WPA must ensure it’s on the right side of history

first_imgDear Editor,We are now past the midway point of the APNU+AFC government in office. It is that time when the Government is taking stock of its performance in office and actively preparing for the next elections. It is in this light that the firing of Dr David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis as columnists must be examined.There is a general consensus that both Hinds and Lewis were critics of the Government, despite the fact that they were also supporters of the Government — not unusual roles for these two persons with a long history in the political struggle of Guyana. They both were outspoken critics of the PPP/C government, and worked for the removal of the PPP/C regime.There is a fundamental difference between critique and criticism. It is one thing to tell someone that their shoes need polishing in order to raise them up to a higher level. It is another thing to say that their shoes need polishing in order to ridicule them.Hinds and Lewis should have been appreciated for the role they played in alerting the regime to the shortcomings of the Government policies, providing an invaluable service, one that the supporters of the regime did not perform, perhaps blinded by a narcissistic impulse of party loyalty gaining paramountcy over critical thinking.It was rather ingenious for the AFC, several months ago, to claim that David Hinds was the beneficiary of the freedom that the present regime had fought for. The AFC obviously has no understanding of the historical struggle for Guyana’s freedom. Dr. Hinds spent several years in Burnham’s prison in his effort to rid Guyana of a dictatorship. So did Tacuma Ogunseye. These men do not roll over and play dead in the struggle for democracy. They did not do it in the darkest of days, and it is unlikely that they will do so now.What is not a self-evident truth is who were responsible for the firing of these two columnists from the state-owned Guyana Chronicle. There has been many readings of the tea leaves on this matter, and any gestalt psychologist will interpret the speculations with extreme caution.Were the WPA totally compliant with the Government in terms of lauding all of its efforts in governing, it would have been welcomed as a dutiful member of the Government. Unfortunately, the WPA is burdened with its history of fighting against the PNC dictatorship, and is held to a higher standard than the other political parties. This is expected as a birthright, given the assassination of its leader, Dr. Walter Rodney, and other activists that lost their lives in the struggle against the PNC dictatorship.If the assault on Dr David Hinds is symptomatic of the contempt for the WPA by the PNC/R and the AFC, it is a foregone conclusion that the current Government seems convinced that the criticism by the WPA and its members is a serious liability in the forthcoming elections.Tacuma Ogunseye’s historical analysis is rather enlightening, and he made the point that the WPA was accepted into APNU not as a ‘silent’ partner, but one with an uncompromising record of struggle against censorships of all kind.The WPA, having fought to remove the PPP/C and to bring the APNU+AFC regime into power, was expected to give the Government some time to get its act together. Ogunseye noted that in the aftermath of the 2015 elections, the APNU grouping never met to have any discussions regarding governance. During this period, many decisions were taken without consultation with the WPA, despite having troubling consequences for the WPA.The WPA’s exclusion from the decision-making process reached a crisis level last year, leading to an emergency meeting being held. There was much hype after the meeting, but time has revealed that it was just that, hype.The WPA is left with no choice but to sound the warning bell, or be smothered by its silence if it does not rebel or revolt against its treatment by the current Government. Three years is enough time to test the goodwill of the Government towards the WPA.It could not be expected to attack the Government from day one if it felt maltreated, despite the debacle concerning the shutting down of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. It had to give the Government enough time to have a track record that could be critically examined. It has done so for the past three years, and has paid a terrible price in the process. But it cannot remain silent if it is to remain alive as a viable political entity.We are at a point in the life of the present Government where there is a public outcry for the WPA to remain true to its Rodneyite agenda, for it not to betray the legacy of its assassinated leader. This is a remarkable moment in Guyana’s historical development. Is it possible that this is the historical moment that the WPA has struggled for?Sincerely,Rohit Kanhai,WPA OverseasMember (WPAOA)last_img read more

City Hall understaffed, no efforts made to remedy situation

first_imgBy Ramona LuthiDespite the many vacancies for various clerks and officers at the City Hall, no efforts are being made to fill the available positions, as was disclosed at the statutory meeting held on Monday.It was pointed out by Councillors that there were vacancies for some 140 Constabulary Officers, a Deputy Medical Officer of Health, a Pharmacist, a Practical Nurse, and clerks.“…only a third of the budgeted strength [of] this Administration department is actually at work. There is no Deputy Medical Officer of Health, no Pharmacist, there’s no clerk II or practical nurse,” one Councillor related.After being questioned by the Councillors about the status of the advertisements for the various vacancies, the Deputy Town Clerk (ag) Sharron Harry relayed that the positions were not publicised. This response resulted in members of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) expressing their annoyance at the lack of professionalism by the administration.However, no resolution was brought to the table on this matter.In January of this year, the Chief Constable of the Mayor and City Council, Andrew Foo, described the Constabulary as “very weak”.At the time, Foo told Guyana Times that the performance and challenges within the department would be explored.According to him, the Constabulary which comprised 178 sworn officers and 65 auxiliary security guards, at the time, did not met the expectations of the department owing to “trials and limitations”, including the lack of human and other resources.Foo had explained that the department needed trained persons to work with during its recruitment process, since there was competition with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), both offering professional standards of training to their recruits.He had stated that the City Constabulary was lacking in this area for quite a number of years, noting there was also an urgent need for uniformity of constables within the department.However, this decision will be left to the administrative body of the Council.last_img read more

Banks need to monitor staff, CCTV footage – Crime Chief

first_imgPreying on bank customers…sting operation to tackle increased robberies – RamjattanA decision has been made to set up a sting operation to deal with the recent spate of robberies committed on persons who have been targeted after conducting financial transactions at commercial banks.This announcement was made by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who suggested that a sting operation could help to curb the issue before it becomes uncontrollable, and would help to address the situation from a collectiveCrime Chief Paul Williamsstandpoint.The minister did not reject popular opinion suggesting suspicion of involvement of bank employees and relatives of persons who have been robbed in the past.He described the situation as worrying, and said he wants the problem to be addressed soon.He revealed that certain banks have started conducting their own internal investigations into the phenomenon to determine the truth, and explained that most commercial banks have reported that their tellers would not be able to retain their phones while on duty. Other internal mechanisms are being looked into, he also said.Staff, CCTV monitoringThe roll Crime Chief Paul Williams has to play requires that he address the numerous incidents of persons being robbed shortly after conducting transactions at various commercial banks.“I’m appealing to the banks for them to carry out some amount of analysis within their daily operations. There are so many things the banks can do from an analysis that (would) really help us to see if there is any inside dealing or inside information,” Williams told the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Monday.The Crime Chief has said that while Policemen in plain clothes have been stationed outside of some commercial banks and traffic ranks are ensuring that unauthorized drivers are not taking up space at these banks, a collective approach involving other stakeholders is still required in order to get to the core of the issue.“The bank needs to carry out a review of the CCTV within the bank itself. See how many persons frequent the bank; whether they are doing transactions, or sitting idly. Follow this daily; see how many persons are being robbed. Check to see if they would’ve dealt with a specific teller, you know. There is so much analysis that can be done in order for us to deal with this situation,” he told DPI.Just last week, the Guyana Association of Bankers (GAB) expressed similar concerns over these escalating incidents of persons being targeted after conducting transactions with commercial banks.The GBA, in a statement to the media, said, “We strongly condemn these incidents, and wish to assure our customers and the public at large that, as an industry, we are working with the relevant authorities and internally with all member banks with a view to arresting this trend.”The GBA told the media that the safety of customers and staff remains paramount among its priorities. It has also pledged to continue co-operation with law enforcement entities to address any factors that compromise this position.“In the interest of safety, we take this opportunity to encourage customers and members of the public to, as far as possible, refrain from conducting large cash transactions, and instead utilize other secure methods of payment, such as Manager’s Cheques or direct payments.”The GBA said local security escort services should also be considered for persons operating businesses which may require transportation of significant sums of cash.After a bank transaction two weeks ago, a 30-year-old businessman and his 35-year-old salesman were ambushed by three men –two of whom were armed — and relieved of over $2 million in cash and other valuables while they were in the vicinity of Drysdale Street, Charlestown, Georgetown.Besides this incident, there have been multiple other cases in which customers of various banking institutions were traced to their homes or business places and robbed by bandits at gunpoint.Just last year, a bandit was killed and another was captured unhurt during an exchange of gunfire at an attempted robbery at Republic Bank (Guyana), Water Street, Georgetown.The bandit was shot in his chest, and succumbed to his injuries. One of the suspects was shot in both legs. He was a bank employee who is said to have been the mastermind behind the bank robbery.last_img read more

Mabura man nabbed with illegal gun, ammo

first_imgRanks of the Guyana Police Force stationed in E Division (Linden-Kwakwani) have arrested a gold miner after he was found in possession of an unlicensed gun and ammunition.The discovery was made sometime around 09:45h on Saturday morning at Seaballi Backdam.According to reports, Police ranks unearthed an unlicensed .380 Semi-Automatic Pistol and 22 live matching ammunition in the miner’s possession.The 33-year-old suspect of Mabura Landing, Upper Demerara River, was taken into custody and is being processed for court. He is expected to be arraigned at the Linden Magistrate’s Court on Monday.last_img

Police drill for school shooting

first_img“It’s always important for us that the police are prepared,” said Susan Hume, assistant superintendent for business. “We’re happy to work with them.” She said the police had worked the details out with Glendora High personnel, who are off for spring break. Police cadets volunteered to fill the roles of victims, while retired Glendora officer Kevin Ruth and Cadet Scott Salvage played shooters. Officers used pink and blue paintball pellets to ensure they hit their targets. Caldwell said patrol officers are now trained to move in toward a shooter and take ground. “Most people run away from gunfire,” Caldwell said. “We’ve got to run into it.” bethania.palma@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2393 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GLENDORA – Police officers in SWAT team gear spread out across the Glendora High School campus Monday as part of a drill to prepare them for the real thing. As part of the scenario, young people in red-splattered T-shirts lay on the ground calling for help as a sniper ran across the campus. “The goal is to practice for the worst and hope for the best,” said Glendora police Sgt. Jamie Caldwell. “We learned a lot after Columbine.” In April 1999, two Colorado teenagers went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School. They killed 12 and injured twice as many, then committed suicide. The Foothills Special Enforcement Team, or F-SET, took advantage of Glendora High’s spring break and used the empty campus to drill for such an “active shooter” scenario. The team is made up of officers from the Glendora, Arcadia, Monrovia and La Verne police departments. “The whole idea is to make it as realistic as possible,” Caldwell said. Today, Wednesday and Friday, Glendora’s regular patrol officers, who Caldwell said would arrive first in such a situation, will have a turn at the simulation. “We’ve been practicing this for years, but we had the opportunity to utilize the campus this year,” he said, adding the Police Department cooperated with school administrators and gained permission to use the campus. last_img read more

CPI report shows inflation in check

first_imgOn Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.58 points to close at 12,773.04, with investors bolstered by the inflation news and good earnings reports. In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes and apartments edged up 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.518 million units in March, reflecting a huge rebound in the Midwest. Activity was heavily influenced by the fact that it was the second-warmest March on record. Construction surged 44.5 percent in the Midwest while other regions of the country suffered declines, including a 7.7 percent drop in the West, a 6.1 percent decline in the Northeast and a 2.7 percent decrease in the South. David Seiders, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said he believed construction starts would fall further in the spring as builders continued to work through various troubles dampening sales, including tighter mortgage-lending standards in response to rising delinquencies. For the year, he predicted, construction activity will be down 20 percent after falling 12.9 percent in 2006. The housing sector has slumped significantly after posting five years of record sales. In a third report, industrial production fell by 0.2 percent in March, but that decline was also weather-related as utility output fell, reflecting the warmer-than-normal weather. Manufacturing output was up a solid 0.7 percent, a gain seen as an encouraging sign that troubles in autos and other industries were beginning to abate. The CPI report showed that prices for the first three months of this year are rising at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, far above the 2.5 percent price increase for all of 2006, with the acceleration coming from big gains in energy costs. Economists said the slowdown in core inflation should be welcomed at the Federal Reserve, which has signaled it is still more worried about inflation than threats of a possible recession, dashing hopes in financial markets for quick rate cuts this year. The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates unchanged since last June when it pushed a key rate up for the 17th consecutive time in an effort to ensure that inflation did not get out of control. Many analysts believe the Fed will keep rates unchanged for most of this year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Energy prices surged in March at the fastest pace since Hurricane Katrina, but other consumer costs eased, providing relief from worries that inflation was getting out of hand. The Consumer Price Index was up 0.6 percent last month, the biggest jump in 11 months, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Prices had risen 0.4 percent in February. The March increase was driven by a 5.9 percent spike in energy costs, the largest gain in this area since September 2005, when Katrina shut down Gulf Coast refineries. Gasoline prices shot up 10.6 percent with another big increase expected in April given that pump prices have continued to rise. The nationwide average for regular hit $2.88, the Energy Department reported this week, up 71 cents over the past 11 weeks. But outside of gasoline and other energy products, inflation was well contained in March, the CPI report showed. Food costs slowed after two months of big gains triggered by crop damage in winter growing areas, while clothing costs plunged by 1 percent, the biggest drop in six years. The cost of prescription drugs was also down, helping to restrain medical costs, while the cost of hotel rooms fell sharply, helping to dampen housing costs. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food, posted a tiny 0.1 percent rise last month, the smallest increase in three months. That was better than the 0.2 percent rise that Wall Street had been expecting and eased fears that this year’s jump in energy prices could become embedded in higher prices for other products. last_img read more

