Our Scientific Output

| 62 Comments

Several weeks ago I got curious about what the collective scientific output was by members of the Panda’s Thumb, both authors and advisers. So I took a poll.

Because not every Pandit is an evolutionary biologist or even a scientist, I could not just do a poll based on EB scientific paper. The engineers who’ve worked on classified government projects wanted to be able to include their technical reports in the survey. The philosophers and historians of the group wanted to count their work in the humanities as well. So I ended up with three major categories: Science Papers, Humanities Papers, and Technical Reports. In addition, the Total Publication category covers all three of these as well as other academic/professional publications not covered by them. And finally, the Evolution Related category is a subset of the Total Publication category.

Here are the results, from a total of 31 responses.

Science Papers Humanities Papers Technical Reports Total Publications Evolution Related Publications
Total 978 103 305 1467 124
Average 31.5 3.3 9.8 47.3 4.0
Std Dev 67.7 7.6 18.2 80.2 8.0

Raw data is below the fold.

Noms de plume are used to protect the personal lives of several responders and because it is fun.

Steve Science Papers Humanities Papers Technical Reports Total Publications Evolution Related Publications
Pseudonymous Psteve 55 8 40 95 2
Saccharomyces Steve 0 0 0 0 0
Scientifically Vacuous Steve 2 0 2 4 0
Socratic Steve 0 0 0 0 0
Stalkeyed Steve 3 0 0 3 0
Staminate Steve 64 0 0 70 1
Statacco Steve 0 28 0 28 28
Statesman Steve 16 0 49 65 0
Steady Steve 275 30 25 330 0
Steganographic Steve 25 0 50 77 2
Stellar Steve 38 0 0 41 3
Stenosis Steve 8 0 40 48 0
Sterkfontein Steve 0 0 0 0 0
Stickleback Steve 250 0 0 300 10
Stickman Steve 5 0 0 5 0
Stiletto Steve 3 0 0 10 9
Stocious Steve 20 5 4 56 36
Stoic Steve 4 0 0 4 4
Strapping Steve 0 0 0 0 0
Streetwise Steve 5 8 60 73 0
Stromatolite Steve 0 0 0 0 0
StSteve 0 14 0 0 0
Studly Steve 9 0 1 11 9
Stugots Steve 48 1 0 49 5
Stultis Steve 2 0 1 5 0
Stumptail Steve 5 0 0 5 4
Stunned Steve 1 0 0 1 1
Stunning Steve 5 0 0 8 3
Stygian Steve 134 6 10 150 2
Suing Steve 0 2 23 25 2
Syncretistic Steve 1 1 0 4 3

62 Comments

Ha! Let me be among the first to say–degas willing!–that it’s a good thing for them that ID/Creationism have no need to match your pathetic level of detail!

I”d love to see a similar post on Uncommon Descent.

275 science publications!

yikes!

I’ll be happy if I end up with a few dozen in my whole career.

A lot of those rows don’t add up to the total. Is there another column missing?

Has anyone ever compiled a list of specific predictions about evolution in papers like these along with the supporting evidence eventually found? That would be something else the ID crowd would have difficulty replicating..

I’ve been thinking about picking out a week or a month and doing a survey of news releases that have something to do with evolution – i.e., announcements or publications of REAL science – and also doing a count of news releases coming out of the DI. They were pretty prolific a few weeks back. It would be interesting to compare the quantity and content of their output in a “good” week with news releases from the people who are actually doing science.

The reason all the rows don’t add up was actually stated in the preamble:

“So I ended up with three major categories: Science Papers, Humanities Papers, and Technical Reports. In addition, the Total Publication category covers all three of these as well as other academic/professional publications not covered by them ”.

One can only wonder how many contributions to science can be attributed to the ArchIDiotCaseyLuskin Steve . … .

Has anyone ever compiled a list of specific predictions about evolution in papers like these along with the supporting evidence eventually found? That would be something else the ID crowd would have difficulty replicating..

check the talkorigins archive.

http://www.talkorigins.org/

It’s kinda spread out, but there are many articles relating to what you are asking for.

