There are lies, damned lies and (Harvard’s ‘Third’ Reich and Co’s) statistics

Flaws in the approach of Dr. Reich of Harvard and selective cherry picking of DNA data to suit his hypothesis

Flaws in the approach of Dr. Reich of Harvard and selective cherry picking of DNA data to suit his hypothesis
Flaws in the approach of Dr. Reich of Harvard and selective cherry picking of DNA data to suit his hypothesis

How the scientifically illiterate agenda-driven media jumps on premature scientific discussions

NOTE: This is an overview counter to both the lay-press hype, which was unnecessary and unethical (please see below), and the context and setting of the methodologies used in the so-called scientific study by Reich and Co of Harvard and his compatriots. A detailed technical and scientific evidence-based (from previous published peer-reviewed work) will be published here and/ or in the appropriate scientific and academic forums.

THE BASICS FIRST

Every normal human being has a pair of sex-chromosomes. If a male, he will carry an X-chromosome from the mother and a Y-chromosome from the father. If a female, she will carry an X-chromosome from the mother and an X-chromosome from the father. A chromosome is nothing but a long chain of DNA molecules. We all look like humans and inherit the characters of our parents and ancestors because the DNA molecules in the chain in the sequence that they are arranged encode the information necessary for the formation of a human body and its various inherited characteristics. Certain unique sequences within that huge chain sequence of DNA molecules are called “markers” because they are often well-conserved and helps to identify the person and his / her “molecular” level identity. It is like us using the different faces to identify individuals per se and us using the facial similarities perhaps to identify related individuals, to give a simple and relatable example. Obviously, from the above, markers specific to Y-chromosome (which is present only in males) cannot be in females as females do “not” have Y-chromosome; they have only X-chromosome.

Boring beetles and bad sex
Fig 1. Boring beetles and bad sex (c) – http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.com
DNA Origins
Fig 2. DNA origins (c) – http://www.genza.org.za/images/stories/Noord_Transvaal/Aktiwiteite/Christoff13jul2013/dna%20origins.jpg

NOW LET US SEE WHAT THE (ANTI-)HINDU EDITOR WROTE

A former business-editor from a non-scientific background, Christian-named Tony Joseph, wrote the following in The Hindu: “R1a lineage form only about 17.5 % of Indian male lineage, and even smaller percentage of the female lineage.(Neelakandan 2017; Chavda 2017; Priyadarshi 2014)
R1a is a DNA marker present in the Y-chromosome, a chromosome that is present only in biological (genetic) males (men). Women (females) have two X-chromosomes and no Y-chromosome. This is standard high school biology. How can a Y-chromosome marker be present in a “smaller percentage of the female lineage”? (“வேசிகள் மரியாதைக்குரியவர்கள், ஊடகங்கள்? – The Rational Hindu” 2017; Murali KV 2017)

The X and Y Chromosomes
Fig 3. The X and Y Chromosomes (c) – http://theconversation.com/sex-genes-the-y-chromosome-and-the-future-of-men-32893

Now the same author has committed another similar hit job by publishing a piece on the Quint. (Joseph 2018)

THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS

The reason that scientists publish both the raw and processed (analysed) data is that the opinions and conclusions of the authoring scientists are not the final word. It is subject to amendment, even the opposite conclusions, or not surprisingly an outright rejection of the authors’ conclusions by the scientific community. Hence, every scientist relying on the published research will do their own analysis, or at least an independent assessment, of the published data and results before accepting the conclusions of the author(s): partly, fully or not at all.

PEER-REVIEW: AN OUTLINE OF THE HEART OF THE SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATION PROCESS

(Note: peer-review as well has many inherent issues. So this is not an unqualified attestation or approval of the process.)

If the above is the case for even the published results, imagine what is the likely scrutiny for unpublished research that is undergoing critical review, because they have been submitted for publication, otherwise called the peer-review process. For example, a medication (drug) that has shown positive outcomes in a clinical trial (research) can still be rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citing various flaws and / or drawbacks in the research methodology or other such factors.

