Monday, September 19, 2016

More Junk Science From Live Science

Owen Jarus and Live Science are at it again.  Last time it was Egypt.  Now it is Turkey.  This time the trade data allegedly shows an increase in the exports of gold coins from Turkey that supposedly supports the proposition that they are being looted in Syria and shipped to the US from Turkey.

As I previously tried to explain to Mr. Jarus with regard to his last article, there is a major problem with his methodology.  Such trade data relates to a "country of origin" of Turkey, which typically means place of manufacture NOT PLACE OF EXPORT.  The data also captures antique gold coins, which means any gold coins over 100 years old-- not just ancient gold coins that might be "looted."

It's telling that Jarus relies on archaeologists associated with ASOR (a group that has received over $1 million in State Department largess to document looting by ISIS) rather than trade experts.  (At least Dr. Al-Azm allows for the fact that the data is probably capturing values for Ottoman era coins that have been used to store wealth in the area over generations.)

In any event, if the big numbers cited are meant to impress, they need to be qualified to show what the trade data actually captures.  If there is no such effort, the whole enterprise must be viewed as no more than an effort to mislead, which, of course, is the last thing that either Live Science or ASOR for that matter should want.

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