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Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature (Part XXII) (5000 查看)

April 14, 2013 03:16PM
【Note: The PDF file is more reader-friendly. Click the title to open it.】


Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature
──An Open Letter to Nature (Part XXII)


Xin Ge, Ph. D.

Columbia, SC, USA


【Summary】

On May 12, 2008, right after the Great Sichuan Earthquake killed tens of thousands Chinese people, Fang suddenly became China’s No. 1 seismologist, and his only mission was to propagandize the unpredictability of earthquakes. On September 9, 2009, in the midst of the California wildfires, Fang, out of nowhere, changed to a wildfire expert, blaming American government’s wildfire policy. One week later, Fang pretended a paleontologist, laughing at the scientists who had been looking for the causes of the mass extinctions. So, what these three subjects have in common? The answer is, all of them were the subjects discussed in Dr. Mark Buchanan’s book Ubiquity, and Fang plagiarized every one of them. In other words, Dr. Buchanan was plagiarized by Fang at least 4 times in a period of 16 months.

【Content】

Fang’s Plagiarism History: The Ubiquity Case

The Story
The Evidence
1. The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction
2. Avalanching like a Sandpile
3. Unstoppable Wildfires
4. Why Did Mass Extinctions Occur Repeatedly
The Complete Comparisons




Major Characters
From left: Dr. Mark Buchanan, the victim; Ubiquity, the book; Fang, the thief



The publishers of Fang’s stolen articles
Mr. Xu Wenxin (徐文新), the president of China Youth Daily; Mr. Chen Xiaochuan (陈小川), the editor-in-chief of China Youth Daily; Mr. Zhou Mingwei (周明伟), the director of China International Publishing Group which owns Dolphin Books; and Mr. Yu Xiaoqun (俞晓群), the president of Dolphin Books.
China Youth Daily published Fang’s The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction on May 28, 2008; Avalanching like a Sandpile on June 4, 2008; Unstoppable Wildfires on September 9, 2009; and Why Did Mass Extinctions Occur Repeatedly on September 16, 2009. The four articles were republished in Fang’s book, Why Elephants Don’t Have Hairs? in 2010 by Dolphin Books. All four articles were plagiarized, partially or completely, from Dr. Mark Buchanan’s book, Ubiquity.



Fang’s Plagiarism History: The Ubiquity Case

The Story

On May 12, 2008, at 02:28:01 PM, an earthquake that measured at 8.0 Ms struck the Wenchuan area, Sichuan Province. The so called the Great Sichuan Earthquake caused nearly 70,000 casualties, and left nearly 5 million people homeless[1].

On the very same day, Fang, who had no training whatsoever in seismology, geophysics, or even physics, wrote an article entitled Earthquake Experts Shouldn’t Be Over-blamed, defending for Chinese seismologists’ failure to predict the quake. According to Fang, it was not just Chinese experts who were incompetent; the experts in the developed nations were incompetent also, because:

“At present, there are no generally acknowledged reliable methods which could accurately predict the occurrence of earthquakes. According to the once popular complexity theory, the occurrence of earthquakes is a complexity phenomenon, involving many accidental factors, therefore, it is impossible to predict accurately.”[2]

However, in an article published in 2000, Fang wrote:

“But, difficult to predict does not equal to impossible to predict. Sometimes, the prediction on complex systems could reach amazing accuracy.……The assertion that the emergent properties of complex systems are unpredictable will definitely oppose the traditional scientific method “theoretical prediction-test,” oppose the exploration of general laws….”[3]

So, why did Fang slap his own face in 2008? The answer is very simple: many Chinese seismologists who were conducting earthquake prediction were also Fang’s harsh critics, and Fang’s hatred toward them went back as early as 2003, therefore, he tried to use the Sichuan Earthquake as an opportunity to destroy them[4]. Because of that, Fang immediately launched a campaign to attack those seismologists who believed that earthquakes are predictable, and labeled them as cheaters or liars, and label earthquake prediction as pseudoscience[5]. The strange thing is, just a little more than one year earlier, Fang had called earthquake prediction “serious research.”[6]

On May 28, 2008, Fang published his second article on earthquake, The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction, in China Youth Daily, in which he labeled earthquake prediction as pseudoscience, like fortune-telling[7]. It was found out later, Fang stole several paragraphs from Dr. Mark Buchanan’s Ubiquity[8].

On June 4, 2008, Fang published his third article on earthquake prediction, Avalanching like a Sandpile, in China Youth Daily. The article contains 8 paragraphs and 1,596 Chinese characters, and its main content was about the development of self-organized criticality theory from the sandpile game, and the similarity between the avalanches of sandpiles and earthquakes: since the former is unpredictable, so is the latter[9]. Four days later, Fang, as a science writer and pseudoscience fighter, went to China Central Television (CCTV), to tell Chinese people that story[10]. In April, 2010, Fang appeared on Shenzhen Satellite TV to introduce the “main stream opinion in international academic community” again[11]. In September, 2010, these two articles were republished in Why Elephants Don’t Have Hairs?.


An inhumane creature
On June 8, 2008, Fang, as a special guest of CCTV, exuberantly told CCTV audience that earthquakes could not be predicted. Fang was the only one who was joyous and jubilant on CCTV when the whole nation was still in mourning. Fang also lied to Chinese people that he lived in California for 10 years[12].



Slapped by an expert
On April, 2010, Fang participated in a TV debate on the predictability of earthquakes on Shenzhen Satellite TV. Mr. Sun Shihong (孙士鋐), the chief forecaster of the China Earthquake Administration, reprimanded Fang Zhouzi face-to-face by saying Fang doesn’t understand basic concepts in seismology[13].


On Dec. 15, 2010, a member of AIR-China under the web ID “Hong Qiao” informed me that Fang’s Avalanching like a Sandpile was plagiarized from Mark Buchanan’s Ubiquity. Before that, Hongqiao had found two other plagiarism cases committed by Fang, which were later handled by two Academic Misconduct Assessment Panels organized by AIR-China[14]. Hong Qiao was also the person who first discovered the plagiarism committed by Fang’s wife, Liu Juhua, in her Master’s degree thesis[15].

According to Hong Qiao, Avalanching like a Sandpile was the most serious plagiarism committed by Fang by then, because almost every sentence he wrote had corresponding sentence or sentences in Dr. Buchanan’s book. After brief reading the book, I identified Fang’s plagiarism in his The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction. And I thought, till two days ago, Fang plagiarized Dr. Buchanan only twice. Obviously, I was wrong.

While I was trying to write up the sandpile case into English in the past week, showing Fang’s unscrupulous greed when he steals from other people, I found Fang had written two more articles, both published in China Youth Daily in September, 2009, and in Why Elephants Don’t Have Hairs? In 2010, talking about power law, the distinct feature of self-organized criticality. Since Fang’s ignorance in mathematics, as well as in any other subjects, is well-known, it was obvious to me that Fang had plagiarized someone, and Dr. Buchanan was the candidate No.1. After comparing with Ubiquity, the two articles by Fang were identified as plagiarism, which was a landmark event by itself, since it made Fang’s total plagiarism cases surpassing the 100th mark[16].


Four newspaper pages of China Youth Daily which contain Fang’s column articles (red boxes) stolen from Dr. Buchanan’s Ubiquity
From top left (clockwise): The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction (May 28, 2008); Avalanching like a Sandpile (June 4, 2008); Why Did Mass Extinctions Occur Repeatedly (September 16, 2009) and Unstoppable Wildfires (September 9, 2009).


The Evidence

1. The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction

It seems that Fang just started reading Dr. Buchanan’s Ubiquity when he wrote this article on May 25, 2008, because he only plagiarized two examples of failed earthquake predictions from Ubiquity. The two examples are the “great Tokai earthquake” prediction in 1970s in Japan, and the Parkfield earthquake prediction in 1980s in the United States. Admittedly, Fang could copy the two examples from many other sources, but the way in which he told these stories, and the detailed information he provided in his article, revealed that his source was most like Dr. Buchanan’s book.

For example, Fang wrote: “In 1979, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey noticed that in the Parkfield area in California, earthquakes with magnitude between 5.5 and 6 occurred periodically,” which resembles Dr. Buchanan’s “In 1979, geophysicist William Bakun and some of his colleagues… noticed that all the Parkfield quakes had magnitude between 5.5 and 6.” (pp. 31-32). The thing is, “William Bakun and some of his colleagues” didn't say that “all the Parkfield quakes had magnitude between 5.5 and 6” in 1979[17], and according to the renowned seismologist Hiroo Kanamori, the information about Parkfield earthquakes “(1) the location of these events are not accurately known, (2) the record before 1900 is uncertain, (3) the 1857 event is an immediat foreshock of the M≈8 Fort Tejon earthquake and is not an isolated event like the other events, and (4) the range of inter-vent intervals is actually fairly large, 12 to 32 years.”[18]

So, if not stealing from Dr. Buchanan, where did Fang get his “magnitude between 5.5 and 6”?


The evidence of stealing
In the book version of The Dream and the Reality of Earthquake Prediction, Fang inserted a figure (left, Why Elephants Don’t Have Hairs? p. 266) showing “in the Parkfield area in California, earthquakes with magnitude between 5.5 and 6 occurred in the history periodically,” the historical range was from 1857 to 1966. In fact, the figure shows Fang stole Dr. Buchanan first, in 2008, then stole USGS website later, in 2010.




2. Avalanching like a Sandpile

As mentioned above, the case was initially identified by Hong Qiao, who believed that it was Fang’s most serious plagiarism. Indeed, the whole article was translated from Ubiquity, many sentences were verbatim translation. Admittedly, Fang did make his own contribution by substituting an example of normal distribution offered in the book with one of his own. (See sentence II-4 in the table below.)

Since the entire text of Fang’s article was based on Ubiquity by Dr. Buchanan, who has a Ph. D. degree in physics from the University of Virginia[19], Fang had no chance to make his characteristic stupid mistakes. However, his stupidity was revealed in the title of his article: earthquakes have nothing in common with the avalanche of sandpiles, except for that the latter happened to be the model for self-organized criticality. On the other hand, according to Dr. Buchanan, the so called BTW model doesn’t mimic the avalanching in a real sandpile[20]. So, what does the title mean?

Fang’s ignorance and stupidity was also revealed when he preaching the unpredictability of earthquakes solely on the fact that the relationship between the magnitude of an earthquake and its occurrence frequency resembles the power law. He obviously didn’t, and still doesn’t, know that not only the resemblance has been challenged[21], but also a power law distribution/self-organized criticality does not exclude the possibility of prediction, to some extent[22].

Fang’s stupidity was revealed thoroughly in the following episode. In Ubiquity, Dr. Buchanan summarized the finding of sandpile avalanche modeling by Bak and his colleagues this way:

“Double the number of grains involved, and the avalanche becomes just a bit more than twice as unlikely (more precisely, about 2.14 times as unlikely).”

Fang translated the sentence into this:

“Increasing the number of grains involved in an avalanche one fold, and the frequency of occurrence decreases 2.14 times.” (Sentence VII-1)

Obviously, Fang didn’t know the number 2.14 was not present in Bak’s original paper, and it was possibly Dr. Buchanan’s own calculation. The funny thing is, Fang even didn’t know what the sentence means. On the day Fang posted the article on the New Threads, one of his followers asked Fang: does his “decreases 2.14 times” means “1/(1+2.14)”? It took Fang almost 24 hours to answer the question, indirectly:

“Didn’t you learn your elementary math? According to ‘Math Book VI For Teachers’ published by People’s Education Press in 2002, ‘Increasing N times means multiplying with N, decreasing N times means dividing by N.’”[23]

One person asked: How about increase or decrease one time? Fang’s answer: they mean no change at all[24].

The stupidities listed above demonstrate unequivocally that Fang has no knowledge in either “elementary math” or seismology. Then, if not by stealing, how could he write his Avalanching like a Sandpile?

3. Unstoppable Wildfires

I have pointed out repeatedly that Fang’s so called science writing, besides those scifool articles, is nothing but to attract readers’ attention by chasing the hot topics, whatever they are; and whatever they are, Fang would pretend he is the expert in the area. Unstoppable Wildfires is a perfect example: like his pretending a seismologist after the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, Fang pretended a wildfire expert when the wildfire in California became a big new in China.

Like what he did in Avalanching like a Sandpile, Fang’s translation in Unstoppable Wildfires was loyal, so he didn’t make many obvious mistakes. However, unlike Avalanching like a Sandpile, Fang did read the original paper published in Science (Malamud, et al. 1998. Science 281:1840-1842). As a matter of fact, Fang not only lifted some sentences from the paper, he also lifted a figure from it, without acknowledgment. Maybe Fang has a special permit from Science for stealing at will. After all, he is a “fraud buster” certified by Science[25].


The “fraud buster” certified by Science magazine busted his certifier’s copyright policy, again
In 2010, when his Unstoppable Wildfires was republished in his Why Elephants Don’t Have Hairs?, Fang inserted three images, one of them was the one on the left (p.62). The image on the right is the original, published in Science magazine (Malamud, et al. 1998. Science 281:1840-1842).


Having learned from his mistake made 16 months ago, Fang didn’t steal Buchanan’s this sentence:

“Once again we find the same geometric pattern: double the area covered by a fire, and it becomes about 2.48 times as rare, and the pattern holds for fires varying in size by a factor of a million.” (p.68)

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". Yes, even a thief evolves. Long live Charles Darwin!

4. Why Did Mass Extinctions Occur Repeatedly

Apparently, Fang found many new things in his old prey when he reread Ubiquity in September, 2009, hence his Why Did Mass Extinctions Occur Repeatedly. In the article, Fang not only stole from Dr. Buchanan the information, the wordings, the development of arguments, he also stole Dr. Buchanan’s speculations or conjectures.

The concrete evidence for Fang’s plagiarism of Ubiquity is shown in this sentence:

“However, in 1998, two physicists analyzed Sepkoski’s data from a different angle to see the distribution of extinctions, and they got a surprising discovery: double the size of the extinction, such events become four times as rare.” (Sentence IX-3)

It appears that the sentence was based on the following passage in Ubiquity:

“In 1996, the physicists Richard Sole and Susanna Manrubia took a more careful look at Sepkoski’s data and found that the distribution of extinctions according to their size (this being taken as the number of families that went extinct) follows our old friend the power law. In fact, ……if you double the size of the extinction under consideration, you find that such events become four times as rare.” (p.96)

The thing is, “the physicists Richard Sole and Susanna Manrubia” not only didn’t “analyzed Sepkoski’s data from a different angle” in 1998 or “took a more careful look at Sepkoski’s data”in 1996, they also didn't make the discovery. The phenomenon of extinctions’ power law distribution was discovered by 4 physicists, including Per Bak, who made the discovery in 1995[26]. In their 1996 paper, Richard Sole and Susanna Manrubia explicitly acknowledged the fact[27]. So, where did Fang get his (mis)information?

It is really amazing that a Michigan State University Ph. D. in biology steals from a University of Virginia Ph. D. in physics, in the area of evolutionary biology! Way to go, Spartans!

【Please read the PDF file for the complete comparisons.】

Notes

[1] See: [en.wikipedia.org].

[2] Fang’s original Chinese: “实际上,目前并没有任何公认的可靠办法可以准确预测地震的发生。根据曾经很流行的复杂性理论,地震的发生是一种复杂现象,涉及很多偶然因素,是无法准确预测的。” (Fang Zhouzi. Earthquake Experts Shouldn’t Be Over-blamed. XYS20080513. According to Fang’s end note, it was written on May 12, 2008. 方舟子:《不应苛求地震专家》, XYS20080513).

[3] Fang’s original Chinese: “但是,难以预测并不是不可预测。有时候,对复杂系统的预测能达到令人惊叹的准确程度,……断言复杂系统的突现性质不可预测,必然反对科学传统上对“理论预测-检验”的研究方法的重视,反对探求普遍规律,……”(See: Fang Zhouzi. Reductionism and Holism. Studies in Dialectics of Nature, Nov. 2000.《还原主义和整体主义述评》,《自然辩证法研究》2000年11期).

[4] For detail, see: Yi Ming. The Feud between Drs. Fang Zhouzi and Xiao Chuanguo, Chapter 8, pp.370-400. (《方舟子陷害肖传国始末》370-400页).

[5] ibid. Fang also instigates his followers to scold these scientists with much more vicious and evil words. In July, 2008, Fang set up a special folder to collect these articles, and he labeled the folder “A Group of Demons Celebrate While the Whole Nation Is Grieving.” (Original Chinese: “举国同悲日,群魔乱舞时”). See: 《汶川地震事件》.

[6] In January, 2007, Fang wrote: “Who has said all ‘earthquake predictions’ are ‘superstition’? If [I have said] so, it doesn’t need Tiandi Shengreng, Seismological Bureau would have eliminated us. What we said was, those who claimed they could predict earthquakes with I Ching, astrology were practicing superstition. Can these people represent serious research on earthquake prediction?” (Original Chinese: “又有谁把‘地震预测’一概说成‘迷信’?那样的话用不着‘天地生人’上场,地震局的人就该把我们给灭了。我们说的是那些号称能用易经、星相预测地震的人是在搞迷信,这些人能够代表正儿八经的地震预测研究?” ) (See: Fang Zhouzi. New Century Weekly, a news medium who has no justice, no ability, no morality, no conscience, and no brains. XYS20070118. 方舟子:《“五无媒体”〈新世纪周刊〉》XYS20070118).

