I mention this because Jonathan Wells has resorted to a citation mine of
a publication of mine.
The citation is reference 5, and here's the context:
"So some cases of geographic distribution -- the study of which modern
biologists call “biogeography” -- may be due to migration, while others
may be due to the splitting of a formerly large, widespread population
into small, isolated populations by changes in climate or geology --
which modern biologists call “vicariance.”4
Darwin argued that all modern distributions of species could be
explained by these two possibilities. Yet there are many cases of
geographic distribution for which neither the
center-of-origin-followed-by-migration nor the
widespread-population-fragmented-by-barriers explanation seems to work.
One example is the worldwide distribution of flightless birds, or
“ratites.” These include ostriches in Africa, rheas in South America,
emus and cassowaries in Australia, and kiwis in New Zealand. Since the
birds are flightless, explanations based on migration over vast oceanic
distances are implausible. After continental drift was discovered in the
twentieth century, it was thought that the various populations might
have separated with the landmasses. But ostriches and kiwis are much too
recent; the continents had already drifted apart when these species
originated. So neither migration nor vicariance explain ratite
biogeography, which remains controversial.5"
But if Wells had actually read the reference he used, he would have
noticed that one of its lessons is that migration is a better
explanation for ratite biogeography than vicariance, and is made more
plausible because we posit a late and multiple evolution of flightlessness.
(Wells' reference is to Harshman, J., E. L. Braun, M. J. Braun, C. J.
Huddleston, R. C. K. Bowie, J. L. Chojnowski, S. J. Hackett, K.-L. Han,
R. T. Kimball, B. D. Marks, K. J. Miglia, W. S. Moore, S. Reddy, F. H.
Sheldon, D. W. Steadman, S. J. Steppan, C. C. Witt, and T. Yuri. 2008.
Phylogenomic evidence for multiple losses of flight in ratite birds.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:13462-12467.)
I won't go into any of the other major problems with Wells' use of
sources, here and elsewhere. One example should suffice, and it hurts my
brain to read too much of his article.
My understanding is that libel includes
misrepresentation or telling lies that
damage or defame the reputation of a person
Having one of your papers cited with your
name on it, in support of creationism would
certainly seem to damage your reputation
in the scientific community. (My respect
for you has certainly gone down)
You might want to ask a lawyer to send Mr. Wells
a letter explaining the proper interpretation of
your comments (so he cannot subsequently claim
he believed what he was saying was true) with
a request that he make the needed corrections.
> I won't go into any of the other major problems with Wells' use of
> sources, here and elsewhere. One example should suffice, and it hurts my
> brain to read too much of his article.
boy you'd almost think creationists are dishonest. no one could be so
stupid as to quote mine a paper, knowing it can be easily refuted...
but creationists believe in god so they'd NEVER lie, right?
Or just nail his balls to the wall and be done with it.
I agree with Friar Broccoli. Send Wells a letter from a lawyer, and if
corrections aren't made within a specified time, sue the lying
thieving bastard. I've heard though that the Discovery Institute has
deep pockets. Who funds these nuts, and what is their motivation?
Could it be a conspiracy to keep the public dumbed down in order to
more easily control them?
Another option is to let the lie stay and post as many links to it as
possible from as many places as possible, including Wikipedia, as yet
another example of the dishonesty so characteristic of creationist web
sites. Do these nuts have any shame? How can they be so stupid as to
continue to post arguments long refuted and to resort to such tactics
of obfuscation and distortion?
> Or just nail his balls to the wall and be done with it.
I am not a lawyer or a US citizen, but I assume the above
is not a threat because it does not include a call for action
and seems to be a ridiculous metaphor.
That said, I think we can safely assume that Wells is
following this discussion so that actual threats might
have unfavorable legal consequences.
The thing is, the professional creationist like Wells know very well
that their intended audience will never check sources. So it really
does not matter to them.
Wells is not writing for Harshman, or for the scientific journals or
even for the courts and school boards. He is writing for the 'flock'
who continue to support creationism with money and votes.