Just a few more (million) bucks needed to finish kids’ facility, say CEO, others

first_imgLAKE VIEW TERRACE Its 200-foot ramp stands ready to beckon giddy children through a wonderland of fun. Its leaders stand determined to keep the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles from becoming a derelict hulk at Hansen Dam. And the clock is ticking. The museum has less than a month to produce $1.25 million in cash and pledges to get a matching city loan to pay its builder. After struggling for years to raise money, officials say they are revamping their strategy to try to win community support. “It’s a call to action. We’re almost there,” said Cecilia Aguilera Glassman, the museum’s new chief executive officer. “We are extremely confident that we’ll reach our initial goal.” A sign outside the nearly completed museum at Foothill Boulevard and Osborne Street says “Opening Soon.” What it doesn’t say is that museum officials have scrambled this month to find $3.5 million to pay their contractor. That they’ve struggled for years to keep pace with skyrocketing construction costs. That the project, now priced at $58 million, is more than four years behind schedule. That a city audit into the poor fundraising is in the works. And that backers still must raise another $21 million from private donors to open the doors of the San Fernando Valley’s first museum. “We’re out hustling,” said Bruce Corwin, co-chairman of the museum board. “Results have been really positive. We’ve had some success. It looks good. The sad thing: We still haven’t had one major gift from the Valley.” For the short term, museum officials say they need to raise $450,000 more by June 11 to qualify for the city bailout loan. The $2.5 million in combined museum and city funds will then trigger a $1 million allocation from the county that will allow staff to move into the building by August. Completion of the pie-shaped building, museum supporters say, will enable fundraising to commence in earnest. “What this signifies is that this museum is happening,” said recently elected state Sen. Alex Padilla, the former city councilman who campaigned to move the museum into the northeast Valley. “We’ve chased a lot of windmills over the years, but this puts the museum on the map.” Standing inside the 200-foot-wide mouth of the museum, its newest CEO gazes from what will be a 36-foot-tall bank of windows onto a pine-studded park. When it’s finished, she can see children scampering up its ramp to power interactive exhibits based on the forces of Mother Nature. “It’s fabulous,” Glassman said. “We’re completely connected to nature, as far as the eye can see.” What it needs now, she said, is to be connected to its surrounding community. So Glassman, a liaison to the Valley for former Mayor Richard Riordan, who helped it rebuild after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, has developed a plan to draw interest from the Valley itself. “I’m the first to acknowledge that the museum didn’t put its best foot forward with the Northeast Valley community,” she said. “There was no outreach.” She plans to set up meetings and speaking engagements with Valley homeowner groups, chambers of commerce and neighborhood councils. She also wants to bring more Valley leaders onto the museum board, host local fundraisers like home salons and golf tournaments, and establish donor-naming incentives. “The reality is, we must increase our base of prospective private donors,” Glassman said. “The small donations are every bit as important as the big ones.” Another key is greater public involvement. Community activist Steven Martinez said he once left a message with the museum because he wanted to volunteer. His phone call was never returned. “For us to have ownership, they need to reach out to us and let us be part of it, get some community leaders to be part of it … to let us get involved,” said Martinez, 40, of Van Nuys. About 70 percent of the $36 million raised so far for the museum has come from public coffers, including nearly $10 million from the city’s Proposition K park bond funds. But as the cost of concrete and steel has soared, Padilla and museum board members say every dollar raised has gotten sucked into paying for construction. So museum backers want to see the funding balance tilted toward the private sector. Supporters who had abandoned the downtown-based museum when it closed in 2000 and moved to the Valley need to be wooed back. Get one billionaire aboard, they say, and many more will follow. “We’re going to keep going back to any source of funds – to the heavy hitters, to the corporations, to the foundations – because the children of Los Angeles deserve a world-class children’s museum,” said Tim McCallion, who is on the museum’s board and executive committee. McCallion, president of the Western Region for Verizon Communications Inc., shepherded $1 million to the museum from the Verizon Foundation. He and his wife, Anne, also believed so strongly in the cause that they pledged $100,000 of their own money. And as prospective heavy hitters remain in the dugout, board members have once again resorted to pitching in funds themselves. This week, Corwin, McCallion and Doug Ring each donated another $100,000 to the museum. Another anonymous donor gave $500,000. Corwin, who helped found the downtown museum 30 years ago, said not only does the board need shaking up for serious dollars, Latinos need to be recruited for the effort. Padilla is the only Latino on the board. He also said L.A. schoolchildren could each be asked to ante up a quarter. “We’ve hit all the players in town, including the governor and the mayor, Spider-Man … and Shrek to get us over this thing and save the museum,” he said. “If we could get a quarter from each child, it would be wonderful for everyone to feel that they had a piece of the rock – and a piece of the museum.” dana.bartholomew @dailynews.com (818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Gardai object to brothers’ gun license applications over claim of family feud

