The Goodwins

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Timothy Trower

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From a post of mine of another thread, dated June 12 of this year. (The Hildur referred to is Hildur Panula-Heinonen.)

"It is really a shame that incomplete DNA tests were used to seemingly rush an identity of the Unknown Child. Painstaking as it may be to follow all protocols correctly, you must do so to avoid a false match.

"The family of Eino Panula was given reason -- strong reason -- to believe that young Eino was the body in the grave of the Unknown Child. With all of the publicity and attention given this announcement; with family members attending the grave site for a memorial; with closure being given that family for the loss of that little one -- I can only shake my head that anyone allowed this all to happen without checking both DNA markers.

"Now, we have complete test results that show that no, the body is not that of Eino -- oh, sorry, Panula family -- you went through all of that for nothing -- but that of Sidney Goodwin, a child closer in age to what the coroner estimated, and a complete match for the completed DNA testing.

"I don't blame Hildur for being upset about the sudden change in the story. I'd be as mad as h--- myself if a team of researchers had lead me down the same path that the Panula family has been forced to trod.

"I also don't blame Hildur for not wanting to believe that the Unknown Child isn't her relative, but that of another family. Again, she was told by an authority figure that the child's body was that of Eino, and was no doubt shown the very evidence that supported the claim. Now, that very foundation has been cruelly yanked from beneath her and her family -- the science lied!" (My correction -- it was properly pointed out that the science didn't lie, but that the scientists did.)

"The shoes, even if they still had salt incrusted on them, would not have any bearing on the identity of the Unknown Child because the DNA testing is not tied to the shoes, but to the genetic information found in the remains of the child. Allowing the shoes to become supporting evidence was wrong no matter how you slice it. Add to this the simple fact that the shoes were never exposed to salt water, and you have to come to one of two conclusions: a) the body of the Unknown Child was dumped into the ocean head first and continued to float that way with the feet in the air until recovered or b) they have no connection with any Titanic victim.

"The villain in this unfortunate case of mistaken identity is anyone who rushed this identity without taking the time to run the second set of DNA testing.

"Hildur, I am sorry that this has become an issue, and really regret that you, and your family, have been used as props in this case. Really, the shoes have no bearing on the identity of the Unknown Child. The DNA testing is the key, and I directly challenge Mr. Ruffman to immediately publish the complete story of the identity of Sidney Goodwin and the mis-identity of Eino Panula."

As we know now, it wasn't until April of this year that word leaked out about the mis-identification. E.M. Statler, founder and owner of the Hotels Statler Company was a master at good public relations. His philosophy was that if there was any news -- good or bad -- the company needed to be the one to release it, and then, no matter how odious, to answer questions about fires, deaths and other disastrous information that normally any other company or person would want to cover up to maintain a good facade for the public. Statler believed that in covering up negative information the company would only be hurt when the truth would eventually come out.

Ruffman and Parr seem destined to now suffer the fate of public disgrace and, indeed, maybe even the death of their professional careers -- because they rushed an identity.

Shoes that were never in salt water.

A family once again plunged into mourning.

A scientific team that botched simple DNA testing because of rash assumptions.

Wow. I'm so NOT impressed.
 

Mike Poirier

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Ah yes, quite similar to your posts on this thread. Well, you have yet to explain why Parr and Ruffman continued their experiments to find the real answer? Should they join the long list of researchers who have put information out there, that later proved to be wrong or in some instances fabricated or digitally altered? Maybe, we'll just have to see what Ruffman and Parr say and then we can decide.

Yes, 'leaked', is a big problem with the story. (ironic since it was a public announcement, not a private announcement) many posts were flying once the BTS convention was concluding, and most of it was rumor, innuendo, or just plain wrong. I think we discussed this before.
 
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Timothy Trower

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As an apologist for Ruffman and Parr, you should ask the following questions of them:

1) Who was responsible for calling attention to the incomplete state of the DNA testing, and at what point did Ruffman acknowledge these deficiencies and begin further testing?