Given all these caveats, taking an unpublished scientific article (paper) which has just been submitted for peer-review, as the final words – and that too relying on the words of the authors alone – without recourse to the analysis of the data undertaken, the methodologies used, the assumptions employed, etc. is simply appalling. More importantly, even the readymade criticisms of apparently scientifically-literate commentators, published beneath the abstract of the article, on the peer-review portal itself appear to have been ignored as well.

From a scientific point of view and established practices of reporting scientific advances via the lay press, this is purely an agenda-driven and unethical exercise, thus.

IS WESTERN LINGUISTICS A SCIENCE?

Any theory is considered a valid theory if it is at least able to make some predictions that have some validity. This is a simple rule of thumb in the sciences for obvious reasons. Even theoretical physicists often seek experimental validation for their hypotheses to be recognised.

To give an example, Albert Einstein did not get a Nobel Prize for the general theory of relativity, for which he is credited with, but the discovery of photoelectric effect. That is because its “predictions” were not proven until the solar eclipse observations in South Africa more than a decade and a half later (where the relativity’s predicted behaviour for light was observed). That said, how can Western linguistics be a science when it is unable to predict anything. Do you know why Google Translate fails hilariously even while being used amongst European languages? (Koyfman 2018) Because linguistic theories are an utter failure with no predictability or practical utility.

Till date, the unscientific Western linguistics is unable to define, or agree upon a definition of, what is a “word”, “meaning of a word”, “concepts of discourse”, “text”, “macro sentence”, etc. that are the basics of the study of languages. (Subrahmanyam 2008) Western linguistics is not worth the paper it is printed on.

WHAT DATA HAS BEEN LEFT OUT? (Priyadarshi 2014)

Archaeo/paleo-climatology (from before Mount Toba eruptions to after the last ice age and subsequent climate change – e.g., the beginnings of Indus-Saraswati-Yamuna river system to the drying up of the Saraswati river bed and consequent impact on human migration, etc.); paleo-ecology; archaeo/paleo-botany; archaeo/paleo-zoology; archaeo/paleo-hydrology; archaeo/paleo-palynology; archaeology; paleontology; phylogenetic studies of cows, buffaloes, dogs, horses, donkeys, pig, sheep, goat, camel, mice, rats, rice, wheat, barley, coffee, sorghum, honey bee, lice; and history and geographical extent of human genetic disorders, microbial parasites, etc.; geology and geophysics; ethnobotany; literary evidence; linguistics and philology; demography; pedology (soil science); anthracological; oenology; anthropology; palaeoart; and of course Indology; all provide valuable data of human migration.

How can all this be ignored in favour of a lone field of study of questionable validity, such as Western linguistics?

PRE-TEST PROBABILITY AND POST-TEST PROBABILITY: WHERE GENETICISTS DELIBERATELY FAIL

It is hard to find a single population genetics paper (most scientific articles for that matter, including archaeology) outside the field of medical / clinical research that bothers itself with the impact of pre-test probability on post-test probability. This is a statistical (mathematical) reality that ought to be addressed. If you start with a high prior pre-test probability, based on unscientific Western linguistics, you will almost always end up with a falsely high post-test probability.

For example, cough is caused by various different diseases. From the humble sore throat to cold (flu) to the deadly tuberculosis (TB). But if you have only recently read a gory description of a TB patient dying on coughing blood or better seen a movie like that, for a few days your mind will all be about cough and TB. Anybody coughs near you will only think of the horrible TB and panic, worry or if possible run away from the person. The person might just be coughing from the hotness of his recent pepper rasam soup drinking! What your mind is doing, in technical terms is, it is having a high pre-test probability for cough being a “marker” of TB and you end worrying, or worse concluding, that every person who coughs as a TB patient. All of us would have experienced such paranoia at some point in life.

Similarly, if you wrongly assume a certain DNA marker is evidence of Central Asians migrating to India (pre-test probability) and you find the marker in both Central Asians and Indians, you will only end up wrongly concluding (post-test probability) that Central Asian Indians did migrate / invade India. But the marker could have equally gone from India to Central Asia as well, or it could have just appeared by mutation of DNA in both the populations by chance at some point in the past. (Wikipedia contributors 2017)

Of course, there are ways to address this. But that requires scientific honesty. How to trust the probity of these people who already start with a deliberately wrong pre-test probability? At least the person who is paranoid of cough is misguided or just spooked, but what about these Harvard academics who do not do science but propaganda?