Sir_Toejam said: > check the talkorigins archive.

Right, I’ve seen items like that scattered around talkorigins. Just curious if anyone had made a concise list–perhaps organized by date and prediction. Something that could be easily extended and maintained along the lines of the TalkOrigins index of creationist claims. Counting papers is useful, but seems to me that a long list of successful predictions might be pretty compelling.

What exactly qualifies as a publication? I’d be rather surprised if anyone here using an x86-based computer was NOT running some of my code - quite probably embedded in more than one chip.

Right, I’ve seen items like that scattered around talkorigins. Just curious if anyone had made a concise list—perhaps organized by date and prediction.

agreed.

In fact, I’ve been working on a course syllabus that approaches teaching evolutionary biology from exactly that perspective; looking at the early predictions made by Darwin, and tracking all the way to the most recent ones that haven’t been tested as of yet.

It’s been fun going over all the old work by Fischer, Hamilton, Wilson, etc.

However, putting it all in one place kind of like a “review paper” would be a bit daunting. It would be hundreds of pages long, even as a review article, to cover the subject in any real depth.

I’ve been working on a course syllabus that approaches teaching evolutionary biology from exactly that perspective; looking at the early predictions made by Darwin, and tracking all the way to the most recent ones that haven’t been tested as of yet.

I would love to see it when you feel like you can share it. I’ve been doing something similar, but less ambitious, in my evolutionary biology course. For each topic I’ve been trying to follow explicitly a flow that looks like …

Statement about how evolution or an evolutionary mechanism works –> Prediction of what one might observe if the statement were true –> Observations related to the predictions –> Analysis of the results to determine whether the prediction was or was not supported.

While it’s only a slight modification of the typical “statement –> example” flow, it does allow me to emphasize over and over again that the theory of evolution is scientific because it leads to testable hypotheses, the hypotheses have been tested, and data support the predictions of the hypotheses. But I haven’t tried to link it directly to historical or current predictions from the literature, and I would be really interested in seeing what that looked like.

A similar post on Uncommon Descent? Ridiculous! They are far too busy googling and then cutting and pasting from other websites!

Just curious if you verified any of the data and what exactly qualifies. Nate

Just curious if you verified any of the data and what exactly qualifies.

I’m not sure if this is directed at me or Sir_Toejam. For my part: yes, I verify the data by looking at the original sources, but no, I don’t replicate the studies myself. What qualifies tends to be results from peer-reviewed studies. I’m one of those people who actually believes in the peer-review process. Having been both a writer and reviewer of manuscripts for over 25 years, I can see that it does a pretty decent job of limiting the amount of bad science that gets into print. You folks totally rock!

This gives me the opportunity to shout out a really big thank you to all the folks that make Talk.Origins possible. The objection-response format is fun and useful, but I especially value the relevent literature sections. It makes connecting my students to the data very easy.

Hmmm, very strange sentence placement. The comment about folks rocking should have been at the end of the paragraph relating to Talk.Origins, not the one about peer review. As much as I have faith in the peer review process, it tends to rate pretty low on the rockage scale.

Quite an impressive list. Only one question, though - are there any coauthored papers in the list that are double-counted?

I’m just trying to play the devil’s advocate here; I think the list as a whole is quite impressive and amusing, especially considering the average values and that not everyone here concentrates solely on the field.

I would love to see it when you feel like you can share it.

Ideally, I’m thinking it will take me about two more months to get a rough draft finished.

Realistically, double that, and add 2 more months for polish.

:)

then, I have to rework it for various target groups. I’m starting off with the assumption of teaching it as a senior undergrad level course, but would also want to upgrade it a bit for grad level seminar type course.

eventually, it could be pared down to work at high school level, I think; that might be a bit ambitious though.

No no! You got it all wrong!

Its PRESS RELEASES that count! So count them, I’m sure the Discovery Institute has more, so of course ID is a real, important science!

You have two very different subgroups at PT, a number of young people just starting careers, and a group of people retired or near retirement. Thus, the use of a SD is not recommended as shown by a SD so large that in every variable it exceeds the lower bound (and I’ll bet the upper in most cases).