2) How big of a factor in the rush to the false identity of the "Unknown Child" was the presence of a television production crew with a tight schedule?

3) Why was the Panula family not told of the reversal of the identity instead of having to find out about it through the ET message board?

4) Why does "Voyage" publicly castigate Phil Gowan for making the initial post on the false identity of the "Unknown Child" on the T-T message board but later in the same issue publicly acknowledge that he was right in the article that dealt with the false identity? (You cannot have it both ways and retain any shred of believability.)
 

Mike Poirier

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There you go again with those innuendos... You call me an apologist? How? I asked for people to wait UNTIL they speak... Then people can either accept their reasons or throw stones. If, Ruffman and Parr admit that they rushed to just get information out there, then I too will be upset that such a shoddy research route was taken. That is not an apologist, that is a realist... And it might surprise you to know my position on the original testing was negative. I did not like the idea or concept. But I came to realize, that it was the will of the families involved. You can't dispute that it was the families wishes to be involved. I am most amused how you side step my questions with questions. Based on what I know and what I do not know- here you go.

1. Was it Ruffman and Parr themselves? Do you know the answer? I suspect we won't know until Ruffman and Parr are ready, which hopefully will be soon.
2. Well, you can always call and email the production company? Tell them you are the official emissary of the Titanic community and you want answers!
happy.gif

3. According to Ruffman, he did inform members of the Panula family. Read my post above from a few days before. Unfortunately, the member on this board was not informed, but according to Ruffman he did let other family members know. It is a shame they had to find out via the board. Should he call everyone in the world with the last name and inform them of his latest findings?
4. No one castigated Phil Gowan for making an annoucement that the child was in fact Sidney Goodwin. What was pointed out was that the information being fed to the boards from you and various sources was incorrect as to how, when it happened. Along with various rumors of missing stones and all that.

I think it might be easier to stick with bare facts then adding in 'details' to make it more intereesting or make someone look 'in the know'.
 
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>>Ruffman and Parr seem destined to now suffer the fate of public disgrace and, indeed, maybe even the death of their professional careers -- because they rushed an identity. <<

Don't count on it, Tim. These are the same people who recognizing the problems, sought to do more in depth work with more exacting protocols to correct the record. If they had simply stuck to their story in the face of all evidence to the contrary, or if they had knowingly and deliberately falsified data...as was the case with the Korean scientist who claimed to have cloned a human being for the first time...your assertion would have some merit.

As it stands, the mea culpa and the corrections happened in the public eye, and if anything speak to the integrity of these two people. They could have tried to cover it up but they didn't.

>>Maybe, we'll just have to see what Ruffman and Parr say and then we can decide.<<

Which is an outstandingly good idea.

A measure of restraint in this thread would also be a good idea since it's going in the direction of name calling and personal attacks. Let's nip this in the bud before one of my colleagues or myself has to nip this whole thread in the bud.

I'm not asking anyone to agree, but lets at least keep it civil and on point.
 

Paul Lee

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While I admire Ruffman et al for having the guts to come forth and admit their mistake, science is done simply by peer review. Theres no alternative. If its not peer review, its simply hypothesis and theory. And a review would certainly have revealed the mistake not only in the overall methodology (reliance on orthodontology) but also in the use of such a small sample size (ie using the Panula and a few other families rather than much more more data). It is really as simple as that. That is the way science works.
 
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Timothy Trower

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Ruffman and Parr really had no choice but to come forth with the truth. How much better it would have been had they done so at the conclusion of the second round of DNA testing instead of "leaking" or "announcing" the news in Halifax this past April. As given in the example of the aforementioned E.M. Statler, the organization that willingly releases and holds back no information -- good, or bad -- is the organization that is trusted and admired.

