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On Graur the hat burns

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июл. 16, 2016 | 09:44 pm

Eran Elhaik, a highly controversial geneticist from UK, has published two papers trying to prove the Khazar hypothesis of Ashkenazi ancestry, now abandoned by almost all historians (Stampfer S. 2013. Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism? Jewish Social Studies; https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Khazar_hypothesis_of_Ashkenazi_a…). Both papers are essentially a combination of _really shoddy_ genetics, pseudo-historical and pseudo-linguistic wild speculations. Both papers have been debunked by geneticists and linguists/historians:

Elhaik’s paper 1 (2013): http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/1/61.full.pdf+html
Critique (only most important links):
(critique by geneticists) https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi…
http://www.languagesoftheworld.info/…/khazarian-hypothesis-…
https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/…/8…/are-we-all-khazars-now/

Elhaik’s paper 2 (2016): http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/1132.full.pdf+html
Critique:
(our paper) http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/…/07/05/gbe.evw162.full.pdf+h…
http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/6/1948.full.pdf+html
http://www.languagesoftheworld.info/…/yiddish-traced-turkey…
http://www.languagesoftheworld.info/…/turkey-shmurkey-respo…

Any careful reader would notice that both papers by Elhaik have seen no peer review in any discipline, or just the most friendly one. Indeed, Elhaik had at some point posted reviews of the first paper at his website (the reviews are no longer online). I quote Shaul Stampfer, a scholar in Jewish history:

“The first referee … remarked only - and inaccurately - that Elhaik “has been more thorough than most (if not all) previous studies on the issue of Jewish ancestry.”

The second referee recommended that M.I. Artamonov and his book History of the Khazars and L.N. Gumilev’s The Rhythms of Eurasia should be cited. These two books (both in Russian) are exceedingly odd recommendations. … Gumilev’s book is discussed in Vadim Rossman’s Russian Intellectual Antisemitism in the Post-Communist Era under the rubric “Antisemitism in Eurasian Historiography.” It is a good example of contemporary Russian populist nationalism, but it is less than useful for unbiased research. …

Judging by the comments, neither referee seems to have been very familiar with the literature on genetics of the Jews or the issue of the genetic background of Ashkenazi Jews. The referees did not compare Elhaik’s thesis to the findings of other researchers, nor did they seem to notice the internal problems raised here. They certainly did not ask about the size of the data set. In general, their comments tended to focus on style and presentation rather than technical details or the overall cogency of the argument.”
https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/…/8…/are-we-all-khazars-now/


It seems, we are dealing here with friendly reviewers picked by the author. The suggestion to cite Gumilev is telling… No unbiased expert in genetics or in Jewish history has been consulted. The quality of the second paper of 2016 is no better, actually it is even worse. Remarkably, both papers were published in a molecular biology/genomics journal Genome Biology and Evolution (GBE, IF 4). By the way, the journal publishes few interdisciplinary papers.

Now I’d like to draw your attention to a string of coincidences:
1) Dan Graur, a well-known and respected geneticist, blogger (http://judgestarling.tumblr.com/), debunker of bad science and useless megaprojects, has been an editor of GBE since 2013 at least: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_jo…/…/editorial_board.html
2) Dan Graur was a PhD supervisor of Eran Elhaik
3) Dan Graur and Eran Elhaik have co-authored 21 papers, quite a few of them criticising other works: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
4) Graur and Elhaik have published a response to Mendez et al. 2013 in co-authorship with Anatoly Klyosov, a notable Russian pseudo-geneticist and outspoken “patriot of Russia”:
http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/…/n9/pdf/ejhg2013303a.pdf
http://trv-science.ru/2015/01/13/dnk-demagogiya-kljosova/
The authors of the original paper, Mendez et al., have found serious flaws in Elhaik’s, Graur’s, and Klyosov’s response: http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/…/n5/pdf/ejhg2014148a.pdf

I conclude that Dan Graur has probably handled both Elhaik’s papers in GBE, and ensured that they get the most friendly treatment possible. In this way he has likely contributed to the spread of outright pseudo-science that tries to fit perverted genetics with fringe theories in linguistics and history. Both papers by Elhaik have created an uproar among professional linguists and historians (see some links above).

Most remarkably, Dan Graur has a reputation of a debunker of bad science… Moreover, in one of his peer-reviewed papers he has accused an Italian scientist of dishonest editorial practice, i.e. pushing his own shoddy papers: http://judgestarling.tumblr.com/…/isochores-hats-that-burn-…

Graur says that the hat burns on the thief, and I would say that the hat burns on him!

Sorry for a long text and please spread the word!

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Comments {4}

Рыжебород

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from: rigeborod
date: июл. 16, 2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
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Это ты к чему? :)

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Старый Молекулярщик

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from: molekularshik
date: июл. 16, 2016 06:48 pm (UTC)
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Ну это к нашим внутринаучным разборкам про нечистых на руку редакторов в образе яростных борцов с лженаукой.

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Аня

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from: lafenmi
date: июл. 16, 2016 07:14 pm (UTC)
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вот-вот, что именно внутренние разборки

ты уверен, что это будет ещё кому-нибудь интересно, если просишь перепосты?

Edited at 2016-07-17 01:06 (UTC)

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Маш(а)

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from: vigna
date: июл. 17, 2016 09:44 am (UTC)
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В ЖЖ - нет тем более что ЖЖ умер, а вот в ФБ уже бурное обсуждение завязалось :)

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