first_imgGardai objected to the issuing of shotgun licenses to two brothers amidst fears they would be used in an alleged family feud.Co Donegal brothers Michael and Kevin McGeever appeared at Letterkenny District Court after Garda Superintendent David Kelly objected to the granting of gun licenses to them. The brothers, both in their 40s, operate a school-bus service but are also part-time farmers.The brothers applied to have separate gun licenses in a bid to control vermin and wild dogs on their 40 acres of lands.However, Superintendent Kelly outlined what he described as a “background” and “family dispute” which he said caused him concern.He said that since 2006 there have been a total of 18 incidents involving “all applicants” within this family dispute.These included attacks on buses as well as criminal damage to fences.The court heard that a shotgun has already been seized on the other side of the McGeever family and the gun license for that firearm revoked.Supt Kelly said he would not like to leave a situation where one side of the family had an upper hand if they were left with access to a firearm.He said “I feel there is a propensity on both parties to engage and I do not feel it would be doing the applicants any favours to have a firearm and I oppose this application.”However, the McGeever brothers of Gortamore, Downings, denied that they planned to use the firearms for anything but controlling vermin and stray dogs.Solicitor for both men, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said there was no evidence that the men were engaged in a feud.He added that both brothers were engaged in the bus industry and had been Garda vetted for looking after schoolchildren and their safe welfare.He added “I suggest that driving kids would take a higher standard of care than shooting a fox during lambing season.”The court was told that both men had filled in the relevant application forms for gun licenses.However, Judge Paul Kelly said he noted that Kevin McGeever had answered ‘No’ on the form when asked if he had any previous court convictions when he actually has five.On that basis, he refused the gun license to Mr Kevin McGeever, the younger of the two brothers.However, he said Mr Michael McGeever had acted within the law and had “acted properly and responsibly” in reporting all incidents carried out on his land and against his property.Michael McGeever had said in evidence that he did not know for sure who was carrying out the damage to his property.Judge Kelly granted Michael McGeever’s application for a gun license.Gardai object to brothers’ gun license applications over claim of family feud was last modified: September 23rd, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtdonegalJudge Paul KellyMcGeevershotgunSupt David Kellylast_img read more

‘Strength in Numbers’ was a taunt, not a mantra, for Warriors in Game 3

first_imgOAKLAND — Klay Thompson had never missed a playoff game in his professional career before a hamstring injury kept him out of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.And boy did the Warriors miss him.Without Thompson’s shooting and elite-level defense, the Warriors had to smash and grind for all 48 minutes of a pivotal game. And while Stephen Curry turned in a magical, inspiring, 47-point performance to give Golden … [vemba-video id=”van/sc/2019/06/06/bang_adb73508-5800-4911-b198-04d9fa09f330″]last_img

