Ethan Siegel Makes Science Errors, Corrects One

(Update: July 20, 2011 – Today Mr. Siegel corrected his article where it had wrongly claimed my article had quoted Professor P.J.E. Peebles “out of context.”)

While Ethan Siegel generally does a good job illuminating science, he recently wrote a flawed critique of an article of mine “International Astronomical Union has no Definition for Big Bang.” This critique included a number of science errors.

On June 16, 2011 I wrote the following courteous note as a comment to his blog critique asking for him to correct only one of the errors —

“Thank you for your interest in my article explaining Big Bang’s lack of an adequate scientific definition and hypothesis (titled “International Astronomical Union has no Definition for Big Bang“)

Your response implies there is some flaw in my article. As I’ve explained in my response ( “Big Bang’s Inadequate Definition Disputed – and Vindicated” ) while your article does a nice job of explaining the “standard model” in general and employs a lot of spectacular graphics — it fails to identify any flaws in my article and contains a number of incorrect or misleading assertions.

One incorrect assertion needing a correction is the false claim that Professor Peebles’ quote in my article is out of context.

As you can read – the entire quote from Professor Peebles is provided, making it essentially impossible to be out of context. Not only is the quote exactly in context, and on point – I obtained permission to use it.

Let me respectfully request that error be corrected.”

Its been more than a month since I wrote that comment to Mr. Siegel’s blog.

Update: Mr. Siegel explained that because my note to him contained more than one link – it was probably tossed by his spam filter. (Unfortunately, there was no notice or warning of this so there was no way I could know my comment was sent to a spam capture. It would be nice to be notified of this at the time the comment was submitted.)

1. Mr. Siegel has so far neglected to publish the above blog comment.

(Update: Since Mr. Siegel corrected the one error I asked for – this is somewhat moot. I do note the article does not yet acknowledge or correct the other errors – particularly how his critique entirely misses the most important point — Ambiguity. That is how “currently Big Bang is too ambiguous to be a scientific hypothesis.” Instead the critique uses a Straw man logical fallacy to dispute a trivial issue – that there is no consensus on a Big Bang definition.)

2. Update: As of today July 20, 2011 Mr. Siegel has corrected the original article on this point.
While eager to critique, Mr. Siegel has failed to correct his patently false claim that Professor Peebles’ quote in my article is out of context.

In addition:

3. Mr. Siegel never notified me in any way that he had published a critique of my article – I only found it by accident. Good ethics suggest notifying those whose works one critiques. I certainly notified Mr. Siegel of the article I wrote about his errors.

I look forward to Mr. Siegel acknowledging and correcting his errors. (Update: I make errors myself, and I do appreciate his correcting the error. Not everyone is capable of this.)

Science prides itself on its self-correcting character.

A bonus would be his providing a filled out Physical Cosmology Hypothesis Application form for his novel version of Big Bang.

This entry was posted in Basic Science, Big Bang Models, News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply