December 20, 2008

From Matthew Winfield:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): Science is the study of everything that exists. Belief systems exist in the brains of humans.

We are, in fact, moving toward resolution of these intellectual endeavors. It is an obvious battle of belief systems, triadically (Hegel). I have an attempt at a rememdy that is quite interesting, and nearly as true as any belief system today. This debate will be settled, or we will perish trying, inevitably, as a race, on a planet.

I have designed a rememdy. First, I inadvertently used my life to study the basic questions of existence through my first degree in psychology (philosophy minor), until this point where I have completed my application to grad school. Over ten years ago, many things became much clearer as the secular thinker that I was (and still am). I always knew that I would be writing a book someday in an attempt to bring clarity to some aspect of this existence. Little did I know that the book that I ended up writing would be more encompassing than I had ever imagined.

Why have none of the current belief systems caught on? Whatever your answers, I have addressed in the way that I went about designing my book, Matthew 10:10; TravelS of an AwarenesS. And it’s not only the existence of the book that is part of the design. I have a pretty diverse website that is of my own doing (I wasn’t a computer whiz a year ago). I have built the foundations for a movement complete with ongoing soundtrack, meetings and events, and goals toward getting a church, and calling it something else, like a R. O. S. E. House.

I am aware of most of what is going on with the social cognitive evolution of humanity. After digging into the secular community for over a year, I am also aware that what I am doing is unfolding right before our eyes. My work is just a few steps ahead of the game.

Common question at this point: What am I doing, or what have I done? I am helping with the transition from cherishing irrational beliefs, to hating those irrational beliefs, to embracing and utilizing rational beliefs at the foundation of one’s belief system. In this way, I provide a way to control one’s own unique belief system.

Next question. How? Truth. Truth derived from the first law of thermodynamics and all that we have come to discover in the Universe in which we find ourselves. I am here to let people know that they are the Energy that exists in the Universe, aware of itself. You may recognize this from Carl Sagan. I did not know that he would phrase existence this way when I discovered it through philosophic inquiry. There are many coincidences like this, of course. What else could I expect in accurately describing existence. That is why I have legal representation.

My book attempts to take it all away, only to give it all back.

I have begun my work publicly on many levels. There is a trickle of national awareness, and locally, I am really ramping up. The book is only available in PDF and as an audio book with 44 tracks that I produced. (I was not a great sound engineer over a year ago, and still have work to do). I begin with individual understanding.

I liked your article. Until the conclusion that we will never resolve these conflicts of which we speak. If we never resolve them, we will keep moving toward resolution. “Moving halfway in the right direction, is better than going all the way in the wrong direction, and we already know what that is like. Who is to judge what is right? I don’t see anyone else around here. Yes! It’s us. How we judge is the challenge in ethical and moral knowledge, and there exists tons of that literature already.

In this article, I see you approaching the synthesis, only to move away. And you hit it on the head when you return to the basic questions (Chapter 4 The Questions) and point out contradicting theses. For example: Earth’s age is about 4. 6 billion years, and not 6000. There are many details like this that, when taken together, as in my book, create a whole new perception of existence and reality.

Atheism is a step in social cognitive evolution, and an exciting one at that. Many quickly turn in thought to what we actually do believe. Energeticism is a root belief system which describes belief systems as systems of belief in the brains of humans. Each one, individual.

I had better stop or I’ll end up writing another book. Your article was exciting and invigorating.

Matthew Winfield, BA, R.O.S.E.

From John Jones:

Re: At least 8 genes tied to obesity, all in brain (Dec. 16): The search for the obesity gene is not about finding a gene for getting fat. All animals have those genes. It’s about justifying particular social eating regimes by declaring as ill the people that don’t fit in. It’s a pointless stereotyping, for there is no standard eating regime.

From Michael Elson:

Re: Odd bird fathering styles may come from dinos (Dec. 18): When was this theory of dinosaurs-to-birds first mooted? I do a lot reading on palaeontology and have never seen any convincing evidence of that at all. Most convincing to ‘professional’ students on the subject, appears to be “the close relationship of scales to feathers... . ”. Seems to them to be cast in stone (pun intended). It is the keratin that they are glued to as this ‘evidence’.

Don’t they know that keratin is the basis of skin, hair, feathers, horn, nails, claws, hooves and scales? That embraces a whole lot of very diverse animal life, from fish to rhinoceroses and birds to buffalos - not to mention reptiles. Plus there are other forms of life where the male is responsible for the rearing of the young - even fish. How about the lungs of birds compared to dinosaurs? Birds’ lungs are the most efficient lungs on the planet, and far more complex than the reptiles - and mammals. And cold blood to warm blood? Warty skin to feather-covered skin? Come on, you guys..... .

There is not even any lineage provided (a la Darwin, although that too is fraught with huge pot holes... ) like a series of fossils from dinosaurs to the archeopteryx to modern birds. I wonder why scientists persist with this line of ‘thought’? Nothing better to do, perhaps? It’s the same with their idiotic ape to man theory - Darwin again. Again - where’s the hard evidence? Don’t give me “theories”.

From Robert F. Beck:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): Professor Jesse Preston is wrong, at least in concluding that science and theology will always be in conflict, “be­cause they can’t pos­sibly both ex­plain ev­ery­thing. ”.

A revolution in both is coming, even more significant that that at the time of Galileo, but this one will bring science and faith together.

Part of the knowledge that will enable this was actually in one of the first reports that I read in your magazine, as mentioned here in Chapter 17 of my autobiography (see “I had been invited to subscribe to a new, on-line magazine called World Science. One of the first articles was about computer simulation of plasma. Readers may remember that I said in Chapter 12, p. 134: “I had read in New Scientist that it had been discovered that blobs of plasma gas appear to be able to “communicate, replicate and grow”. Of course they can! It is clearly possible by the interchange of encoded helixes.” Guess what the computer simulation showed? Right, exactly what I had suggested almost four years ago. There were helical structures that not only seemed to be communicating information, they were interacting in the way I had suggested to explain forces.

The ubiquitous helix cannot be denied as nature’s most useful tool. My second paper had examined relativity and mass in more depth than my first paper and demonstrated exactly why the spiral is natural, with the help of Laithwaite’s demonstrations with gyroscopes, that also confirm my theory of how planets and moons spiral outwards and why neutrinos move as they do. But rather than just being an explanation for everything we consciously see and experience, it is now apparent that it may also hold the key to a realm that up to now has been thought of as something apart and beyond our ability to comprehend. The spiritual realm may be just the continuation beyond our limited (undeveloped) perception of those physical manifestations that are easily experienced by us. What has been called supernatural is just natural on a smaller scale. It is probably just coincidence, but if you take “spiral” and add “itu” (intelligence that’s ultimate?) you get “spiritual. The spiral can contain the essence of ultimate intelligence.”

The other knowledge, that allowed me to make such a statement, was given earlier in Chapter 17, as follows:

“... He (David Wilcock) mentioned experiments that were stunning in their confirmation of what I had said about light. If you have seen the excellent science fiction film, K-PAX you will know that the human looking alien character, Prot, claimed to have travelled in a beam of light, and said, “You would be surprised just how much energy there is in a beam of light.” Suspecting that this may have been something very insightful on the part of the author, I emailed Gene Brewer (on 2/2/06), saying just how insightful this was, and that my theory suggested that, “much more information can be encoded in light and similar unknown emissions than even twisted light suggests.”

What the experiments demonstrated was that frog DNA could be changed to salamander DNA simply by passing modulated laser light through the latter and on to the former. Those who know just how much information is involved should be even more staggered than I was. And yet I was not surprised, because Wilcock also said that the light itself took on a spiral form (phantom DNA), which I knew from other experiments I had cited in support of my own theory of light was the same as the “twisted light” I had mentioned to Gene Brewer. Twisted light, where the photon itself follows a spiral path, had been shown to depend on orbital angular momentum within the photon, which is a scientific way of confirming that something within the photon moves in a spiral, as I had said.”

I go on to provide anecdotal evidence, including miraculous healing, linking light to the nature of God, and to demonstrate a scientific explanation for “miraculous” healing in further explaining the above experiments as follows:

“And he (Mike Emery) had direct experience of cures that are now being offered in which tissue regeneration is achieved using light and other “waves”. And, of course, this tied in with the Russian work with laser light and DNA, and with what Kozyrev had deduced. Mike provided masses of information on all this, including accounts and photographs of equipment and patients. This included cures for cancer, and I can back that up from other sources. One such source (here) includes:

“Whereas western science uses complicated bio chemical processes to cut and paste DNA triplets in the DNA molecule, Russian scientists use modulated laser light to do exactly the same thing. The Russians have proven to be very successful in repairing damaged DNA material in vivo! Laser light therapies based on Garjajev’s findings are already applied in some European academic hospitals with success on various sorts of skin cancer. The cancer is cured without any remaining scars.”

Dr. Peter Gariaev (or Pjotr Garjajev) was the leader of a group of Russian scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences, formed to study the complete human genome in 1990. The Russian research was taking a more open-minded view than western scientists. The research team included biophysicists, molecular biologists, embryologists and even linguistic experts. Their research revealed that the supposed junk DNA that has been completely neglected and forgotten by western mainstream science, was no redundant leftover of evolution at all. Linguistic studies revealed that the sequencing follows the rules of some basic syntax. It showed that the codons actually form words and sentences just like our ordinary human language follows grammar rules.”

So, although the arogance of both scientists and theologians will cause most to hate the idea (which is where Preston is right), science now actually provides evidence to suggest that everything, even including the very nature of God and “miracles”, can be explained by the incredibly simple mechanism that I have identified, that everything follows a curved path as it spins.

Robert F. Beck

From Les Fisher:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): “To be com­pat­ible, sci­ence and re­li­gion need to stick to their own ter­ri­to­ries, their own ex­planatory space,” Pres­ton sug­gested. But >“re­li­gion and sci­ence have nev­er been able to do that, so to me this sug­gests that the de­bate is go­ing to go on. It’s nev­er go­ing to be set­tled.” This is a chicken/egg situation but change will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary (I hope).

As science is based upon the personal experience of the observer and that observer must use his own education (formal or not) and experience to interpret it. All good scientists must virtually base their concepts on first principles. In the case of the formal religions the observer does not observe he is brainwashed by others to accept the concepts which he likes the best. In this way religion in general has been hijacked by well meaning erudite individuals (some in good faith - others for power & wealth). In this way the formal religions are “Faiths” and are essentially superstition and folk law.

The result can be, as in the Christian reformation, attempts by the hierarchy to achieve domination of all.

The break down of the church of Rome by the formation of other “faiths” was the result and no one Christian group dominates.

Is the Moslem movement going through such a phase.

I am ex Indian Army and have worked in Malaysia and have been friends with many Muslims.

I noted in Malaysia an attempt by some mullahs to take over the government which probably does not succeed as Muslims do not have a majority. Similar ideas I believe prevail in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Is the Muslim religion going through a similar change to that made by the Christians a few hundred years ago. Can the more radical groups suppress the moderates? I believe that the gap between science and religion will be closed only when the superstition element is removed.

Perhaps one concept that needs attention and that we must realise that god did not make man in his own image - Man made god in his image.

Might I suggest that open minded people take a look at the Freemason concept. (freemasonry is not a religion - you can belong to any faith) It is in effect algebraic - Let god = “x” The volume of the sacred law does not have to a bible.

Here all religions can come together using fundamental and allegory rather than dogma.

You do not need to become a freemason to do this, just have the open mental attitude.

Scientifically trained persons can contribute by getting the superstition aspects exposed for what they are and make religion more democratic.

From J.J. Gerritse:

Re: Distant moons may have liquid oceans (Dec. 10): Tidal waves are not “re­sult­ing from the mo­tions of moons with re­spect to their host plan­ets”, but from the axial rotation of the moon (and the planet itself). In fact, the tidal wave has a fixed position relative to the connecting line, and the planet rotates under it.

Otherwise, the tides on earth would have a monthly, rather than a daily period.

J.J. Gerritse
Mühlenstraße 11
D-47546 Kalkar-Wissel

From Kevin McCready:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): Preston doesn’t seem to understand science. Science has the tools to analyze religious beliefs. Religion does not. To say they should each stick to their own is silly. Bet you as a christian website won't publish this.

Kevin McCready

(Editors’ note: If we are a Christian website, it’s news to us.)

From Carol Harrison:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): my belief is that our world began with molecular structures and evolved from there over a period of billions of years. God is a human-made term, gender-neutral but given a gender. The earth was no more ‘created’ in seven days than god is real, or leprechauns, elves, the tooth fairy. It’s all folklore and the original Romans were a very suspicious group of people who believed that gods and goddesses controlled life.

That explains some of the cliches used today by people, christians, who are equally as suspicious.

From George Dawson:

Re: God and science not an easy mix for many (Dec. 15): it is Religion and THEORY Preston and others are considering, and not Religion and Science.

‘Preston said she examined the question because if science and religion “are both ultimate explanations, at some point they have to conflict with each another because they can’t possibly both explain everything. ”‘ Religion requires faith in an unknowable answer, whereas science requires universally observable facts. Preston is correlating science with theory, which is a logical error.

Sensationalist reporting often takes on the garb of science in an effort to substantiate itself, and so often jumps to the conclusion of causality when there is in fact none. Uadulterated science does not jump to conclusions. It relies on peer review and experimentation to keep separate theory from established fact, no matter how tempting it might be to jump to a conclusion of causality. Evolution is a theory. Big bang is a theory. Neither is science. Both attempt to explain scientific findings. And, generally, biologists “believe” in Evolution, not as a cause, but as a possible explanation for the evidence which everybody can objectively observe. True evolutionists never imply intention to evolution. It is presumed random, and what works, survives.

Is that to say that anything not (currently) explained by science is supported only by ‘magical thinking’? All peoples throughout known time have engaged in magical thinking. It is natural to attribute a cause to an event. And social acceptance generally seals the deal, protecting an initial conjecture from any and all subsequent debate or even questioning. Science holds all conjecture as questionable - even so called scientific conjecture. So I can still be within the realm of empirical thinking and argue against the big bang - because the evidence used to support this theory is based solely on conjecture. We presume that red shifts mean this, or that comparative color shifts at different distances mean that, when in fact, we do not know these things to be true. No one has ever followed a photon to see if a phase shift might occur naturally over a vast period of time, like 10 billion years. So, much of what passes as science in the popular media is in fact nothing more than sensationalistic reporting, and not actual comparative stark observation, which tends to be boring.

Lots of people have suffered emotional “imbalance” and yet not suffered the calamities of the usual suspects of disease. And conversely, lots of people have suffered calamities generally attributed to spiritual imbalance, but they have not had the spiritual imbalance. There! Now if you can prove these two statements false, then you have science.

From Sharon Ellis:

Re: Is global warming preventing an Ice Age? (Dec. 17): In my opinion Global Warming is hastening an Ice Age not preventing it.

This warming is temporary. Once enough fresh water has melted from the North and particularly the South Pole (because it is larger) it will stop the North Atlantic Heat Pump from functioning. Fresh water is lighter than salt water so it cannot sink to the bottom and make its way back to the Equator to be warmed. This means that warm water that normally flows from the Equator, north, will no longer flow. When this happens the weather patterns will change and an ice age will begin.

It is pointless to say that we can slow green house emissions by the year 2020 for example. By then we will be in an ice age and to believe otherwise is naive.

Sharon Ellis

December 16, 2008

From Sylvia María Valls:

Re: Poverty may reduce kids’ brain function (Dec. 6): There are too many things left loose in this article... It is obvious that the poor, especially in cities, are bound to be depressed and that depression causes lower intelligence activity. I would be interested in finding out more about the relationship between sufficient protein intake and lower intellectual activity. Hitler was not exactly stupid (or in some ways he was not dumb) and he was a vegetarian... Are the poor poor because they are depressed, or depressed because they are poor, or both... Or what came before, the chicken or the egg?

From Laura Brose:

Re: Poverty may reduce kids’ brain function (Dec. 6): I believe it. I spent elementary school and part of intermediate school in special ed, and many of the so-called “learning disabilities” with which my classmates were labeled could be traced back to poor nutrition, in addition to culturally-deprived home and/or institutional environments (it was a lot more common for “special needs kids” to have spent time in institutions or at home with no formal schooling back then, federal special education legislation having just been passed a few years before I entered special education). It was also common to blame learning disabilities and hyperactivity on head injuries back then (the jury was still out on whether things like dyslexia and ADHD were hereditary or acquired) and misadventures which led to head injuries seemed to be more common among the lower socio-economic classes.

The more time I actually spent in special education, the less I ended up believeing in learning disabilities! In fact, I became convinced that learning disabilities were a socially-created condition, and the special ed system was an elaborate means of creating and enforcing a modern day caste system: providing children who were academically behind and belonged to the lower classes with a separate sub-standard education in an effort to prevent social and economic mobility from occurring. I never saw a rich kid in special ed. In fact, I did not believe that rich people could _get_ things like dyslexia or Down’s Syndrome until W. Bush became president.

From John Jones:

Re: Brain drugs for healthy people OK: scientists (Dec. 7): The sort of individuals who would be convinced into getting their brains ‘boosted’ on the basis of any simplistic ‘safe-drug’ promo of the clinic and its industry would also seem to display a gullibility that no drug could put right. That gullibility is aside from the individual’s complicity in the erosion of individual judgement and social autonomy that would follow in allowing industry to choose for the individual what the individual could not legally choose for himself.

But the question is, is not whether our brain is boosted or not, but why we would think to find happiness in finding it ‘boosted’; and why, we must presume, we would want to seek ultimate achievement through a total brain frenzy. Which means that there must be a lot of people in that conference who aren’t happy or fulfilled, in one way or another, with who they are and the people they work for.

John Jones
Cardiff, UK

From Elise Wade:

Re: Brain drugs for healthy people OK: scientists (Dec. 7): When I first started reading this article, I thought it was a parody. Then I realized it was a serious suggestion. Since these very “smart” guys haven’t figured it out, here are three big problems with this idea:

1. What do you mean subtle pressure? I am well familiar with the pressure involved in academics, and I can assure you there will be absolutely NOTHING subtle about this pressure. Unless you have a boat-load of money, private colleges are way too expensive without a scholarship -- and most scholarships are awarded today on the basis of academic success. And even public colleges are getting too expensive for many qualified students. If these drugs become legal -- even encouraged, an average, but hard-working student can pretty much kiss that academic scholarship goodbye unless they take the drugs. That will, inevitably spill over into certain professions as well. Want that plum job? You take the drug. If you don’t desperate would be H1B and outsourcers will. (And they will pay less for it too. )

2. Not every one can tolerate these drugs. Over time, they are less effective. They can have odd side effects like causing you to bite your tongue, or have odd facial ticks. The up and down of taking stimulants can trigger clinical depression in otherwise healthy people. (Oooh the drug companies will LOVE that!) Most people “crash” when the drug wears off; that is most unpleasant. And, these drugs are addictive -- you cannot stop taking them without withdrawal. Withdrawal is way worse in some that others. Read any website for ADHD treatments -- that isn’t sponsored by a drug company -- and you will find out just how bad these drugs are for some folks. We don’t have to study this; we already know this.

3. It’s an inappropriate use of healthcare dollars even if it were safe to do this on a large scale. We don’t vaccinate all of our kids, screen for cancer and follow up with early treatment, or even mangage chronic dieases like diabeties and heart disease very well. Now we want to take more money for people who do not need treatment? Or, rather, they won’t need treatment until they start taking these drugs.

These guys just think it would be cool to pop pills that would make them “smarter”. I’m sure they think making themselves and others “smarter” is really very important. So much more important than so many other basic things that will be slighted for this hair-brained plan. If these guys were actually really smart in a way that matters, they wouldn’t even suggest such a travesty.

From Jennifer Hudson-Taylor:

Re: How unusual cells may hold key to HIV control (Dec. 4): Timely information considering 1 December 2008 was World Aids Day and the 20th Anniversary. I still have hope that we can discover more and help people who are infected with HIV.

From Sharon Ellis:

Re: Oceans acidifying much faster than was thought: study (Nov. 26): The acidic oceans will also have a domino effect on all life, beginning with the plankton, coral reefs and working its insidious way up the food chain until all life that exists now will be threatened.

This problem is extremely serious and if left unresolved it may be the demise of us all.

Sharon Ellis

From Sharon Ellis:

Re: Did a modern-day scourge save ancient Earth? (Nov. 30): I believe that the Snowball Earth Theory cannot logically have occurred because everything on Earth would have become extinct and our species and others would not exist today.

Sharon Ellis

From Robert H. Galloway:

Re: Did a modern-day scourge save ancient Earth? (Nov. 30): Such information should give practitioners of true science a pause. I look at the information given for the current man-caused global warming theory and wonder. If this is incorrect, how much needless human misery will be produced by the policies proposed? How sure are we that the theories hold up? Many of the proposals for living a “Carbon Neutral” life are the equivalent of moving back to the cave. Nuclear doesn’t contribute to carbon. Why are global warming people so slow to embrace nuclear? I’d live inside a nuclear plant before I’d give up air conditioning in the US midwest. If that would shorten my live, so be it. I doubt that is would but if it did? So what? Short period of relative comfort versus an extended period (not all that much longer in the greater scheme of things) of misery. You pays your money and you makes your choice. I’d by the shorter life and technological comfort. But, I don’t believe that’s the choice. But, if it were, I’d still go for obtaining energy for physical comfort and damn the rest.

From Henry-Arthur:

Re: Report: cells “from space” have unusual makeup (Sept. 8, 2008): This is a fascinating topic and it annoys me that there is such a debate on if they are terrestrial or not. We hav no frame of reference for other worldy laws so proving they are aliens is far beside the point. The topic we really need to research is the impact of these things on our environment, since neary 50 TONS fell to earth, and they are virtually indestructable means that the microbes are in the ppl of kerala’s water supply. Why haven’t we looked into that? Scientists nowadys are not pioneers they are worse then religious zealots. They only study that which they already know and refuse to use their creativity to force them to move forward.

From Brett Hilyer:

Re: “Other half” of Darwin’s theory passes test (Oct. 13): your author included this line in the third paragraph: “In gen­er­al, ev­o­lu­tion­ary the­o­ry holds that spe­cies grad­u­ally change be­cause of cer­tain mu­ta­tions that spread through their po­p­u­la­tions. These mu­ta­tions spread if, and only if, they’re ben­e­fi­cial—so that in­di­vid­u­als pos­sess­ing them sur­vive long­er, re­pro­duce more or both.”

This last part of the statement is incorrect, and contrary to Darwinian evolution. Mutations may spread if, and only if, their effects are beneficial to the replication of those mutated genes. A gene that helps an individual survive longer may not spread, if it does not also increases that individual’s, or a relative’s ability to reproduce more. Reproduction is the currency of natural selection, and given a choice between surviving and reproducing, an organism will always choose the latter. A more correct phrasing would be: “These mutations spread if, and only if, they’re beneficial—so that individuals possess ing them survive longer in order to reproduce more.” The “both” is simply incorrect.

Secondarily, this statement contradicts the well-established theory of kin selection in evolutionary biology. A mutate allele might decrease an individual’s ability to reproduce, in favor of an altruistic behavior toward close kin. Well-documented examples of kin selection include social insect species, naked mole rats and any species with a high degree of parental investment or familial care.

I don’t mean to nitpick, but I don’t consider this a mere arcane technicality. I study the philosophy of evolutionary biology as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, and I believe there is general lack of understanding of Darwin’s theory by the lay-public; I am concerned that articles like this are a part of the problem. If you are a publication of scientific integrity, as your advertising motif suggests, I think it would be prudent to publish a retraction and restatement of the aforementioned paragraph, as a service to your readers.

When one considers frightening statistics such as that half of this nation believes in a literal creation of man thousands of years ago, or that three candidates for the GOP primary in 2008 do not accept a century and a half of biological science, the threat of mass ignorance is a severe one. Unfortunately, science reporting in this country is sloppy, sexed-up drivel, epitomized by a recent Yahoo News headline: “Studies show dogs have sense of fairness.” Please.

Stand above the rabble, and do the right thing.

(Editors’ note: Definitions of evolution vary slightly among textbooks, but almost always convey the same basic idea. Discover Biology, Third Ed., by Michael L. Cain et al. (W. W. Norton & Co., 2006) offers the following description: “Each new generation of a species has the potential to introduce change to certain characteristics possessed by members of the group. If such a change imparts a survival or reproductive advantage to individuals possessing the new characteristic, it can be called an adaptation. Evolution occurs when adaptations accumulate over time and change the characteristic(s) that define the species.”

We asked the scientists who authored this study to check the accuracy of our article, and they did not dispute the statements at issue.)