Do Fossil Counts Match Sediment Counts?

first_imgIf evolution is true, the number of species coming and going should track the number of rock layers in which they are fossilized, at least roughly.  The more sediments per unit time, the more new genera should arise within them.  Shanan E. Peters (U of Michigan) decided to test this “novel” approach with marine fossils (the most abundant in the fossil record) over most of the geologic column, from Cambrian to Pliocene, and did indeed find a correlation.  He wrote his conclusions in PNAS.1    Peters compared two databases: one that counted genera of marine organisms in the worldwide geologic column, and one that counted rock sections in the geologic column in the USA.  (A section is a record of continuous sedimentation bounded by gaps, or unconformities.)  First, he graphed genus richness against rock quantity; these measurements correlated well until the Cretaceous, when they diverged sharply.  The divergence, he explained, could have been a statistical artifact of sampling called the “pull of the recent”; i.e., the tendency for recent epochs to be better represented than ancient ones.  That’s OK, he explained; one would expect the correlations to be seen better at macro rather than micro scales.  Second, he graphed first and last appearances of genera against the bottoms and tops of rock sections.  These correlated fairly well for extinctions (r=0.75), but not as well for originations of genera (r=0.54 or less).  “This finding means,” he tells us, “that the average longevity of a genus in the fossil record is comparable with the average duration of a sedimentary section.  In fact, the entire frequency distribution of genus longevities is remarkably similar to that of section durations.”  Third, he compared genus turnover with section turnover and also found similar positive correlation, though with some data points as prominent outliers.  In his concluding discussion, he tried to explain what these correlations mean.These results demonstrate that the temporal distribution of genus first and last occurrences in the marine animal fossil record is intimately related to the temporal continuity and quantity of sedimentary rock.  Determining why this result is the case is more challenging than demonstrating that it is so. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Since the two databases (genus counts and section counts) were presumed “as independent as two data sets that share the same timescale could possibly be,” he felt the correlations, rough as they were, indicated something significant.  Either the results were artifacts of preservation bias (the luck of the fossilization process), or had a common-cause relationship.  The former, he argued, seems unlikely: “Thus, if stratigraphic correlation and the shared timescale are the only reasons for statistical similarity, then virtually all temporal patterns derived from the geologic record must be little more than methodological artifacts of binning and correlation.  This possibility seems extremely unlikely (although quantifying the magnitudes of the statistical contributions of these factors is very important).”  That being agreed, which explanation – selection bias or common cause – best explains the data?Assuming that macroevolutionary patterns derived from genus first and last occurrences have the potential to be meaningful in a biological sense, the task then becomes to explain why patterns in the genus fossil record are closely duplicated by analogous patterns in the sedimentary rock record.  As discussed above, there are two possibilities, (i) preservation bias and (ii) shared forcing mechanisms (common cause).He showed that the latter possibility makes better predictions, but does admit one caveat: “because only unconformity and rock quantity biases are being measured here, it is possible that facies biases and/or asymmetries in environmental preservation within sedimentary sequences are causing the stronger section-genus extinction correlation”; i.e., the beginning and end of the story don’t always reveal what happened in the middle.  Nevertheless, he felt confident that taxonomists and geologists had not conspired to bias the conclusions: “it seems unlikely that the work of hundreds of taxonomists has been so nonrandom as to render the survivorship patterns of >32,000 genera from across the tree of life little more than a quantification of the structure of the sedimentary rock record.”    Why, however, would the genus extinction count correlate with the end of the rock section better than the origination count correlate with the beginning?  Aha, the common-cause hypothesis predicted it would.  The answer is in the way evolution works:Under the common-cause hypothesis, however, genera are expected to originate early in a sedimentary basin’s history as new habitats and environments expand and to go extinct abruptly when environmental changes eliminate the basin environments altogether.  Thus, similar average durations for sections and genera as well as corresponding peaks and troughs in rates of origination and extinction are expected.  Interestingly, the common-cause hypothesis also predicts that the genus-section extinction correlation should be stronger than the genus-section origination correlation because genus extinction can match the timing of rapid environmental shifts that result in section truncation, whereas genus origination may not be capable of responding instantly to the macroevolutionary opportunities afforded by basin expansion.  