In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act - George Orwell
The same spirit applies to the world of population genetics. Needless to say, nobody likes a revolution and the least among which is Joe Pickrell.
We decided to check what the hoopla is about and found a rebuttal paper from Eran Elhaik, Dan Graur and collaborators newly posted in arxiv. We have covered previous episodes of this saga in some detail several months back, and the readers can check “Dan Graurs Latest Bombshell and Implications for Jewish Genetics”. Briefly, Michael Hammer’s group published a paper in 2013 (Mendez et al.), where they claimed to have rewritten the text book on human evolution. Then, Elhaik et al. redid the analysis and found it to be full of incorrect assumptions.
The most interesting part of the latest rebuttal is in its last section, where an author (Thomas Krahn) of the original Mendez et al. paper acknowledged by email that he and other authors were well aware that the newsworthy claim of the paper could be an artifact of incorrect assumptions made in the analysis. What else do you need?
To learn what Dr. Krahn thinks about the time estimates in Mendez et al. (2013), the missing exchange is published below with Dr. Thomas Krahns kind permission.
TK: While I agree that the outrageous time estimates for A00 from Fernando [Mendez] need an urgent correction and discussion, I dont think that your argumentation yields enough weight to question the fact that Perrys Y does in fact represent an extremely ancient haplogroup.
EE: I am just a bit skeptical about some of their statements in the paper, that the A00 predates human and the calculation of the Y tree in their Figure 1, that doesnt sound right.
TK: Yep, we were extensively discussing this issue. My numbers were more like [your] 200ky for the A00 split but Fernando [Mendez] insisted using autosomal SNP frequency data for dating, which I thought is absolute nonsense for the Y mutation mechanism. Anyhow, it was his job to do the dating maths.
Lately it has become extremely difficult to correct scientific records, and we can write volumes on the topic based on our experience with the junk science promoted by the positivity lady (check Tragedy of the Day: PNAS Got Duped by Positivity Lady !!, Our New PNAS Paper Debunks the Genomics of Positivity). Her positivity ‘science’ is now part of Arianna Huffington’s latest book available in every bookstore and public library, even though we have shown that the entire paper is garbage. People like Joe Pickrell pose particular challenge to those trying to highlight these examples of extremely bad science, and we have experienced similar resistance with our rebuttal paper of positivity paper from others in the field of psychology. In case of Mendez et al., when the original rebuttal paper of Elhaik et al. came out in January, Joe Pickrell was not happy. He is still not happy with Graur and Elhaik, even though it turns out that the authors of the original paper deliberately tweaked their analysis. This must be the post-modern way of finding truth.
There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. - George Orwell