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A Response to the Statement by Ms. Tracey Brown, Dr. Philip Campbell, and Dr. Colin Blakemore, 3 Judges of the John Maddox Prize (3081 查看)

July 11, 2013 06:47AM
A Response to the Statement by Ms. Tracey Brown, Dr. Philip Campbell, and Dr. Colin Blakemore, 3 Judges of the John Maddox Prize


Xin Ge, Ph. D.
Columbia, South Carolina
The United States of America


July 9, 2013



On June 23, 2013, I sent email messages to the British institutions and individual judges involved in awarding Fang Shi-min the inaugural John Maddox Prize in 2012, to inform them that I and one of my colleagues, representing 60 Chinese scholars around the world, would be in UK that week to deliver our open letter regarding the matter. In the messages, I also asked for an opportunity of asking them a few questions. All recipients responded to my messages promptly, and the contents of the responses were basically the same: they were neither available for receiving the letter in person nor for face to face interview, and our letter should be sent to them via email. Since journal Nature’s involvement in the Prize was the very reason for Chinese people’s resentment against the award, so I informed Dr. Campbell, the editor-in-chief of Nature, that “Our assignment is to deliver the letter to Nature in person, your presence is not a prerequisite.” Unexpectedly, Dr. Campbell replied again, telling me that he was the only person in Nature associated with the John Maddox Prize. I was rather surprised by such information, because it suggests that Nature’s involvement in the prize might not be institutional at all. Anyway, I assured Dr. Campbell that we were determined to fulfill our assignment anyway. The story ended here.

I also responded to the email from Dr. Colin Blakemore, a professor at the University of Oxford, and one of the four judges of the prize, because in his email there is the following paragraph which I felt offensive:

“In any case, I don't think that it's appropriate for you to try to meet and interrogate individual judges for last year's John Maddox Prize. The decision about the award of the Prize was unanimous and collective. I am copying this message to other judges for last year's Prize.”

To the above paragraph, I replied:

“If you and your colleagues, who, I assume, have limited, if any, knowledge about China and Chinese, think it is appropriate to make a judgment on a pure Chinese affair, why it is not appropriate for some Chinese to ask you a few simple questions? Although I might not understand your criterion of appropriateness, let me state my criterion clearly: the matter of right or wrong always outweighs appropriateness or inappropriateness, whatever they mean.”

And then came the following statement from Ms. Tracey Brown’s email account, dated June 26, 2013:

Dear Xin Ge

We, the judges for the 2012 John Maddox Prize, are replying to your messages to each and all of us. Brenda Maddox is unwell and not in correspondence.

The award of the John Maddox prize was based on nominations of individuals on the basis of their involvement in public communication of science and/or medicine in particularly challenging circumstances. Most of the evidence that we considered concerned science popularisation, in one form or another.

Comments in the publicity after the prize, about some of the difficulties faced by Fang Shi-min, may have led you or others to believe that the prize represents a judgement of the rights and wrongs of particular personal disputes. Disputes inevitably attract publicity but in future, as judges, we wish to make it clear that the prize is awarded for perseverance and broad achievement in the area of science communication. We will be adding some material to our website to emphasize that the award is not an endorsement of anything beyond the scope of the prize.

The prize emphatically is not a judgement about personal disputes – scientific or of any other nature. It is not a judgement about a nominee’s politics, probity, personal history, family history, academic background or any other matter beyond the subject of the nomination. We received a range of responses to Fang Shi-min’s award. Many were congratulatory and some were critical of his work, of his disputes, his choice of subjects and of his family, academic and political history. We are in no position to make judgements on these things either way and therefore are highly unlikely to revisit the prize decision, if that is what you seek.

Yours sincerely

Tracey Brown, Philip Campbell, Colin Blakemore


The above statement, declaring their position towards the matter, is the only correspondence I have received from the judges in the past 7 months, despite the fact that during that period I had sent them 25 serial open letters, detailing Fang’s fraudulent and plagiarism activities; and despite the fact that the judges didn’t know the exact content of the open letter which we were going to deliver to them in a few days. Therefore, the timing of the statement was preposterous, to say the least.

Comparing with the timing, the content of the statement is not less absurd. According to Mr. Albert Yuan, the very person who nominated Fang for the prize, one, and the only one, particular reason he cited in his nomination was Fang’s fight against Dr. Xiao Chuanguo; and according to the Nature’s editorial, which announced the news of the prize and congratulated Fang on the award, one, and the only one, specific reason for awarding Fang the John Maddox Prize was the following:

“But his targets fought back, in one case with particular hostility. In the summer of 2010, thugs hired by a urologist attacked Fang with a hammer and, according to Fang, tried to kill him. Fang had previously challenged not only the efficacy of a surgical procedure developed by the urologist, but also his CV.”

And yet, in their statement, the judges implied that I misunderstood their position on that matter:

“Comments in the publicity after the prize……may have led you or others to believe that the prize represents a judgement of the rights and wrongs of particular personal disputes.”

My questions to the judges are: Exactly for what reason did you select Fang among “a very high standard of nominations” for the prize? Exactly what the prize represents? Whether it was you who intentionally misrepresented the prize, or it was me who foolishly misunderstood your intention?

Obviously, the absurdity was caused by the fact that the judges finally conceded that Fang’s fight against the urologist was nothing but a personal dispute; it had nothing to do with science, had nothing to do with “the efficacy of a surgical procedure developed by the urologist,” and even had nothing to do with “his CV.” However, the concession was insincere and calculated. The truth is, the so called “personal dispute” is an extremely misleading term, because the “personal” part is completely unilateral: It was Dr. Xiao who busted Fang’s fraud first, which contained no “personal” element at all; and it was Fang who engaged in a long term malicious retaliation, which contained nothing but “personal” revenge. It seems that the judges were aware of the fact that Fang was on the wrongful and evil side in the “personal dispute,” but at the same time, they were neither willing to admit their previous wrong, nor to denounce their chosen hero’s evil doing, so they re-characterized Fang’s “fraud busting” as “personal disputes.” The thing is, without these “personal disputes,” what else left in the so called “root out the fakers,” a catchy phrase used by Nature to praise Fang’s fraudulent “fraud busting”?

Another ridiculous remark in the statement was this sentence:

“The prize ……is not a judgement about a nominee’s politics, probity, personal history, family history, academic background or any other matter beyond the subject of the nomination.”

It sounds to me that the judges were saying “we don’t care about the fact that Fang has been a thug hired by Chinese government to execute their secret missions; we don’t care about the fact that Fang has been the biggest plagiarist in human history; we don’t care about the fact that Fang has no qualification and eligibility whatsoever for either “standing up for science” or “science popularisation.” Then, let me ask the judges the same question asked by 60 Chinese scholars in their open letter to you again: “For exactly what reason and purpose do you award and promote such a person as Fang Shi-min?”

As I have pointed out many times before in my Open Letter to Nature, Fang’s so called “science popularisation” is nothing but stealing, cheating, deceiving, and, ultimately, scifooling: fooling his readers in the name of science. As a matter of fact, Fang is best known in China as a scifool writer, and except for his hardcore followers, such as that fake Dr. Albert Yuan, few people seriously consider him a science writer, let alone “the best science writer.”

On the other hand, Fang’s scifooling in China has been backed by the most powerful regime in the world, the Chinese government, and whenever people expressed their doubts about or objections to his scifooling, especially on GMO issues, Fang would bring out Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council Premier Wen Jiabao to his rescue. So, exactly what do you mean by “challenging circumstances” Fang had faced in China? Also, exactly what kind of “broad achievement in the area of science communication” Fang had made? Could you please show us some SPECIFIC EVIDENCES?

The preposterousness and the absurdity of the statement reached its zenith in its ending sentence:

“We are in no position to make judgements on these things either way and therefore are highly unlikely to revisit the prize decision, if that is what you seek.”

First of all, the undisputable fact is that the judges did make their judgments on “these things,” even though they knew, or should have known, that they were “in no position” to do so. Secondly, it is extremely presumptuous, uncivil and unscientific that the judges took such a “no-revisit” hardline posture before they even read our open letter. Such a posture indicates unequivocally that the judges have no intention to face the EVIDENCE, have no intention to correct their own wrongs even though the wrongs have been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Furthermore, the posture indicates the judges’ innate contempt for Chinese people and Chinese scholars, it is equivalent to saying: We have made our “unanimous and collective” decision, and you Chinese people have no other choice but to deal with it. Lastly, the posture indicates that the decision on awarding Fang the John Maddox Prize has very little, if any, to do with science or evidence, rather, it looks that it has everything to do with a hidden agenda: promote Fang, no matter what.

Ironically, among the many self-congratulatory remarks on the prize, posted on the website of Sense About Science, Lady Maddox wrote the following sentences:

“My late husband John had an unusual combination of knowledge of science and eloquence of expression. Someone once asked him, ‘how much of what you print is wrong?’ referring to Nature. John answered immediately, ‘all of it. That’s what science is about – new knowledge constantly arriving to correct the old.’ He led a supreme example of science journalism and others will do well to look up to it.”

Then, my question to the judges is, if pure scientific matters could be corrected this way, based on what principle or philosophy you insist that your decision will not be revisited?

The fact is, no only scientific matters constantly undergo modifications, revisions, and corrections, other matters follow the same path too: Vatican has to apologize for their wrongful treatment of Galileo; Japanese government has to apologize for their war crimes committed in World War II; and even Chinese Communist Party has to admit their mistakes in their numerous political movements in the 1950s and 1960s, while the judges of the John Maddox Prize “for standing up for science” declared, before seeing the demand and the EVIDENCE, that they are “highly unlikely to revisit the prize decision.” Your courage and perseverance are truly admirable; however, your judgment and credibility are in deep jeopardy. As a matter of fact, I am highly doubtful that Lady Maddox is willing to allow her beloved husband’s name to be used, or misused, if I may, this way. Therefore let me ask Ms. Tracey Brown and the Office Team of Sense About Science, the organizer of the prize, again: Please forward our open letter and its supporting document to her. Whether she wants to read them or not, it is her call, but other people, for whatever purposes, have no right whatsoever to hide the information, or the “new knowledge,” from her.

Finally, let me state our cause loud and clear: what we are seeking is nothing but truth, or in your words, “sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest.” The “personal dispute” between Fang and Dr. Xiao, or between Fang and any particular individual, was discussed only for the purpose of illustrating and demonstrating Fang’s fraudulence and evilness, nothing more, nothing less. We resent the notion or suggestion that the fights between us and Fang are “personal disputes.” They never were, and they ever will be. The nature of our fight against Fang and his gangsters, as well as his backers, is a rebellion against terrorism, evilness, and tyranny; an endeavor for justice, honor, and dignity; and a devotion to truth, goodness, and humanity. I expect you to respect our humble cause, and I wish you to forgive my candidness.


Note:

On July 1, 2013, I sent the following email to the judges:

Dear Judges,

I'd like to make an open response to your statement of June 26, 2013, and I am asking your permission for making your statement public. Of course it is better if you can do so on your own.

By now, the open letter signed by 60 Chinese scholars regarding Fang’s John Maddox Prize, and its supporting document, my serial open letter to Nature, Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature, have been delivered to the physical addresses of the three institutions as well as the four individual judges involved in the Prize (Lady Maddox’s copy will be forwarded to by Sense About Science, as promised). I am taking this opportunity to send you the electronic version of the open letter (see the attachment), and I am asking you, especially Ms. Tracey Brown, to forward the letter to the members of the Board of Trustees of Sense About Science, since I could not find their email addresses on your website. Let me emphasis again, if the decision on awarding Fang was made by 4 British individuals, we could not care less.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Xin Ge, Ph.D.


On July 9, 2013, I sent the above response to the judges for preview. On the same day, I also sent the following email to Dr. Campbell:

“I formally request that Nature publish our open letter, The John Maddox Prize Organizer, Sponsors, and Judges Should Investigate Your Inaugural Winner Fang Shi-min, in Nature, or on Nature.com. If such a request cannot be approved, at least you should allow us to post the letter as a comment on the webpage of your editorial, John Maddox prize, which has closed it comment function.”

So far, I have not received any responses from the judges yet.


The screen image of the email I sent to the judges on July 1, 2013
The last sentence of the message should have been like this: “Let me emphasis again, if the decision on awarding Fang was made by 4 random British individuals without institutional backing, we could not care less.”
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A Response to the Statement by Ms. Tracey Brown, Dr. Philip Campbell, and Dr. Colin Blakemore, 3 Judges of the John Maddox Prize (3081 查看)

亦明 July 11, 2013 06:47AM



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