On August 2, Michael Poirier wrote:

"There is no denying that blood samples provided by the Panula family matched the DNA extracted from the bone fragment. Yet, in Ruffman and Parr's continued research on the subject,the three teeth recovered from the shallower and drier grave of the 'Unknown Child' were examined by dental experts who recognized the presence of undergraded dentin which eventually led to a better mtDNA.

"The experts said that the teeth were from a very young child. And the mtDNA at that point matched the Panula child."

Yes, and the DNA samples also matched Sidney Goodwin. At this point the decision was made to go with the opinions of those experts who concluded that the teeth were those belonging to a one year old, and that the shoes also belonged to a one year old. (Oh, but the shoes were never in salt water. Please explain that to me.)

Whether or not Ruffman and Parr decided to continue the DNA testing on their own or were instead spurred on to complete the same at the urging of colleagues, their sloppy conclusions have now created the entire mess that they find themselves in.

Denise and Paul were very correct in asserting that this entire mess was created NOT because of flawed DNA testing, but because outside influences were relied on for an identification that turned out to be in error.

I totally agree with this FACT.

Now, what about those shoes, Mr. Poirier?
 

Mike Poirier

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Hmmm... You say, they had no choice? You make it seem as if someone knew a deep dark secret and was threatening to expose them... Let's put all the conspiracies and rumors aside please.

Making an announcement at a 'Titanic' convention for all to hear is not 'leaking' information. Considering that Ruffman said he had already talked with various members of the Goodwin and Panula families first, before making the announcement. If any leaking was done, it was by people anxious to get the info on the message boards, whether it was right or wrong.

I think the shoes are a very small part of the story, and had little to do with the decision making. Do you have an official statement that says, 'Well, DNA aside, it was the shoes that cinched it for us!' This is another answer from them that we will be looking for. Neither you, nor I have the right answer.

Well, Paul and Denise have the right to their opinions on the matter, however, since we do not know the FULL story, as Michael Standart noted, let's wait and see what happens.

You keep addressing me as an apologist. You must be skimming my posts as if you remember when the news first came out, I was not only surprised, but dismayed. Of course, once it was realized that we were only getting rumors of what was said at the convention, I have decided to see what the end result is. We do not have the end result.

The main question for me- that most seem to side-step is that why continue if no one would have questioned the initial results? Again, we will have to calmly wait and see. Have faith Tim, I'm sure the answers will come to us soon!
 

Mike Poirier

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Opinions aside, I'm willing to hear them out. As I said previously, if they say- 'Hey, we did rush to get it out there, and we should have done the second test.' Well, then they deserve everything the critics say they deserve.

I think it is the rush to judgement before the answers are finally given to us, that is disturbing, that and the half-truths that came out from the convention. Again, very disturbing, and quite similar to the topic at hand- not substantiating the info. So, let's just wait and see. Unless someone that does the type of DNA work that was used could help us... Anyone?
 
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Timothy Trower

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"You keep addressing me as an apologist."

Kindly read back through my posts and then explain that statement. I've made that mention one time.

Frankly, for someone who claims NOT to be an apologist for the disgraced team of Ruffman and company, you then are wasting a lot of time and effort in convincing the members of this board that that IS what you are.

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The initial DNA testing was done correctly. No one seems to be disputing that fact. What should have been done at that point was to immediately run the final DNA testing that was needed to conclusively prove one way or another that Goodwin, or Rice, or Panula, or Paulson or any other candidate was, indeed, the "Unknown Child".

This was not done. Ruffman instead decided to rely on the observations of dental and footwear experts who could be (and were) wrong in their assumptions. Thus, with the job only half done, the "identity" was announced with a flourish of media attention.

Why rely on the observations of any expert that can only provide pointers, when a second round of DNA testing would have made the entire point moot?

I've said, and firmly believe, that Ruffman rushed the identity. I've said, and firmly believe, that Ruffman was LATER PRODDED into resuming his testing. Time will tell if I am right, or wrong. But if I'm wrong, it won't be because of a pair of shoes that were never on the corpse of the "Unknown Child". And if I'm wrong, it won't be because incomplete teeth were labeled as being X days/weeks/months old. (Frankly, I've known children born with teeth, and others that were a good six months late getting teeth. How would Ruffman handle a case like that?)
 

Mike Poirier

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Now Tim, when you refer to someone as such, even once, and then imply it otherwise through tone, action and words, it seems like a dog with a bone in its mouth.

As I have said, I will reserve my judgement until we finally hear from them. Quite frankly, I will say I think it is more admirable to actually come forth with the new info, rather than sit on it, pretend the mistake will go away, and have friends say, 'Oh well, don't judge a man's research on one error.' Myself and others such as Jim Kalafus, when we make an error in research, we own up to it, and work on the next thing. If you read the Lest We Forget series, there is a section on amendments. And there will be one when part 3 is ready.

My time has not been wasted. I've been waiting for someone with a background in DNA to explain what could have happened... No takers yet. Also, it has not been a waste of time to also try and put to rest rumors and gossip that ran amok after the BTS convention. Especially when they are used to advance a theory or agenda.
 
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Timothy Trower

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The problem is that DNA testing cannot be "half done" and be correctly done.

If nothing else, then a person's pride in their work should be the determining factor in whether or not the work is done correctly.

In letterpress printing, I can start to set up a press and get the image on the paper so it is readable -- not good, not quality, just readable. The craftsman in me will push me along, spending time with makeready, bringing up the low spots so that they print correctly and with just a faint hint of impression, and lowering other areas that are hitting too hard so that the entire image is perfect. It is not unusal to spend more time making ready a job than it takes time to run it.

(The pressmen at Judd & Detweiler in Washington, D.C. used to spend an entire shift making ready a pressrun for a single color signature of the National Geographic. The next shift in would then start the run. That is how exacting letterpress printing can, and should, be.)

Point is, if a printer is willing to spend as much as eight hours on a single job before pulling a single impression on the pressrun, then how much more careful should you be with DNA? We then are not talking about magazines or books -- sometimes it comes down to a person's life! If you are going to conduct DNA testing, then you first have an obligation to do the testing correctly, and secondly, the craftsman in you should demand just as loudly that you do it correctly.

And that did not happen.

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If you, Mr. Poirier, claim to not be an apologist for Ruffman and company, remember: If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and has feathers like a duck -- it is a duck.
 

Mike Poirier

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There you go with those attacks, rumors and innuendos again.

You are quick to point out something has half-done, but you never seem have the answer as to why. Are you going to give Mike Standart's request any thought????
 

Jim Kalafus

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>That is a great way to look at it. That list, would amount to a very long list of rash decisions in research and I guess each would have its own thread of defenders and critics.

Yes, indeed. From the moment the "discovery" was recreated to add a nice dramatic moment to a commercial video, through this latest burst of flatus, much of what has been produced in the world of "Titanic" has been wanting on any number of levels. And, as is increasingly obvious, one-upmanship and the pleasure of going "nyah nyah nyah" has largely replaced both academic rigor and good taste.

>Ruffman and Parr seem destined to now suffer the fate of public disgrace and, indeed, maybe even the death of their professional careers -- because they rushed an identity.

Oh, PLEASE! We are talking about science, and not a bunch of elderly church ladies splitting into factions and shunning one another. They made some extremely questionable judgments and procedural errors. But, science allows for that. What ARE a career enders in that field are falsifying evidence (of yet, not proof that they did) or surpressing and/or destroying evidence that will refute the original premise- which they most assuredly have NOT done. Public disgrace? News flash- except for in Titanic (and liner) related forums it is already a forgotten story. The amusing mental image this rather over the top quote of yours produced (of the families moving in the dead of night and beginning life afresh with new identities in a place where their disgrace is unknown) almost negates the initial impression.


