Monday, November 11, 2013


Honesty was a section in The Two Way Street, my 1970's unpublished manuscript on creativity, Chapter 4, A Creative Frame of Mind.  The section reads as follows-

     Honesty is essential to the maintenance of creativity.  Honesty with others will reduce self-deception.  Honesty does not mean that everything known must be used or told.  Honesty must be coupled with the proper evaluation to be complete.  Accurate evaluation will make it easy to determine the best use.
     When honesty has been practiced so long and with such diligence that it is automatic, judgments and estimates will be realistic.  The resultant accuracy can contribute to the accuracy of derivative hypotheses.
     The defense of honesty should include the careful labeling of humor.  The unrealistic aspect of humor should not blend with the real and confuse, rather it should delight by its contrast.  Thus the choice of humor should be determined by the audience, not the teller.  Perhaps a sophisticated listener can discriminate on a very fine scale and appreciate what would be uniform and bland to the less sophisticated.  So also, honesty is partially determined by the listener, be it self or someone else.  Is it honesty to state something true when we know it is or will be misunderstood?  If we are willing to state something it is pointless to say anything unless we are willing to say it clearly.

A cartoon to amplify the third sentence of the above quotation showed a woman and a man in their backyard, each talking over adjacent sides of the fence to another woman and another man.  The quotation under the cartoon could be attributed to either one talking, it reads "I wish what went in Pat's ear went out the other ear instead of the mouth."

Honesty makes life easier when you don't have to clutter up your mind with lies or misinformation.  It makes it easier to keep from believing what started out as a lie.  It makes it easier to believe others; but evaluating information as it comes in may make it easier to reject untrue information.

A basic faith in the honesty of scientists made me look beyond the conflict of the view Gans and Northcutt present, as noted in blogs 16 and 17, June 23 and 24, 2013, and make the major discovery of how the two main groups of animals are linked.  That view reestablishing the annelid theory of chordate origin has yet to be understood by my peers.

Joseph G. Engemann       November 11, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013



Coming Climate Crisis? Consider the Past, Beware the Big Fix is a 2010 book written by Claire A. Parkinson.  Chapter 11, Compounding Social Pressures, should be required reading for all scientists and would be scientists as well as those in the publishing and grant awarding fields and members of Congress and their staffs.  It is also an excellent reference for those interested in an objective assessment of the global warming/cooling controversy.

A major social pressure affecting scientific output in some unfortunate instances is peer pressure.  The pressure is not only seen in the peer review outcomes of publication and grant results but in modified behavior by scientists as well.


While reading her book it occurred to me that a carbon sink aspect exists in the role of sperm whales (see August 31, 2013 blog on the whale’s role in fisheries production) that I did not think of when originally working on the topic in the 1970’s.  It was not part of the discussion in the joint manuscript I was working on with Dr. Patrick Kangas in 1989 (unpublished).  But it could be inferred from the massive amounts of carbon (tens of millions of tons) in the primary production by marine algae resulting from the sperm whale’s ammonia recycling role.  Recovery of sperm whale numbers to pre-whaling levels would more than double the value of the existing marine sink functioning in atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction.

The gradual rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the whaling years may have been as much a result of whaling as it was from the industrial revolution.

The climate concerns aside, Parkinson’s book gives remarkable insights into the way science functions.  I also want to thank Dr. Charles Heller for making the book available to me and prompting me to read it.  At the time of writing her book, Dr. Parkinson was climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  One focus of her work has been the increase/decrease seen in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.  If you know Dr. Parkinson, please convey my enthusiastic response to her book.

Joseph G. Engemann      November 4, 2013