The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

The Western Hemisphere. General term for the Americas following their discovery by Europeans, thus setting them in contradistinction to the Old World of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

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The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby uniface » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:30 am

It is not surprising that Surovell and Holliday, well published and respected archeologists who built careers studying Paleo-America, stepped up in 2009 to replicate or refute Firestone. What is surprising is the sloppy, unprofessional work which ensued in their names — and the willful ignorance and rank condescension which characterized their conduct going forward.

Surovell and Holliday did not find any spherules at any of the sites they and Firestone tested. And of the sites they tested independently, only one location yielded any spherules at all. So the study was bloody water to the skeptics and fence sitters circling since the 2007 introduction of the theory. A variety of characters, many with academic reputations at stake, had been cautiously waiting for the first chance to bury the living. Which they proceeded to do.

But, as referenced earlier, it was quickly apparent to the original authors — and thank goodness others — what had happend. Surovell-Holliday had failed in several ways to follow the testing protocol provided by Firestone for follow-up researchers. LeCompte documents six serious “Deficiencies” of the Holliday-Surovell study.

LeCompte emphasizes the importance of following the original protocol for “size-sorting” the little bits of material which have been previously been separated from the archeological sediment. Size-sorting is a simple to understand but tedious process. The Firestone authors called for passing the grains through a sieve which excludes any grains >150 microns. Surovell-Holliday missed this simple prescription and passed the material through a sieve nearly ten times times more accommodating — a 1 mm mesh. (LeCompte later found the best results using 50 micron mesh) . . .

“Surovell’s work was in vain because he didn’t replicate the protocol. We missed it too at first. It seems easy, but unless you follow the protocol rigorously, you will fail to detect these spherules. There are so many factors that can disrupt the process. Where Surovell found no spherules, we found hundreds to thousands,” said Malcolm LeCompte, lead author of the new study, who is professor at Elizabeth City State University. — ‘Big Freeze’ nearly 13,000 years ago caused by comet explosion over Canada, Yahoo News, Sep. 19, 2012

The upshot is that when you sort out the largest of the material the peaks are noted in the finer particles, and the finer the better. Unless you sort down to a properly small size, your sample — and the task of picking through the chaff for the wheat — is greatly burdened by the many thousands of additional non-diagnostic larger particles you have collected.

If you are looking for tennis balls — it wise to remove the basketballs — particularly when there are orders of magnitude more basketballs.

When this and other equally serious shortcomings became apparent shortly after publication, there was some hope among the original authors that respectfully pointing out the deficiencies at a forthcoming meeting of AMQUA in Laramie, Wyoming might bring to light the proper methods and encourage some reappraisal of the results by Holliday and Surovell.

Only if it were so.

I accompanied Drs. Kennett, West and others to Laramie in 2010 with hopes of a fair-minded exchange of information and perhaps collaboration. What I found, frankly, was an atmosphere seething with a petty mix of intellectual cowardice and academic condescension that committed me more deeply to my new blog – and chills me to this day.

Dr. Holliday could barely contain himself during Allen West’s respectful and guileless presentation of the deficiencies, hurrrumphed his way through the talk, and refused to engage in an sincere Q & A afterwards. It was as if Holliday were channeling fabled charmer Aleš Hrdlicka in a final tour of the American west. His cynicism was largely reflected by the crowd, whose cliquish nature — including furtive huddles and giggles in the halls — was more in keeping with Mean Girls than Socratic dialogue.

Surovell’s reaction was most disappointing when recalled today after three years. As with all conferences there was plenty of opportunity to gauge reaction during the inevitable sidebars and auditorium chatter. West’s critique had clearly affected Todd. I will not commit my memory to his exact words here, but I will never forget his physical bearing and his message afterwards. Todd hung his head, groaned deeply, and said he simply did not have the time to do the work again correctly, tedious as it is.

Naif that the Tusk is, I thought Todd meant he had no time available right now — and that he would get to it in time. I understand now, three years later, after 26 citations of the flawed article, and thousands of repetitions of it’s intellectually destructive message, that Todd meant he would never have time to correct his mistake. Not in the next issue of PNAS, not at the next meeting of AMQUA — he meant never.


http://cosmictusk.com/
uniface
 

Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby uniface » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:34 am

EUGENE, Ore. — (Sept. 18, 2012) — An interdisciplinary team of scientists from seven U.S. institutions says a disregard of three critical protocols, including sorting samples by size, explains why a group challenging the theory of a North American meteor-impact event some 12,900 years ago failed to find iron- and silica-rich magnetic particles in the sites they investigated.

Not separating samples of the materials into like-sized groupings made for an avoidable layer of difficulty, said co-author Edward K. Vogel, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

The new independent analysis — published this week in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — did, in fact, isolate large quantities of the “microspherules” at the involved sites where the challengers previously reported none. Lead author Malcolm A. LeCompte, an astrophysicist at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, said the findings support the climate-altering cosmic impact, but his team stopped short of declaring this as proof of the event.

The Clovis-age cosmic-impact theory was proposed in 2007 by a 26-member team led by Richard B. Firestone. That team included University of Oregon archaeologists Douglas J. Kennett and Jon M. Erlandson. While other groups have found corroborating evidence of a potential cosmic event, other groups reported difficulties doing so. One group, led by Todd A Surovell of the University of Wyoming, did not find any microspherule evidence at five of seven sites they tested, including two previously studied locations where Firestone reported large numbers of microspherules.

“In investigating the two common sites and a third tested only by Surovell’s team, we found spherules in equal or greater abundance than did the Firestone team, and the reported enhancement was in strata dated to about 13,000 years before the present,” LeCompte said. “What we’ve done is provide evidence that is consistent with an impact, but we don’t think it proves the impact. We think there’s a mystery contained in the Younger Dryas strata, and that we’ve provided some validation to the original research by Firestone’s group.”

The particles in question, the team concluded, are terrestrial as was claimed by the Firestone group, and not of meteoric origin as claimed by other challengers including Surovell’s group, and are similar to metamorphic material in Earth’s crust. That determination was made using electron microscopy and spectroscopy.

“These spherules have evidence of very high-temperature melting and very rapid cooling, which is characteristic of debris ejected from an impact,” LeCompte said. Speherules would have melted at temperatures approaching 2,000 degrees Celsius (more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit), he added. Cosmic materials, including some microspherules, regularly fall to earth from space due to meteorite ablation, but the spherules found in soils dating to 13,000 years ago are much different, he added. Other researchers had suggested that these spherules were deposited by a cosmic rain or resulted through slow, terrestrial processes occurring under ambient conditions.

LeCompte and some key collaborators wondered why Surovell didn’t find any spherules, and that led them to Vogel. Many of the spherules investigated were tiny, ranging in size from 20 to 50 micrometers (microns); about the diameter of a human hair.

“The inherent difficulty in finding these small, relatively rare magnetic microspherules suggested there may be inherent limitations in human faculties that needed to be addressed, and that’s how and why we sought out UO Professor Ed Vogel. His research into human cognitive capabilities proved so important in understanding both why the search was so difficult and why size-sorting was effective and important in making it easier,” LeCompte said.

Vogel specializes in the ability of people to find specific items amid multiple distractions.

“A visual search is a very error-prone process,” Vogel said. “This was a case of looking at millions of particles from which you are hoping to find something that might be present much less than 0.1 percent of the time.” Size-sorting, he said, is vital because it is easier to find a target item with a characteristic shape and color when all of the many more-distracting objects are very similar. “It is a slow, tedious process to examine such quantities of materials with the human eyes when object sizes are extremely dissimilar.”

“Science is only as good as the humans who conduct it, and this study shows how the minds of researchers can operate in some surprising ways,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UO vice president for research and innovation, and dean of the graduate school. “Dr. Vogel’s excellent work, which illustrates the importance of understanding how the human mind processes information and the consequences it can have beyond making everyday computations, reflects the University of Oregon’s strengths in interdisciplinary research.”

LeCompte described Surovell’s study “as possibly the most damning of the reports that had challenged the original theory.”

“Todd had worked very hard and couldn’t find the spherules, but I think he made some fatal errors that need to be pointed out,” LeCompte said. “It is instructive in that we initially made the same mistake and came to the same erroneous conclusion, but then we corrected our mistake. I would say this is a case of a missed opportunity due to their deviations from the protocol.”

Two other critical protocol deviations not followed by the challengers involved the amounts of material examined and the use of microscopy techniques specified in Firestone’s original research. Another two minor aspects of the protocol also were not repeated, reported LeCompte’s team, which, in addition to Vogel, included an archaeologist, two materials scientists, a botanist, a periglacial geographer and an aerospace engineer.

LeCompte’s team — using the protocols of Firestone’s group and electron microscopy — additionally studied a quarry site in Topper, S.C., where Clovis-age people had made stone tools. After removing chert debris associated with tool making in soil at the depth of the Clovis occupation, LeCompte said, researchers observed virtually no spherules below it, while in soil just above the chert fragments they found a spike in the number of telltale spherules.

Further above that level, he noted, the soil layers were essentially “a dead zone” somewhat analogous to the K-T boundary, or “tombstone layer,” from an extinction event that occurred 65 million years ago. At Topper, the dead zone showed almost no trace of human habitation for perhaps as long as 1,000 years duration.

“This suggests that something very dramatic happened,” LeCompte said.

“The effects of such an impact would have been catastrophic on a global scale,” said co-author Barrett Rock, a botanist at the University of New Hampshire. “On the order of 36 ice-age species became extinct, and the Clovis human culture eventually lost. All of this in response to dramatic changes in the vegetation at the base of the faunal food chain.”

Co-authors on the PNAS paper with LeCompte, Vogel and Rock were Albert C. Goodyear of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina; Mark N. Demitroff of the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware; Dale Batchelor and Charles Mooney of the Analytical Instrumentation Facility at North Carolina State University; and Alfred W. Seidel of Seidel Research in North Carolina.

Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, jebarlow@uoregon.edu

Sources: Edward Vogel, professor of psychology, 541-346-4905, vogel@uoregon.edu; and Malcolm A. LeCompte, research director, Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research, Elizabeth City State University, 252-335-3807, lecomptem@mail.ecsu.edu; and Barrett Rock, University of New Hampshire, 603-862-0322, barry.rock@unh.edu


http://cosmictusk.com/
uniface
 

Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby Minimalist » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:54 am

Thanks, Uni. These are good finds.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby hardaker » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:40 am

Thanks, Uni.
"was more in keeping with Mean Girls than Socratic dialogue" -- how sad but pathetically true.
The "club" strikes out again. Hopefully someday they will discover that scientific investigation is not a show of hands. Still, it took three years to check their worthless work. How did it pass in the first place?
Chris Hardaker
The First American: The Suppressed Story of the People Who Discovered the New World [ https://www.amazon.com/First-American-S ... 1564149420 ]
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Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby Minimalist » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:37 am

Nobody checked.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby E.P. Grondine » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:38 am

Denial is an interesting psychological mechanism. It particularly comes into play when people feel helpless, and
and there is well funded and well organized resistance that manipulates people using it.

Thus the persistent claims that there is nothing we can do to deal with impactors.

As far as the professional archaeological community goes, I believe that the educational process filters out nearly anyone who has any sense left, if the professionals can't grade it out of their students to start with.

I've found that large type, simple words, and lots of pictures work best when dealing with most of them. Occasionally, after great effort searching, you can find someone among them who still is able to think, or has reached such a secure position as to be able to finally consider the data.

If anyone has an old Mac portable capable of running iWorks to spare, please PM me and send it my way.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby hardaker » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:00 pm

Back in the 70s and 80s, the Clovis black mat was a "temple" of sorts. They worshipped it. Too bad they did not look at it a bit closer. What an embarrassment to the "expert" archeologists who lorded over everyone else who questioned the Clovis First dogma, and usually criticized them for not doing science correctly. And now they have only one question to answer.
How did you want your eggs?

Thanks again Uni. Well encapsulated. Didn't know about your blog. Cool.
Chris Hardaker
The First American: The Suppressed Story of the People Who Discovered the New World [ https://www.amazon.com/First-American-S ... 1564149420 ]
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Re: The Evidence That Won't Just Go Away Quietly

Postby uniface » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:58 pm

Unintentional Ambiguity Correction : Not my blog. I just cut-&-pasted them. Put them inside [quote] . . . [/unquote] but that wasn't enough for clarity I guess.

Happy to be of service :D
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