I am currious how you differentiated “science” from “humanities,” and how would you score say “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design,” or the chapters in “Why Intelligent Design Fails?” Is medicine a science or a humanities topic?

And the purpose of this string again is WHAT ?

Wait, .….I think I’ve got it. A bunch of “ Steves “ wrote a bunch of “ papers “.

Therefore, using our trusty friend, aka deductive reasoning, evolution MUST be considered as valid scientific fact.

Right ? No, Not quite. Self-validation has always been the keystone of our dear darwinists.

Right, I’ve seen items like that scattered around talkorigins. Just curious if anyone had made a concise list—perhaps organized by date and prediction.

Even doing this for just one single case requires rather a lot of library research unless you are already intimately involved with the subfield in question.

I did something like what is suggested for evolutionary immunology here: http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]ted_bib.html

…but it was quite a lot of work.

You have two very different subgroups at PT, a number of young people just starting careers, and a group of people retired or near retirement. Thus, the use of a SD is not recommended as shown by a SD so large that in every variable it exceeds the lower bound (and I’ll bet the upper in most cases).

This is basically correct. We also have some people who are not university academics/professional scientists.

I am currious how you differentiated “science” from “humanities,” and how would you score say “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design,”

Humanities I think.

or the chapters in “Why Intelligent Design Fails?”

Those are pretty science-y, although philosophy ones might be humanities. We did count book chapters for this. Web posts, theses, newspaper op-eds, etc. were not counted however – “academic-ish” was the criterion.

Is medicine a science or a humanities topic?

Probably science – each person made their own judgments about where things fit the best. Reed said this was not intended as a fully rigorous characterization of everyone’s publications, so we didn’t try to develop a complete classification scheme, which would have been very complex and onerous, if it could be done at all, especially considering the weird nature of publications on creation/evolution which will very commonly involve politics/philosophy/law/religion etc., in addition to science.

Joseph Alden said:

Self-validation has always been the keystone of our dear darwinists.

Only if you want to call “evidence in support of falsifiable hypotheses” self-validation. What have you guys got?

Wait, .….I think I’ve got it. A bunch of “ Steves “ wrote a bunch of “ papers “

How about “A bunch of guys trying to actually investigate the way things work do a bunch of research and publish their data so that others can confirm or refute their findings”

Oops, I used the unholy trinity of bad words - investigate, publish & confirm. I know there might be kids out there reading this, so I won’t do that again.

Self-validation has always been the keystone of our dear darwinists

Um, as opposed to what… non-validation?

And while we’re at it, just what’s wrong with being a “Steve” anyhow?

“3. Should public schools require the teaching of intelligent design?

No. Instead of mandating intelligent design, [organization] recommends that states and school districts focus on teaching students more about evolutionary theory, including telling them about some of the theory’s problems that have been discussed in peer-reviewed science journals. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned. We believe this is a common-sense approach that will benefit students, teachers, and parents.”

Does anyone here agree with this?

This is the sort of middle ground that is out there… this is off of the “Discovery Institute” website FAQ.

Is it just hogwash to cover their asses?

In my opinion, it’s just hogwash to provide cover for fundamentalist teachers who want to inject religion into the classroom. “Honest, I wasn’t trying to preach fundamentalism; I was just teaching the controversy.” No one who has spent any real time in a classroom believes there is any restriction on teaching the scientific controversies, so this kind of statement is … well … just stupid. The only people who feel constrained by the current situation are the ones who really just want to teach religion.

Every time I hear this argument, I have one reply…

What problems? What critical scrutiny?”

Be specific. What part do you think is wrong?

I never get a cogent answer.

Evolution has probably set the record as the single most unpopular scientific theory in the entire history of mankind. It has been subjected to whithering scientific, and not incidentally, legal attacks for 150 years from every quarter.

More effort may have gone into denying evolution than into curing cancer.

And yet nobody has ever shown the core concept to be wrong.

Nobody has even been able to articulate a reasonable doubt (at least one based on observable evidence).

Even the darling of the ID crowd, Michael Behe (of wagging flagellum fame) admits that evolution is the essentially correct model.

