help a fellow hang himself

A funny side-effect of PZ Myers “An ontogeny of toilet drain behavior” was to bring Fleury’s theory within the range of one of the famous crackpot detectors, Suzan Mazur.

This is a completely different dimension from my favorite local (French) crackpot detector, Jean Staune, the very anti-Darwin Secratary General of the Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris, an association heavily financed by the John Templeton Foundation. Whatever Jean likes (in science) becomes immediately suspicious and it was Jean who introduced Fleury in a public forum, where we first meet.

12FC4058-2D15-48EC-8A73-F98A45BA7C5E.jpgNow, Suzan Mazur, spotted Fleury, and he grabbed the opportunity to explain himself to a larger audience. That’s great, the visibility is much wider then an isolated blogger in France could expect trying to debunk Fleury’s theory.

As I acknowledged, I’m the one who asked PZ Myers’ opinion on Fleury’s paper. The choice of the science blogger to contact at first was easy to make. PZ is an embryologist, have a particular interest for integration of developmental and evolutionary biology, he is a longtime fan of d’Arcy Thompson, is rather outspoken, it’s difficult to influence him, and he have a large audience with a fair proportion of scientists who dare speak their minds in the comments.

I was delighted with PZ’s conclusions which match mines closely, and as a bonus Fleury abundantly commented making his point of view much clearer then in his paper, so people know better where he stands.

In the interview Suzan Mazur stupidly try to make her point that evolutionary biologists, biologists in general, PZ in particular, are worried about some paradigm shift. Paradigms shifts may be a common topic of interest of crackpot detectors and crackpots. PZ took care of that part of the interview.

Fleury’s opinion about PZ is a complex subject:

  • On the one hand he’s trying to promote good science and bring back people who are lost in creationism1.
  • He writes reviews that are not that bad
  • Suzan Mazur: How have your colleagues at CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) responded to his attack? – Vincent Fleury: Who cares? The few who know of him in France understand it’s rubbish.
  • and we may be certain that if Fleury had to pick a babysitter, PZ would be excluded.

    Summarizing: he promotes good science, with reviews which are OK, except it’s rubbish, and he isn’t trustworthy. Shifting position during a single interview! Who’s the guy with the weird behavior here?

    Let’s go for the more scary thingies:

  • Now we know that French scientists are much more philosophical then their fellows anglo-saxons, seeking deep concepts. At least some of them. Others prefer being more scientific. No chauvinism involved here. Not much of it. Just a huge amount.
  • We, poor biologist are exhausted and don’t understand what we are doing! Be kind with us.
  • When one gives clearly his opinion [Swirl this one right down the drain, please. – Down the drain gone Fleury’s theory.] he is not sincere! Come again? [WTF?!]
  • Invisible, hypothetical vortices, are still supposed to produce two bumps in the hip region, but they are invisible just for embryologists; some day Fleury would have to show them so one could test if they are really related with the hindlimbs.
  • Darwin once more misrepresented, for “archetype” and for “archetype animals”2. Fleury excels in partial reading (and reaching wrong conclusions thereof), misreporting and exegetics and Mazur certainly don’t know what he is talking about, so she doesn’t ask for clarifications.
  • Flery can make an effort to be consensual in front of fellow crackpot theories, so maybe there is some torus inside the oocyte, Stuart Pivar will be happy to know that; there is some collaboration possible, Mazur could convert herself to a crackpot matchmaker? And Lima-de-Faria could join for a threesome. Except they are not French, so it’s no quite sure they will get those deep concepts.

    I would like to thank Suzan Mazur for her excellent idea to interview Fleury, another way to help a fellow hang himself. And Fleury for accepting; quite difficult to translate everything he said in the french press and radio, but now we have an english version of the Big Picture.

    1. For Fleury “creationism” is a term restricted to YECreationism.

    It may be asked how far I extend the doctrine of the modification of species. The question is difficult to answer, because the more distinct the forms are which we may consider, by so much the arguments fall away in force. But some arguments of the greatest weight extend very far. All the members of whole classes can be connected together by chains of affinities, and all can be classified on the same principle, in groups subordinate to groups. Fossil remains sometimes tend to fill up very wide intervals between existing orders. Organs in a rudimentary condition plainly show that an early progenitor had the organ in a fully developed state; and this in some instances necessarily implies an enormous amount of modification in the descendants. Throughout whole classes various structures are formed on the same pattern, and at an embryonic age the species closely resemble each other. Therefore I cannot doubt that the theory of descent with modification embraces all the members of the same class. I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number.

    Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide. Nevertheless all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their germinal vesicles, their cellular structure, and their laws of growth and reproduction. We see this even in so trifling a circumstance as that the same poison often similarly affects plants and animals; or that the poison secreted by the gall-fly produces monstrous growths on the wild rose or oak-tree. Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.

    (Charles Darwin, 1959)

  • 19 Responses

    1. to the ” isolated blogger ” : the word paradigm shift appears explicitely in the website of the CNRS, about the determination of plant morphogenesis by mechanical fields, and related work along such lines:

      best wishes, “isolated blogger”‘

    2. Once I have finished with cteappv Fleury I’ll certainly take a look at that.
      Don’t loose time with other peoples work, it doesn’t validate your.

      Concentrate to explain your bugs, if possible. Plenty of them.

    3. not only you have already sunk completely my poor old chap, but you have carried Dr Myers in your sinking.

      Part of the comment erased for non observance of the blog’s rules: “the blog’s language is english ; comments in any other language will be discarded” – “comments out of focus (say, regarding my private life) will be discarded”

    4. Comment erased for non observance of the blog’s rules: “the blog’s language is english ; comments in any other language will be discarded”

    5. You do not understand science M. Vekris
      it took you 2 years to just see that there is a flow forming around the presumptive navel a hyperbolic flow with streamlines oriented caudally, and streamlines oriented rostrally. Had I only seen that, modeled it, and dragged the attention towards this, that would suffice to justify my entire scientific work, and all your comments against me are, in view of that, compeltely mediocre and unfair.

      that shakes the entire picture of body development. Instead of understanding this you keep on defamating and trying to introduce archane subtleties about the nature of the flow etc.

      You sent the paper to Dr Myers, to discover what : Dr Myers is completely unaware of the existence of vortices in embryo development. How ridicule. I cannot believe he is a scientist. Oh dear, and he holds a blog?, and pontifies all the time? How ridicule. How can he dare speak of science and comment papers?

      At least you have learnt, thanks to me, that these vortices existed,and you know a bit more than him : see, I am ready to make a compliment, you need not sent the paper to Myers, you know more of the topic than him.

      You are not doing science here. If you were, you would do this from your lab, where you would immediately be stopped. Everything I talk about is published in articles, and reproduced on my personal university website, and nobody around me complains. I have the support of the CNRS, as you know from the lawyers.

      Please sent the comments to EPJ, and I will correct the errors, there are certainly a few.

      The habilis-erectus distinction for what I see is ridiculous considering what is discussed

      Everything you say around the 2 or 4 vortices is rubbish

      Evrything you say about the lateral plate is rubbish, and a fruit of your hate, and Myers, who says the same thing is just an ignorant.

      A few references have skipped during the editorial process due to length of the paper, fair enough


      The segmentation thing, which is very small in my paper, is certainly not invalidated, I was just raising a concern about the discrepancies in the literature.

      I disagree with what you say about Darwin.

      etc. etc.

      Your aim, here is not to discuss, it is to set an unfair trial, entirely of your own by the way, as you state yourself, you are isolated, and even lonely. These manners are just yours, scientists do not do that, and when they do, like Myers and you, they just sink, as they show how little they know of the true, leading edge science.

    6. so, I am right? You keep on not seeing these flows as important? Youd had not seen them before at all, before jumping on me; Wetzel did not see the caudal flow, the contemporary researchers did not see them, nor model them correctly, and despite all my weaknesses in biology, I was able to see that and model it correctly?

      How cool.

      So you see, a man’s errors are his portals of discovery (James Joyce).

      so cool.

    7. oh a simple example about the word “arbitrary”, it is a problem of double translation, the original text writes twice “to any extent”

    8. ahem :

      Of or belonging to the Archetype, or ideal primitive form upon which all the beings of a group seem to be organised.

      Origin of species, glossary

    9. that can continue for ever you know “ideal primitive form” “general pattern”, that is what we are dealing with, and I can model it. So cool.
      And as stated (somewhere) by Darwwin, the archetype has a complete plan, and the other animals are formed by stretching the limbs to “any extent”, which is synonymous of “to an arbitrary length”

      give us the statistics of visit of this very site, if it is so interesting.

      Your remark about the mesodermal cells is so ridiculous : you are already talking about the cells flowing away, the discrepancy between the flows I show in the paper and the true “away” flow is small and related to the fact that cells also flow through the U turn of the primitve streak, it is very simple to add that, but you do not master these things. You prefer to ironize and track unsignificant errors, without seeing the problem in depth; my model is ok for that too, do not worry. The body of the embryo forms from cells coming in. You really do not understand anything to the formation of tetrapods.

      Please send comments along these lines to EPJ, do not forget. Make my day.

    10. Comment erased for non observance of the blog’s rules: “the blog’s language is english ; comments in any other language will be discarded”

    11. you are pathetic, Vekris. You should stop;

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