[7] Fang’s original Chinese: “现代科学还做不到的事情,伪科学就会乘虚而入,而且不难找到市场。” “这类地震预测术就像算命术一样”. See: 《地震预测的梦想与现实》.

[8] The case was made public in March, 2011, in Yi Ming’s Chronicle and Demonstration of Fang Zhouzi’s Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement. (亦明:《方舟子抄袭剽窃年谱》).

[9] 方舟子:《像沙堆一样崩塌》,2008年6月4日《中国青年报》。

[10] CCTV. Is Earthquake Predictable? June 8, 2008. (中央电视台:《地震能预测吗?》,2008年6月8日, mms://winmedia.cctv.com/duihua/2008/06/duihua_300_20080610_1.wmv).

[11] Shenzhen Satellite TV. Can Earthquakes Be Predicted Accurately? May 2, 2010. 深圳卫视:《地震能够准确预测吗?

[12] Fang’s origianl Chinese: “我在哪儿[美国加州]生活了十年。” Note: Fang began living in California in 1997, and since 2002, when he married Liu Juhua, he has been mainly living in Beijing.

[13] Sun Shihong’s original Chinese: “所以你们两位,竟然是有一些基本概念都不清楚。方先生有很多基本概念都不懂。”

[14] The two cases are: in September, 2006, Fang’s plagiarized British mathematician Drs. John J O'Connor and Edmund F Robertson of University of St Andrews, to write his The Truth behind a Great Feud in Mathematics History; in March, 2009, he plagiarized Wikipedia, the webpages maintained by Princeton University and San Andrews University, to write his A well-known Case in the History of Science: The Death of Galois. Fang was unanimously convicted in both cases. See: The Academic Misconduct Assessment Panels: The Verdicts.

[15] See: Yi Ming. Preface to The Complete Analysis and Comparison of the Plagiarism in Liu Juhua’s Master’s Degree Thesis.

[16] Since November, 2010, I have vowed repeatedly to compile one hundred plagiarism cases committed by Fang Zhouzi. (See: 《敬告网友》, 《〈方舟在骗〉序》). At that time, it seemed a mission impossible, but now, it looks a job easily done.

[17] Bakun, WH. and McEvilly, TV. 1979. Earthquakes near Parkfield, California: Comparing the 1934 and 1966 sequences. Science, 205:1375-1377.

[18] Kanamori, H. 2003. Earthquake Prediction: An Overview. International Handbook of Earthquake and Engineering Seismology, Volume 81B.

[19] See: [mark.buchanan.pagesperso-orange.fr].

[20] Buchanan, M. Ubiquity. Crown Publishers, 2000. p.20.

[21] Yang X, Du S, Ma J. 2004. Do earthquakes exhibit self-organized criticality? Phys Rev Lett. 92(22):228501.

[22] Main, I. 1999. Earthquake prediction: Concluding Remarks. Nature Debates; Corral A. 2005. Comment on "Do Earthquakes Exhibit Self-Organized Criticality". Phys Rev Lett. 95(15):159801.

[23] Fang’s original Chinese: “小学数学没有学好?人教社 2002 年版《数学第六册教师教学用书》:‘扩大几倍就是用几乘。缩小几倍就是用几除。’” (See: 2008-06-06, 08:42:26).

[24] Fang’s original Chinese: “增加一倍和减少一倍等于不变就是了”. (See: 2008-06-06, 15:07:03).

[25] Jia Hepeng, Hao Xin. 2006. China's Fraud Buster Hit by Libel Judgments; Defenders Rally Round. Science 314:1366-1367; Hao Xin.2010. Assailants Attack China's Science Watchdog. ScienceInsider, 30 August 2010; Hao Xin. Urologist Arrested for Attacks on Chinese Whistleblowers. ScienceInsider, 23 September 2010; Hao Xin. Doctor Sentenced in Beijing for Attack on Critics. ScienceInsider, 12 October 2010.

[26] Solé RV, Manrubia SC. 1996. Extinction and self-organized criticality in a model of large-scale evolution. Phys Rev E Stat Phys Plasmas Fluids Relat Interdiscip Topics. 54(1):R42-R45; Sneppen, K., Bak, P., Flyvbjerg, H., and Jensen, MH. 1995. Evolution as a self-organized critical phenomenon. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 92(11): 5209–5213.



被编辑2次。最后被亦明编辑于04/28/2013 03:46PM。
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