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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Entomologist surprised to find name on now-retracted paper alleging fossils oppose Darwin’s theory of evolution

with 23 comments

jblsThe Journal of Biology and Life Science, published by the Macrothink Institute, has retracted a paper that claimed “fossil does not provides [sic] the convincing and direct evidences for evolution,” for reasons that they left to us to figure out.

The entire notice for “Fossils Evidences (Paleontology) Opposite to Darwin’s Theory,” allegedly written by Md. Abdul Ahad, of Hajee Mohamed Danesh Science and Technology University in Bangladesh, and Charles D. Michener, of the University of Kansas, reads:

The editorial board announced that this article has been retracted on February 25, 2014. If you have any further question, please contact us at: jbls@macrothink.org

That notice seems to have disappeared from the web, but is available as a Google cache. The same goes for the paper, which seems to have been published sometime this year. Here’s the abstract:

Darwin‟s Theory is a central theme of biology and all theories of evolution. Paleontology, the study of fossils provide convincing and the direct evidences for evolution. Save for, if the organisms of same class arise from the same ancestor as Darwin opine; fossil record should provides a series of fossil from the progressive to older deposits, that show stage of intermediate between specialized modern (existing) living organism, but no so found at all. Nevertheless, silicafied wood is a familiar example of plant fossils. Invertebrates have no hard parts, so, they are rarely form fossils but few insects found in amber as fossils. The entire vertebrate fossils are fragmentary bones. For example fossil of dinosaurs are thigh bone, arm bone, teeth, footprints, track, bite etc., and fossils of ancestors of human are skull fragments, teeth, jaws etc. Even these fossils are negligible amount and are not found in the original form but are moulds, casts, compression, impression, etc. The only unchanged fossil is the Woolly mammoth. Furthermore, transitional fossil is absent; claimed transitional fossils of Archaeopteryx and Seymouria are not transitional, they are true bird and true reptile, respectively. Obtain fossil are of fossil of present day organisms or are fossil of extinct organisms, which may form during a universal flood. Fossil evidences prove that humans have not evolve/descent from monkey lower animal. Even Darwin himself agreed in the “Descent of man‟ that origin of human cannot explain by science. Co-discoverer of natural selection Alfred Russel Wallace never believes that human is evolved from lower animal. Moreover, estimation of age of fossil, age of earth by radiometric method and preparation of geological time table (scale) is imaginary as it overlooks 3.5 billion year. Extinction of living organism never produce any new species, if produce, no need of biodiversity conservation convention to prevent extinction. Living fossils prove that there is no evolutionary relationship between fossils and existing organisms. The fathers of modern paleontology and geology opposed evolution. Consequently, paleontology does not provide convincing, strongest, verified, and direct evidences for evolution as well as fossils evidences are opposite to Darwin‟s Theory. Moreover, the scientists of the most countries except a few have no facility to work with fossils; due to lack of technologies even they have no chance to see the fossils too. That is why the evolutionists as well as paleontologists cunningly have shown the fossils as the direct evidences of organic evolution. Darwin stated that if the geological record be perfect then the main objection of his theory natural selection will be greatly dismissed or disappears and he, who rejects these views on the nature of geological record, would rightly reject his whole theory.

The conclusion:

It is seen from different literatures that fossil does not provides the convincing and direct evidences for evolution; instead fossil evidence is extremely poor and biased. As fossils are negligible amount and are fragmentary bone, so, like living organisms, it has no taxonomic classification such as order, family and so on, except Dinosaurs, whose classification is hypothetical. However, evolutionists have done extreme publicity about fossils to convince non-evolutionists. Moreover, the scientists of the most countries except a few have no feasibility to work with fossils, due to lack of technologies and other facilities. Even they have no chance to see the fossils too. That is why the evolutionists as well as the paleontologists cunningly have shown the fossils as direct and sound evidences for organic evolution. As a result, Ho (1988) pointed out that the symbol of natural selection is derived from the dominant socioeconomic ideology of the Victorian era, now rejected by nearly all humanity. Indeed, much of reason for the instant success of Darwin‟s theory is that it was cut off from the very fabric of Victorian era or the English society. There is no cause still to cling this metaphor. As it can serve no other purposes than to support those injustices, which gave it birth. So, a research articles are needed whether other evidences of evolution and Darwinian Theory of natural selection (in Origin of Species) as well as sexual selection (in The Descent of Man) theories are true or false.

It struck us as a bit odd that someone like Charles Michener — an award-winning entomologist who wrote the introduction to a 1993 edition of Darwin’s The Origin of Species — would co-author a paper like this, so we asked him what had happened. Turns out it struck him as a bit odd, too. He explained:

The paper was submitted with my name as coauthor, even though I had no knowledge of the paper and had never contributed in any way to its writing or ideas.  I was completely surprised to find my name as coauthor of a paper about which I knew nothing.  My desire is to remove my name as coauthor of a paper to which I had made no contribution.  I also requested that my name not be cited as  a contributor within the paper.  It is probably editor of the journal who wrote of rejection of the paper, not merely the removal of my name as coauthor.