It is sad that David Reich being a jew should know better about what false propaganda of the Third Reich did and still does: it has divided the world into, falsely, Aryan-Europeans Christian-Whites and non-Aryan non-Europeans coloured peoples.

Perhaps, David Reich should change is first name to Third, or at least to New. It will be more appropriate for his propaganda masquerading as science. He should have some respect for his own ancestors for what they suffered from propaganda and the pseudo-science of race of the Nazis. Is it a case of a victim becoming a perpetrator? (Stosny 2018)

And Harvard (similar to the other Ivy Leagues – note the examples of Pollock from Columbia, Wendy Doniger from Chicago, etc.), it appears, is the current SS headquarters.

(Many thanks to Sri Sudarshan T Nadathur for reviewing the draft)

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

REFERENCES

Chavda, A. L. 2017. “Propagandizing the Aryan Invasion Debate: A Rebuttal to Tony Joseph | IndiaFacts.” IndiaFacts. June 22. http://indiafacts.org/propagandizing-aryan-invasion-debate-rebuttal-tony-joseph/.

Joseph, Tony. 2018. “How We, The Indians, Came to Be.” The Quint. April 1. https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/genomic-study-vedic-aryan-migration-dravidian-languages-sanskrit.

Koyfman, Steph. 2018. “15 Google Translate Fails That Will Make You Never Trust Computers Again.” The Babbel Magazine. Accessed April 5. https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/15-best-google-translate-fails.

Murali KV. 2017. “மதச்சார்பற்ற ஊடகங்கள் செய்யும் 420 ஏமாற்று வேலை.” SatyaVijayi. July 29. https://satyavijayi.com/secular-media-houses-cheating-readers/.

Neelakandan, Aravindan. 2017. “Here We Go Again: Why They Are Wrong About The Aryan Migration Debate This Time As Well.” https://swarajyamag.com/culture/here-we-go-again-why-they-are-wrong-about-the-aryan-migration-debate-this-time-as-well.

Priyadarshi, Premendra. 2014. In Quest of the Dates of the Vedas. Partridge.

Sastry, Shivsankar. 2018. “The 4 Hoaxes That Made Sanskrit ‘Come’ To India.” Swatantra Magazine – Multilingual. April 26. http://www.swatantramag.in/?p=2087.

Stosny, Steven. 2018. “The Line between Victims and Abusers.” Psychology Today. Accessed April 27. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/200905/the-line-between-victims-and-abusers.

Subrahmanyam, Korada. 2008. Theories of Language: Oriental and Occidental. DK Printworld.

Wikipedia contributors. 2017. “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. December 12. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics&oldid=815085309.

“வேசிகள் மரியாதைக்குரியவர்கள், ஊடகங்கள்? – The Rational Hindu.” 2017. The Rational Hindu. The Rational Hindu. July 25. https://therationalhindu.com/%E0%AE%B5%E0%AF%87%E0%AE%9A%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B3%E0%AF%8D-%E0%AE%AE%E0%AE%B0%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%AF%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%A4%E0%AF%88%E0%AE%95%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AF%81%E0%AE%B0%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%AF%E0%AE%B5%E0%AE%B0%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B3%E0%AF%8D-%E0%AE%8A%E0%AE%9F%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%99%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B3%E0%AF%8D-7e7dd8dbaff5.

Murali KV

A medic and a graduate of the University of Cambridge, England,involved in inter-disciplinary research for the inculcation of a scientific rigour in the outdatedfields of humanities: putting "science"
into social sciences.

17 COMMENTS

  1. […] and (Harvard’s “Third” Reich and Co’s) statistics – PGurus. PGurus. Available at: https://www.pgurus.com/there-are-lies-damned-lies-and-harvards-third-reich-and-cos-statistics/ [Accessed April 29, […]

  2. Guys,

    check this paper- the frequencies clearly show for R1a1* highest found within Brahmins within India and migration theory has been long debunked. This was published in so called ‘reputed’ western journals. After reading this paper, I do understand the ‘flimsy’ nature of the whole genetic research and how their results can be highly misleading. They are highly dependent on statistical models- which to use for a genetic theory is highly risky!!

    https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg20082

    Although this paper suggests clear markers of ‘autochthonous’ nature of R1a1*, I’m sure westerners will bring something else eventually to disprove this. So the question is why should we believe these theories or rather results based on some prediction models ? why cannot we just believe Vedas ?

