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Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Environment and Health, Other E&H blogs | 0 comments

In the US: Federal Lab Forced To Close After ‘Disturbing’ Data Manipulation

“Tell me what you want and I will get it for you. What we do is like magic,”

“The research topics that faced data manipulation – including uranium in the environment, health effects of energy resources, and U.S. coal resources and reserves – was “disturbing,” Westerman said..”




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Nearly two decades and $108 million worth of “disturbing” data manipulation with “serious and far ranging” effects forced a federal lab to close, a congressman revealed Thursday.

The inorganic section of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colo. manipulated data on a variety of topics – including many related to the environment – from 1996 to 2014. The manipulation was caught in 2008, but continued another six years.

“It’s astounding that we spend $108 million on manipulated research and then the far-reaching effects that that would have,” Rep. Bruce Westerman said at a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. “We know how research multiples and affects different parts of our society and our economy and … if you’re working off of flawed data it definitely could be in a bad way.”

“The problems were so severe, in fact, that the USGS has already closed the inorganic lab in question permanently,” the Arkansas Republican said. The lab was terminated in January.

Westerman cited a recent Department of the Interior Inspector General (IG) report that said impacts from the data manipulation “are not yet known but, nevertheless, they will be serious and far ranging. The affected projects represented about $108 million in taxpayer funding from fiscal year 2008 through 2014.”

Westerman also highlighted an interview the IG withheld from its report.

“Tell me what you want and I will get it for you. What we do is like magic,” a former USGS official told auditors a former employee linked to the manipulation would say, according to Westerman.

Westerman added that the IG’s interview notes make the context of those quotes unclear.

“Given the lab’s history and that problems had already been identified when this interview was being conducted, such a statement seems potentially significant,” Westerman told Deputy IG Mary Kendall, a witness for the hearing.

“Your office explained that you do not know the context or veracity of this statement and that this issue was not part of the audit,” Westerman told Kendall.

Regardless, other scientists became aware and requested that lab work be taken elsewhere.

“USGS has advised committee staff that because scientists had already begun to distrust this lab so significantly that they began relying upon analysis from other labs,” Westerman said.

It’s unclear what effects the manipulated data will have, though Westerman – who touted his engineering background – noted the importance of research integrity.

“I’m not even sure what the scientific result were used in,” he said. “A lot of the work that people do that’s based on scientific research is so important and if the base research is flawed, then that affects the work that goes out from there.”

The research topics that faced data manipulation – including uranium in the environment, health effects of energy resources, and U.S. coal resources and reserves – was “disturbing,” Westerman said.

Some research papers that used the data had to be recalled, Kendall told the panel, but she was unsure of the extent other studies, such as college dissertations, were affected. She also noted that USG was taking steps to determine such effects.

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Tags: U.S. Geological Survey

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Creation Science, Other CS blogs | 0 comments

Thousands Flock to Grand Opening of Answers in Genesis’ Ark Encounter

Ark-compressedWILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. — Thousands flocked to the grand opening of Answers in Genesis’ Ark Encounter on Thursday, a project of biblical proportions that has been two years in the making.

As previously reported, the Ark Encounter is a theme park in Williamstown that features a full-scale replica of the ark that God instructed Noah to build to escape the coming flood, as outlined in the book of Genesis.

“As the largest timber-frame structure in the US, the 510-foot-long full-size Ark is designed to be family-oriented, historically authentic, and environmentally friendly,” the website for the theme park outlines.

Scripture states that at the time of the flood, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Noah, a “preacher of righteousness,” warned the world to turn from their sins lest they face judgment, but all refused.

Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham says that he desires for the attraction to provide visitors with the same message for today’s world.

“A major reason for rebuilding the ark today is to proclaim the message of salvation—that just as Noah and his family had to go through the doorway to be saved, we also need to go through a doorway,” he outlined in 2014 when construction first began. “The Lord Jesus is our door—the only way to be saved.”

Inside of the ark are life-size mannequins and sculpted creatures that tell the biblical story, as well as a 2,100 seat restaurant and gift shop. The site also includes an animal exhibit called the Ararat Ridge Zoo, complete with alpacas, donkeys, emus, goats, sheep, yaks and more.

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On Tuesday, an estimated 8,000 people gathered outside of the Ark Encounter for an invite-only ribbon cutting ceremony for donors, and on Thursday, several thousand more arrived for the grand opening.

“It actually takes you—and I was surprised to see this—from the beginning [of the world] to the very end for the crucifixion [of Christ],” visitor Faye Toler told the Courier Journal. “To me, it’s seeing God’s word fulfilled. … It’s awesome just to see the size of it. We have electricity, equipment—and they were doing all this by hand. To me, that is unimaginable.”

Representatives of groups such as American Atheists, Secular Coalition of America, Freedom from Religion Foundation, United Coalition of Reason and others protested outside of the Ark Encounter as they took issue with the site’s message about Creation.

“They’re telling people the earth is 6,000 years old, [and that] evolution is not true,” one protester told reporters. “This is a dangerous concept.”

But others gathered to protest the protesters and take a stand for biblical truth.

“They’re claiming things about Christians when evolution is the worldview that has the big problem,” Eric Hovind of Creation Today told WDRD-TV. “So we’re out here to lovingly share with them.”

Ham says that he is pleased with the turnout and the support.

“I believe this project will be one of the greatest evangelistic outreaches of our day,” he wrote on the Answers in Genesis website on Thursday. “Millions of people—many of them unbelievers or unchurched Christians—will come to Northern Kentucky to tour this family-friendly, Christian attraction where they will learn about Noah, his family, the animals, the Ark, the Flood, and most importantly, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are excited to see how God uses this project to make an impact for eternity.”

Ham also plans to build a replica of the Tower of Babel in the next few years to speak against prejudice and racism, as well as an ancient walled city like those mentioned in the Bible.

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