This possibility is sensitive to choice of timescale, but it is supported by analyses that find less empirical support for pulsed genus origination [i.e., punctuated equilibria] than for pulsed genus extinction at the same level of temporal resolution in the Phanerozoic.The remainder of Peters’ discussion delved into the meaning of these correlations for theories of environmental forcing of macroevolution and timing of mass extinctions.  He favored gradualism over saltation for origination of species, and discounted the need for major catastrophes to explain extinction rates.  He defended the challenging concept that “much of the macroevolutionary history of marine animals is driven by processes related to the formation and destruction of sedimentary basins.”  If some evolutionists believe that extinctions and explosions of biological diversity can be forced by a meteorite impact, for instance, why not consider the possibility that macroevolutionary change can also be forced by slower geological changes?  Thus, “it would seem prudent to revisit some of the classic unifying hypotheses that are grounded in the effects of continually operating processes and to reevaluate seriously the extent to which unusual or episodic events are required to explain the macroevolutionary history of marine animals.”    In conclusion, he admitted that more work will need to be done to rule out taxonomic biases.  These “remain a potential obfuscator of macroevolutionary patterns in all global taxonomic databases,” he says; though he has shown some correlation, he is not trying to push his point too far.  “Further quantifying the relationships between the large-scale temporal and spatial structure of the geologic record and the distribution of fossil occurrences within this structure will be important,” he ended, “in overcoming persistent sampling biases and in testing the extent to which common-cause mechanisms have dominated the macroevolutionary history of marine animals.”1Shanan E. Peters, “Geological constraints on the macroevolutionary history of marine animals, “ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, August 30, 2005, vol. 102, no. 35, 12326-12331, published online before print August 16, 2005, 10.1073/pnas.0502616102.This lengthy entry is exhibited here to show how evolutionists can fool themselves into thinking the observations support Charlie’s tall tale.  In the first place, he used evolutionary assumptions to calibrate evolutionary assumptions: the “common timescale” of both databases is the geologic column, a theoretical arrangement of global sediments built on the assumption of evolution and millions of years.  This is reminiscent of the joke about the church bell ringer who set his watch by the clock tower on the parliament building, only to find out that the clock tower maintenance man set his clock by the church bell.  Second, the correlations are only marginally significant.  His charts show severe outliers.  Sometimes the anomalous data points have an important story to tell.  Third, his use of gap-bound rock sections only concentrates on the beginning and ending of continuously-deposited sediments.  In the old Dr. Seuss book The Cat in the Hat, the first and last pages of the book, showing the children contentedly at ease in a clean living room, belies all the chaos and commotion that occurred in the middle.  Last, Peters trusted in the “if you build it, they will come” theory of evolution.  He didn’t explain how new genera of marine organisms would “emerge” when the sea level rose or fell; he just assumed that whenever organisms are given a safe haven, presto!  macroevolution happens.  In short, the evolutionary story rigged, controlled, operated and guaranteed the outcome of the entire analysis.  Evolution is a self-fulfilling prophecy.    For a side dish, consider what EurekAlert recently reported: most scientific papers are wrong.  Whether from financial interest, prejudice, unseen biases, conflict of interest, peer pressure or the desire to prove relationships that don’t exist (false positives), “There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims.”  Iain Murray, writing for Competitive Enterprise Institute, reflected on what this means – much authoritative-sounding science talk is inconclusive and, frankly, politically or selfishly motivated.  The paper by Peters, reviewed here, fits the description.  For all its graphs and jargon, it is trying to prove something that isn’t necessarily true, built on a bias for a certain brand of Darwinian evolution.    Even if there were a correlation between sediment counts and genus counts, could there be a non-evolutionary explanation?  Naturally.  In a flood scenario, for instance, more genera are likely to be buried in sediments corresponding to the volume of the material.  The first appearance of a genus would either represent the chance placement in the layers or a mechanical artifact of the burial process, such as liquefaction or hydrodynamic sorting.  Extinction would occur, but not origination by evolution.  No great time periods need transpire.  Since Peters’ radar screen was not tuned to this possibility, he missed it.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more