The argument is simply a red herring. There is no controversy to teach.

Creationists learned long ago that they can’t block the teaching of evolution (Epperson v. Arkansas) they can’t demand equal time to teach creationism (McLean v. Arkansas). And they can’t dress it up and pretend it’s science when it’s not (Edwards v. Aguillard and Kitzmiller v. Dover).

Since they can’t outright prevent the teaching of evolution, the next best strategy is to put up roadblocks to prevent its effective teaching.

Hence, the whole “teach the controversy” approach; a simple slogan that plays upon peoples sense of fairness.

The problem is, there is no real controversy, and there hasn’t been for the better part of a century, at least not in the entry level theory taught in high school.

That argument was settled literally a hundred years ago. There’s more hard understanding of how evolution works than there is for gravity or magnetism (that statement is not hyperbole, btw, it is literally true).

Nobody has managed to do any serious work in creation science since the 1800’s.

That’s not to say that that there aren’t all sorts of healthy arguments about the finer points, especially out at the theoretical edges. Open the pages of any professional journal, and it’s full of conflicting ideas and new research. It’s not like we keep that secret.

But it’s all argument about the exact details, and the Creationist crowd is trying to purposely conflate that healthy give-and-take at the cutting edge into the idea that evolution is poorly understood, or “a theory in trouble”.

It’s as if they were pointing to the fact that nobody can tell for certain what the continents looked like half a billion years ago (which is true) and holding that up as evidence that the “round earth” faction might still be wrong.

Brad,

On the face of it, it sounds reasonable to teach some of the problems with the theory of evolution. Which controversial aspects of it do you have in mind that could be usefully discussed in a high school biology class? I am not aware of any appropriate ones since the demise of Lamarkism. I suppose you could bring in the discussion of the importance of sympatric speciation. Do you have any reason to believe that topics like this are being deliberately excluded from the classroom?

Wow. I had to do 1 to get out of school and even that was a bit dicey (unless you count compiling numbers and converting them to english for our illustrious gov’t). But I have done a lot of work on varying middle school science curriculum.

SMgr: Has anyone ever compiled a list of specific predictions about evolution in papers like these along with the supporting evidence eventually found? That would be something else the ID crowd would have difficulty replicating..

Predictions are the key to critical thinking and kids can learn to do critical thinking. Seriously. There are a lot of good texts out there with good inquiries and labs but there is precious little about the people who discovered what we call the basics, what challenges they were working on, what we can know from their discoveries and etc. The way to make them engage is to mix it up with stories. The double helix is waaay more interesting if you know the story. Why were they looking for it? etc.

I set up a density lab a couple of years ago that started with Archimedes’ challenge. If they couldn’t figure out a way to tell which balloon contained a mixture of mostly of bb’s and a few plastic pellets and which one was all bb’s, they would have an extra page of homework or some such. The students ended the lab by devising a race called “Slowest to the bottom” whoever’s balloon took the longest to sink got to skip a page of homework. They came up with the race themselves. Amazingly, the winner took around 20 minutes. The students made up the race.

There are a lot of good texts out there with good inquiries and labs but there is precious little about the people who discovered what we call the basics, what challenges they were working on, what we can know from their discoveries and etc. The way to make them engage is to mix it up with stories.

that stuff is out there too.

lately I’ve been going over a lot of Fisher, Hamilton, and Wilson’s original work, and there are some excellent books out there (especially by Hamilton and Wilson) that track a lot of what has become large parts of the modern synthesis, literally tracing it from their undergrad speculations right on to their latest papers (as of the publications).

there was an article in Seed last month where some of Wilson’s works were documented ( http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/20[…]thesizer.php - just ignore the title, as it’s really not very reflective of Wilson’s position on science and religion), and I’m currently reading volume 1 of “Narrow Roads of Gene Land”, which documents in Hamilton’s own words, how he devoloped the models for inclusive fitness.

great stuff from both historical and theoretical perspectives.

Hamilton’s book is one of those that even high schoolers can read and get a lot out of, and will want to re-read it as they gain more insight.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on December 1, 2006 4:12 PM.

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