Sunday, June 14, 2015

Spencer Wells, Wolfgang Haak and Jean-Jacques Hublin Attempt To Bypass the Open Process of Science

Krefter today uses the Eurogenes blog thread to criticize my post on Bell Beaker:


For those of you who are still reading this blog, it is not my wish to call out professionals working in the field of ancient DNA.  However, I've spoken to a number of people about the practice of promoting one's work under pseudonyms online.  Everyone I've spoken with agrees that using pseudonyms to promote ones own papers, or professional self interest, is wrong.

Jean-Jacques Hublin blogs under many pseudonyms, including Krefter and Fanty.   He's been blogging under pseudonyms for years, but in the last few months, as I've put up material critiquing the Steppe Hypothesis as promoted by Haak et al,  he has taken to personally attacking me, including calling me a bitch and telling me to go and "do the dishes".   Today, he continues, using the Eurogenes blog to put words in my mouth, criticizing me, for things I have not said.  I copy the comment he has made above.

In addition to Jean-Jacques Hublin, other prominent researchers who use pseudonyns to promote their professional ideas are Spencer Wells, of the Genographic Project, and Wolfgang Haak.

Spencer Wells is on the executive board of the personal ancestry company FTDNA.  He blogs under the name Chad Rohlfsen on the Eurogenes blog and at the Anthrogenica Forum.  Spencer stands to personally profit from promoting the predictive power of ancient DNA studies to determine personal ancestry, even if the predictive power is not as good as he frequently suggests on these public forums. 

A few months ago, when someone posted a link to my blog on the Anthrogenica Forum, Spencer took it upon himself to announce regarding my blog that "that women is crazy" and "I wouldn't read her blog."  I didn't even know the Anthrogenica Forum existed until I followed the link from an incoming blog hit.  Discovering I was being called crazy, I inquired with the Anthrogenica blog monderators.  I specifically heard from DMXX, who didn't apologize or sanction Spencer's behavior, but instead blocked me from accessing the Anthrogenica Forum.  Many genetic ancestry academic researchers use this forum. I am sure that many of them are aware that Spencer Wells is using the forum to secretly advance his agenda.  I'm not sure if they are aware that members of the public get blocked from reading the forum when they ask why Spencer Wells is libeling them.

The Eurogenes blog is authored by a colleague of Spencer Wells, Wolfgang Haak.  Wolfgang's work is primarily funded by the Genographic Project.  Wolfgang is one of the chief proponents of the Mass Migration from the Steppe theory which has recently been published in the journals Science and Nature, and highly publicized online.  On his Eurogenes blog comment thread, I've pointed out several times that promotion of one's work under pseudonyms is unethical.  For that reason, Wolfgang has added a note in his blog comment thread, threatening people that if they respond to anything I post, he will turn on comment moderation. 

Wolfgang also comments at the Anthrogenica Forum under the pseudonym Generalissimo.

I know I am not the only victim of a smear campaign perpetrated by this group.  I know of at least two other members of the public that have been smeared.

It is sad that these "researchers" are conducting themselves in this way.  It is even more unacceptable that journals such as Science and Nature, who publish the work of Haak and Hublin, professional bodies such as the AAPA, and institutions such as the University of Adelaide, Harvard, and the Max Planck Institute, have no ethics policy regarding secret promotion of ones work online under pseudonyms and no policy preventing participating researchers from bullying members of the public under pseudonyms.

All of this can't be helping the public perception of ancient DNA research. 

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