Religion has always been one of the most heated topics of discussion. Both creationists and evolutionists have their own arguments for why they’re right, and few things can be said to convince either side that the other one is right. And since they pretty much disprove one another, tensions tend to run quite high.
In one of the most recent scandals on the matter, dubbed by some #Creatorgate and by others #HandofGod, PLOS ONE paper cited a ‘Creator’, outraging scientists. While the journal apologized and retracted the article and everything was attributed to being lost in translation, the scientific world is still outraged at a science journal citing the existence of God.
The “scandalous” paper
Usually viewed as a decent scientific journal, PLOS ONE will most likely not be able to make it out of this debacle unscahthed, or at least minus a few dozen readers. It all started with a paper published in the journal, focused on analyzing the movement of the human hand.
The hand movements of thirty subjects were analyzed extensively in the paper called “Biomechanical Characteristic Of Hand Coordination In Grasping Activities Of Daily Living”, and the researchers attributed the complex design to a ‘Creator’. This ‘Creator’ is mentioned several times throughout the paper, sparking a huge scandal.
The scientific community immediately lashed out on Twitter and other social media platforms, denouncing the journal for being a joke, for reaching a new low, and claiming that they won’t be able to take anything written in it seriously again.
Several influential men and women of science talked about how it is an outrage to off-handedly mention a ‘Creator’ in a scientific paper and rightfully criticized the journal’s editors who did indeed let several mentions of a higher power slip into a scientific publication.
Apologies and retraction
Pretty much every party involved in the debacle apologized for causing the public outrage. The journal’s staff apologized for letting the article slip, and admitted that it was not even addressed during the paper’s review and evaluation. The also announced that they will be retracting the article in light of the scandal it caused and use of unscientific terminology.
Meanwhile, the team behind the paper also apologized, insisting that everything was just a translation error. Indeed, the entire team is Chinese, including the editor, and something really may have been lost in translation. According to them, they referred to an intelligent design and to the force of evolution when they said ‘Creator’.
It does make sense in the context, and in my opinion, everything was a gross exaggeration. Aside from the scandalous translation issue, the paper was perfectly well done. The methodology, experiments, premise and conclusion were all right. The best thing for all involved parties would be to retract the article, make the appropriate changes, and republish it, as the team did do a very good job with it.
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