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Author Topic:   When Peer Review Fails: Bad Science Papers of the Week
Percy
Member
Posts: 19855
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 3 of 27 (779425)
03-04-2016 7:35 AM


Here's a link to the paper: Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living

Here are all three sentences in the paper containing the word "creator":

quote:
The explicit functional link indicates that the biomechanical characteristic of tendinous connective architecture between muscles and articulations is the proper design by the Creator to perform a multitude of daily tasks in a comfortable way. [from abstract]
...
Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention. [from introduction]
...
In conclusion, our study can improve the understanding of the human hand and confirm that the mechanical architecture is the proper design by the Creator for dexterous performance of numerous functions following the evolutionary remodeling of the ancestral hand for millions of years. [from discussion]

I don't know anything about PLOS ONE, but they seem fairly embarrassed, so I assume they're a respectable peer-reviewed journal. The questions raised in discussion deserve answers. It's hard to see how something like this could happen. One has to suspect an inside job along the lines of Richard Sternberg's complicity as editor in placing Stephen C Meyer's paper in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. I bet we still don't know who Sternberg's reviewers were. Yep, looking up Sternberg Peer Review Controversy, we still don't know the identities of the reviewers, other than Sternberg himself.

--Percy


  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19855
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 7 of 27 (779459)
03-04-2016 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Blue Jay
03-04-2016 11:31 AM


Re: Translation error
Blue Jay writes:

Still, it seems like an awfully bizarre translation error to make if it was completely innocent. I guess it's possible that a naive graduate student thought "by the Creator" was just a flowery English phrase, but the addition of "proper design" and such makes it hard to write off as an honest mistake.

This is how it strikes me, too. If the original paper was in Chinese, and if all the reviewers were Chinese, and if the problem is all the fault of the translator, then in that case PLOS ONE can't be faulted, but it seems a stretch.

Maybe I shouldn't comment further since I know no Chinese, but looking again at those sentences containing the word "Creator" it is hard to believe it's a translation problem. It's hard to imagine a technical translator who can accurately render words like tendinous, biomechanical and kinematic from the Chinese, but somehow mistranslates the Chinese phrase "zao hua" into "Creator," making sure to capitalize it, plus the word fits smoothly into those sentences. It isn't forced or illogical at all, and what other concept could be meant if not "Creator."

--Percy


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 Message 5 by Blue Jay, posted 03-04-2016 11:31 AM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by mike the wiz, posted 03-04-2016 1:47 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 11 by Blue Jay, posted 03-04-2016 1:48 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19855
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


(1)
Message 12 of 27 (779465)
03-04-2016 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by JonF
03-04-2016 1:29 PM


Interesting, but it still doesn't feel right to me. One of the sentences was, "Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention," and according to them that will become, "Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of Nature's invention." Not making sense to me.

Why do I have the feeling that desperate conversations are taking place in China right now:

"Dude, how could you make those edits to what was supposed to be the final version? You've screwed us!"

"No I haven't. It's important for the world to understand the gifts of our Creator."

"I didn't know you were evangelical."

"You're not a true Christian, you're dead to me."

"<untranslatable>"

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by JonF, posted 03-04-2016 1:29 PM JonF has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by mike the wiz, posted 03-04-2016 2:01 PM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19855
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 14 of 27 (779467)
03-04-2016 2:15 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by mike the wiz
03-04-2016 2:01 PM


Let me add a little emphasis:

"Hand coordination should indicate the *mystery* of Nature's invention." Not making sense to me.

The author appeared to be claiming that by "Creator" he only meant the design or invention of nature resulting from evolution, but if that were true he wouldn't have used the word "mystery."

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by mike the wiz, posted 03-04-2016 2:01 PM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by mike the wiz, posted 03-04-2016 2:33 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 21 by glowby, posted 03-05-2016 4:21 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
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