  3. Just to support the author’s broad argument about the way of science, as distinct from the way of those who disguise opinions as science, let me cite a recent case. Two scientific papers published three weeks apart in March/April ’18, in respectable journals make diametrically opposite claims, based on experiments that their authors conducted (the Economists, April 14th-20th 2018).One claims that adults keep growing neurons all through their lives; the other claims adults can very rarely do so. Both the claims are being hotly debated within the scientific community. The jury is still out and is likely to remain so for a while. Well, this is the scientific way, unlike the work done by the Harvard Reich and their Indian sidekicks.

  4. “Flaws in the approach of Dr. Reich of Harvard and selective cherry picking of DNA data to suit his hypothesis”

    There is no evidence mentioned in the article about the flaws or what was selectively cherry picked?

    I understand Tony joseph is part of some propaganda machinery that he run with a article based on a pre-print.

    However such weak criticisms also hurt credibility on our side. The author of this article should sit with a geneticist and a statistician and flesh out the problems in the pre-print. they are many assumptions and holes in the pre-print, I am sure if you honestly spend some time you will come across them.

    • Please read the note posted at the very beginning (top) of the article.

      NOTE: This is an overview counter to both the lay-press hype, which was unnecessary and unethical (please see below), and the context and setting of the methodologies used in the so-called scientific study by Reich and Co of Harvard and his compatriots. A detailed technical and scientific evidence-based (from previous published peer-reviewed work) will be published here and/ or in the appropriate scientific and academic forums.

  5. No idea why the author talks about David Reich’s Jewish ancestry along with other ad-hominem. He is an honest scientist imo. If one reads the literature on ancient DNA published so far ,one would realize there is no grand conspiracy theory and all that stuff going on. Do note that they have in the spirit of open science , made the pre-print available so that people can find errors and post them in the comments . The population Genetics field moves very fast and some of papers from 2006-2007 might well be obsolete. I have seen that people like to cite Dr Sharma’s 2006 paper or Underhill’s 2009 paper but we didn’t know the downstream branches of R1a during that time . Now we know and Dr Underhill himself changed his opinion in his 2015 paper.
    Do note even Indian scientists like Dr Niraj Rai ,Dr Partha Majumdar have changed their opinions in light of latest evidence.

    • Are these ad hominem attacks too?

      1. IS WESTERN LINGUISTICS A SCIENCE?
      2. WHAT DATA HAS BEEN LEFT OUT?
      3. PRE-TEST PROBABILITY AND POST-TEST PROBABILITY: WHERE GENETICISTS DELIBERATELY FAIL

      If the authors would have stopped with a bioRxiv submission in the spirit of open-science alone, well and good. This was a clear attempt to bypass critical peer-review and claim what they wanted to push through. On what basis they encouraged lay press articles (thousands of words, presentations, videos), within a couple of hours of them posting on bioRxiv? Every author tweeting? Even before problems are pointed out and fixed. Do you know even after publications conclusions get reversed in reanalysis that is published by the same journal as a followup, within 3 months mostly?

      Unethical behaviour like this is pure propaganda. Nothing more.

      • “On what basis they encouraged lay press articles (thousands of words, presentations, videos), within a couple of hours of them posting on bioRxiv? Every author tweeting? Even before problems are pointed out and fixed. ” —-

        Good point. Media should also have been more responsible. The article in the “economist” was completely unwarranted.

  6. Please rectify an error/slip-up in the very beginning para of the article, copied below:
    NOTE: This is an overview counter to both the lay-press hype, which was unnecessary and unethical (please see below), and the context and setting of the methodologies used in the so-called scientific study by Reich and Co of Harvard and his compatriots. A detailed technical and scientific evidence-based (from previous published peer-reviewed work) will be published here and/ or inappropriate scientific and academic forums.

    In the above paragraph, the 5th word from the end should be “in appropriate”

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