In “Uncertainty shrouds psychologist’s resignation” (Nature, 12 July 2012), Ed Yong reports, “Lawrence Sanna departed University of Michigan amid questions over his work from ‘data detective’ Uri Simonsohn.”:
In one experiment, Sanna checked the willingness of volunteers to force other people to eat hot sauce in order to make them feel pain. The volunteers were tested after being in three positions: walking up or down a staircase or staying level. Simonsohn noticed that although the results for each of the three test positions had different means, they had uncannily similar standard deviations. “I ran simulations and the similarity was extremely unlikely for proper random samples,” he says.
Simonsohn found three other papers by Sanna2–4 and several from other researchers that used one of the methods found in the elevation paper — a cooperation game that involved fishing. “When other authors ran this paradigm, they got healthy-looking standard deviations. But when Sanna did, he got very similar ones,” says Simonsohn.
In September, Simonsohn sent an eight-page report detailing his concerns to Sanna and two of his senior co-authors. He received back raw data, which revealed, for example, almost identical ranges between the maximum and minimum data points, across different conditions. “That’s extremely rare,” Simonsohn says.
Notice that it was not at all like what happens when we discover that everything inside a cell just happens to be little machines, doing jobs. And someone whistles past the graveyard of Darwinism, to the tune of, oh, it was just natural selection, acting on random mutation. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on! Move on! Or else.
That fact attracted the attention of philosopher and photographer Laszlo Bencze, who writes us to say,
It’s interesting that in unmasking fraud, the investigator relies on statistical standards about how “extremely unlikely” or “extremely rare” something might be. Notably he does not use evolutionary reasoning: that even extremely rare events are nonetheless certain to happen sooner or later.
Common sense tells us to be highly skeptical about rare events, especially when they start popping up in profusion. The evolutionary mindset, on the other hand, urges calm acceptance. But calm acceptance of extraordinarily rare events blinds us to fraud. In fact such a mindset divests us of our reasoning power. Children from the ages of two to four are not entertained by magic shows because they calmly accept that anything is possible for adults. It’s the capacity for skepticism that makes magic entertaining.
If evolutionists were to be consistent in their understanding of the world they would be as naive as children. As this article once again reveals, no evolutionist is consistent with his world view. All of them, in order to function at all, must contradict their world view.
Of course Darwin’s men will say that the human mind evolved for fitness, not for truth, so the design inference is just an illusion.
Well then, why did that guy Sanna have to resign? The blobs of brain jelly that judged him were no more rational than any other, because there is no such concept in Darwin’s world. Darwin trembled at the horrid thought, but he accepted it. One wonders whether he guessed that his followers would.
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