We’ve contacted author Ahad and the journal for more details, and will update with anything we learn.

Update, 7:45 a.m. Eastern, 3/25/14: The journal’s publisher sent us this unhelpful response:

Journal of Biology and Life Science will publish the paper online first before the publication date. For example, for the February 2014 issue, the papers accepted during August 2013-January 2014 will be assigned to be published in that issue. However, we will upload the papers online once it was accepted rather than waiting for the date of February 2014. Then the readers can review the paper and give us feedbacks, and we could finally evaluate the value of the paper. The one you related was pointed out there is some problem with the co-author’s agreement before the final publication date (February 28, 2014). Therefore, we have published a notice and withdrew the paper from the website.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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23 Responses

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  1. It seems like what is needed here is first a correction to state that Michener was not an author. After that the article can be retracted.

    John Spevacek

    March 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

    • Careful examination of the pages of all articles listed in the February 2014 issue reveals that no gaps exist in page numbers. Was this actually published at all? If so, then what are the page numbers?

      http://www.macrothink.org/journal/index.php/jbls/issue/view/216

      Could the hijacking of professional names be a new trend? In plant science, I have already witnessed the hijacking of several professionals for inclusion on editor boards without their knowledge, or consent, but not authorship. Actually, much to the chagrine of many who are anti this journal or publisher, for 100 US$, it might not be a bad investment to get a low-level “peer” review, and have an open access paper that can promote an idea quickly, and efficiently. Certainly beats waiting for regular peer review to be complete in 10-20 months in some cases in some IF journals.

      JATdS

      March 25, 2014 at 7:29 am

      • The paper was published online as “in press”, not paginated, when the fictitious co-author Michener noticed he was being conned and halted the whole endeavor. Here is the professor who says the world is only 6.000 years old:

        Rolf Degen

        March 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

  2. It would not amaze me if the first author also claimed he never knew about this paper. Man, this was absolutely crazy!..

    CR

    March 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

    • And it would not be the first time that this has happened; it also happened with another famous paper that was later disappeared:

      http://retractionwatch.com/2013/12/04/retraction-prompts-letter-of-explanation-by-co-author-and-a-legal-threat-against-retraction-watch/#comment-70415

      Rolf Degen

      March 24, 2014 at 11:44 am

      • I once followed closely a case where two authors republished two papers from 15 years before in a local Brazilian periodical. Obviously this greatly exposed the editors, as no reviewers or editors perceived such an obvious fraud. The first author tried to say he had not submitted the papers and knew nothing of them, and when confronted with the emails he had exchanged with editors claimed “oh gosh and these rascals even got to the point of hacking into my email account and also online CV!!”.

        What amazes me is that there are some people who (claim to) believe in these guys and defend them.

        CR

        March 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        • Are you suggesting Michener *actually* participated in this disaster of a paper and is now denying it? Or are you talking about the person who bogusly stuck on Michener’s name being defended? Clearly Michener had nothing to do with a paper that takes a position *opposite* to his on evolution. Nor would he affix his name to something written in illiterate English. HE could have corrected the grammar.

          Unless Rolf Degen (post below) isn’t joking & this is a machine translation. In which case why would Michener co-author a paper in Punjabi or Urdu?

          My great sympathies to Dr. Michener. Nobody needs this kind of crap. And the Macrothink Institute is clearly some bogus wonky thing. No having stuff like that around would be good too. You folks get that this is a creationist, evolution denying thing, right? And an old, old canard.

          Poniesinjudah

          March 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

          • No, I suspect that the 1st author may do such. Apparently there are other papers from him in another weird journal in the same line, however without involving others’ names on them:

            – Ahad, M. A. (2011). Molecular evolution of new species without modern synthetic theory
            (neo- Darwinism). Int. J. Bio. Stress Manag. 2(2), 131-136
            – Ahad, M. A. (2011a). Evolution of first life without Oparin (primordial soup) theory of
            evolution: A critical review. Int. J. Bio. Stress Manag. 2(1), 4-9
            – Ahad, M. A. (2011b). Evolution without Lamarck‟s Theory & its use in the Darwinian Theories
            of evolution. Int. J. Bio. Stress Manag. 2(3), 353-358

            Regarding your question below about list of predatory publishers, there is a very well known one, below:

            http://scholarlyoa.com/2014/01/02/list-of-predatory-publishers-2014/

            CR

            March 25, 2014 at 4:03 am

  3. It’s an interesting article. What language is it written in?

    Statistical Observer

    March 24, 2014 at 11:39 am

  4. This is serious and raises a legitimate hypothetical question:
    Let’s say I fabricate an article , submit it to a journal using another scientist’s name and affiliation , the article gets retracted and that scientist’s reputation is tarnished.

