership there. On the contrary, I really want to complement their staff for really finding ways to serve all the needs they have, and that’s not always a popular thing.” I know that I am not personally calling for Ms. Risser to be fired or done away with. Quite the contrary. I know these problem go higher than her, reaching into the regional directors office, as the CORE operations changes are is his mission. I only ask her to stand up and do what is right and say 'no' to these changes. I also ask for the park service director to investigate these changes and, if needed, find the additional funds to keep these jobs in place. They are jobs that are very needed.

Mr. Repanshek then contacted park paleontologist Dan Chure for his opinion, which, if you have been keeping up with this story, is not surprising. Dan supports the changes. Odd, since he did not support them in 2002/3. In the end it appears the Mr. Repanshek has been swayed to their side: "Is this a perfect solution? Probably not in the eyes of those who believe the Park Service has a responsibility to conduct a robust, in-house science mission. But when it comes to today's fiscal realities, this just might be the best the agency can do."

Read the entire article here.



Darren Naish said...

Many thanks for the coverage ReBecca. Let me just take this opportunity to point out that my article on anal sex with a pig was in no way connected at all with any aspect of the aetogate affair. But I appreciate your sense of humour :)

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Thanks! It was an excellent post you made, as always.

Dr. Lemming said...

Dear ReBecca,
If you are interested, we have a poll on the matter: