Today we witnessed yet another clash between science and religion. A scientific study on the human hand has multiple references to the Creator, which has drawn the critics of various scientists. The problem seems not to be the mention of God, but the fact that the paper was published in the PLOS ONE journal.
Conducted by Cai-Hua Xiong from the University of Science and Technology Huazhong from Wuhan, China, the study documents the human hand and is titled “Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living”. All was well until a reader noticed that Cai-Hua Xiong and the rest of his team credit the Creator multiple times for the mechanisms and design of the human hand.
However, the problem does not lie in the religion or beliefs of the scientists, but in the fact that they mixed science and faith in their paper. Nowadays, even scientists who are religious avoid introducing divine entities for explaining physical phenomena. The references were first observed by James McInerney from University of Manchester, who was quick to express his displeasure on Twitter.
In more detail, the authors make reference to God three times in their paper, but also boldly declare that the human hand is superior to the ones of animals. This has attracted a lot of negative comments, especially on social media.
As a result, PLOS ONE decided to pull the article, declaring that the peer review process was not as thorough as planned. The journal is free for everyone to access, as opposed to the Science or Nature journals. This aspect has also been criticized by many as making the journal irrelevant.
The PLOS Biology advisory board chair Jonathan Eisen has dispersed rumors that the content was not reviewed before being posted online. He also added that PLOS ONE should better manage the situation if they want to prove the positive aspects of open-access journals.
According to a 2012 report on the number of studies that have been retracted by PLOS ONE, their rate increased from the 1980s to the 2000s. The last decade has seen a rise of 19 percent, and it appears that the most retractions occurred in Chinese authors.
In the end, the only reasonable way such cases can be managed is by offering more transparency for all submissions on PLOS ONE. Furthermore, the policy must be made public so all user can understand and credit the articles written in the journal.
Image Source: Essential Health
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