    1. Who is accountable?
    2. How would that scientist find out within a reasonable time?
    3. How can that scientist claim damages?

    aceil

    March 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    • 1. Most likely the submitter (may be hard to track) and definitely the publisher.
      2. Google scholar seems to be a decently useful tool… it’s picked up on pubs for me before they are even in final form. While it’s unfortunate that people have to actively protect their identity and GS isn’t explicitly designed for this, it’s a useful tool to be aware of and to keep on top of. Also, something like pubcrawler with your name to catch stuff that comes up on pubmed.
      3.I would think that a scientist would have to sue in civil court. I can’t imagine that this would be a cheap or easy process. And enforcement could be extremely difficult if the publisher doesn’t want to take the paper down/is in another country.

      The real answer is that the academic community has to start treating any journal that would publish without directly confirming all authors as a predatory journal and publications in predatory journals essentially as an ANTI-nature paper. Thus, a job applicant would need many high, high quality publications just to negate a single publication in a predatory journal…and then he or she would need quality publications on top of that. By making these publications count as strong negatives, folks would be deterred from using them.

      QAQ

      March 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  5. Macrothink is one of the spammy “open access” publishers where articles get little or no review. Hardly surprising it was published there.

    midnightrambler956

    March 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    • Is there some kind of list of those that is credible and reliable? That’s something grad students would need. Does ORI do that? That’d be good.

      Poniesinjudah

      March 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      • The librarian Jeffrey Beall maintains an – unfortunately steadily growing – list of possoble predatory publishers that can be found under http://scholarlyoa.com/.

        René Groben

        March 25, 2014 at 4:33 am

  6. Jeffrey Beall has a post on Macrothink Institute from a few years ago http://scholarlyoa.com/2012/04/17/two-institutes-that-want-your-money/

    Michael Brown

    March 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

  7. The paper is still available (in HTML form, not the original PDF) in Generalissimo Google™’s cache

    Fran

    March 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

  8. IMO it is more than coincidence that the website of the Macrothink Institute publishing Journal of Biology and Life Sciences is registered by the Bestfame Group which in turn is run by Wenwu Zhao who has some history with at least questionable journals and plagiarized articles although under the name Canadian Centre for Science and Education

    sparc

    March 25, 2014 at 12:28 am

  9. Mr. Zhao owns at least another publisher, SCIEDU, under the same address (2235 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario)

    sparc

    March 25, 2014 at 12:37 am

    • Excellent observations, sparc. I suggest you send these observations to Beall. It is ever so important to dig deeper and deeper and not just hover around the top page or current issue page. One of the greatest evils of the publishing world is the glossiness of the web-pages which scientists swallow up gullibly. Download-for-a-few-bucks web-templates, free to use templates and individuals who call themselves managers, “publishers” or editors without any academic background, and in the latter case, even a PhD, is what is corrupting the OA movement to some extent. We need to expose the management of these unscholarly OA publishers. I just got spammed again on March 18 (2014) by Ms./Mrs. Brown:

      “Dear Readers,

      Journal of Agricultural Science has just published its latest issue at http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jas. We invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our web site to review articles and items of interest.

      Right now, with the Next issue scheduled to publish in May 2013, we are inviting papers for this issue. If you have new, unpublished manuscripts that might fit within our subject areas, please consider submitting to the
      journal.

      Thanks for the continuing interest in our work.

      Best regards,

      Anne Brown
      Canadian Center of Science and Education
      Phone 1-416-642-2606 ext.205
      Fax 1-416-642-2608″

      What classically happens is these “managers”, who probably drive around in BMWs while the scientists who support their journals take the bus, surround themselves with scientists who seems to be really happy to serve on the boards, thinking that they are serving a higher moral and academic purpose. Little do they know that they are supporting unscholarly behaviour, and the silver lining of the pockets of management.

      We need a new term for this: Nigerian 417 scams are simply outdated now. What many blind defenders of such journals and publishers unfortunately get mixed is that the quality of several papers submitted by legitimate academics who were not aware that they were submitting to, or supporting, an illegitimate operation, is actually good. However, having some good papers amidst a bulk of bad papers gives the publishers/journals limited legitmacy, thus thinning the argument about their non-scholarly behaviour, practices, or literature. Although alot of RW commenters are quite focused on the top-tier misconduct and retractions, I would personally be more concerned about this lower tier, which poses an existential threat to the top tier right now. Despite its contradictions and errors, very unfortunately, the top tier is the best choice we have right now in scholarly publishing. Not much to be proud of, but always better than the spammers.

      JATdS

      March 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      • I receive these mails monthly. For I have registered as a reader with their websit. I think you can try to unsubscribe.

        7by

        April 30, 2014 at 9:58 am


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