>4) Why does "Voyage" publicly castigate Phil Gowan for making the initial post on the false identity of the "Unknown Child" on the T-T message board but later in the same issue publicly acknowledge that he was right in the article that dealt with the false identity? (You cannot have it both ways and retain any shred of believability.)

Of course you can. The "morality" of an issue and its factuality are two entirely different things. For instance, in the case of Andrew Cunanan, (the spree killer who murdered Gianni Versace) it was morally reprehensible for the press to publicize a certain detail about Mr. Cunanan's flight that the police asked them to "sit on" (the result of which was the murder of an old man and, arguably, Mr. Versace as well) but that did not make the detail that was published untrue. And, before this goes off in a stupid direction, I am neither likening Mr. Gowan to Andrew Cunanan or implying that I find his actions in any way "immoral" or even "reprehensible." Hell, I'd have done the same thing..... so, for those at Voyage to take umbrage at the annoucement yet confirm that its contents were correct is not at all a contradiction. In fact, it shows a level of balance rarely seen any more in this type of affair.


>4. No one castigated Phil Gowan for making an annoucement that the child was in fact Sidney Goodwin. What was pointed out was that the information being fed to the boards from you and various sources was incorrect as to how, when it happened. Along with various rumors of missing stones and all that.

Don't go confusing the issue with facts, Mike. THIS is where it got rather...uncomfortable... to follow from the sidelines. As I said, I would have done the same thing that Mr. Gowan did. What was initially a bit off-putting, and progressively more loathsome to behold, was the palpable gloating (on the part of some) immediately afterwards~ and the spreading of rumors, etc, that has already been touch upon.

>remember: If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and has feathers like a duck -- it is a duck.

Handy to know if one is ever befuddled by waterfowl. Fortunately, in the seven years I've worked with Mike, he has never ONCE failed when I've pointed to a buoyant orange billed object and said "Now, what is that?" Even on those occasions when I tried to trick him by pointing out a goose or an egret or even one of the Swan Boats at Playland, he always knew when it was or was not a duck. Later, he deftly grasped the difference between "duck" the noun, and "duck" the verb after I instructed him that if one is on a hunting trip near Crawford and sees the Vice President with a rifle one should reflexively.... Once, he even corrected me on a minor bit of waterfowl mis-ID. So, although the pointer is appreciated, speaking from my perspective, it was not necessary. Have you been called upon to use it often? One could argue that those sad souls at amusements parks who have to walk around in giant anime-inspired costumes all day waddle like ducks, have feathers like ducks, and quack like ducks but are still most certainly not ducks. It is a rash and foolhardy man who would look upon some college kid dressed up as Baby Huey and say "All of the evidence adds up- This is indeed a duck." That insight can be applied to both scientists and researchers who rush to get a good story out, and also to people who use terms like "apologist" when, in fact, no specific apology has been offered.
 
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Timothy Trower

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Michael Poirier posted:

"There you go with those attacks, rumors and innuendos again."

I'm sorry -- what part of the printing craftsman analogy did you not understand?
 
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>>And that did not happen.<<

Asa matter of fact, ultimately, this is exactly what happened. Concerned with the veracity of the findings, they went ahead with more exacting protocols to make sure they got it right, and they corrected it when they realized they got it wrong.

They could have left it hanging but they didn't.

They could have covered their tracks but they didn't.

They could have tried to supress the falsifying evidence but they didn't.

They could have "Stuck to their story" but they didn't.

I'm not disputing that there were a lot of mistakes made here, but the point is that the guys who made the mistakes were the ones who sought to correct them, and they did it all out in plain view.

Now perhaps at this point, it would be wise for every one of us to stand back and let this play out to it's conclusion. As I indicated earlier, it's a fair bet that none of us...myself included...quite knows what we think we do.
 

Mike Poirier

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I checked our back issue list and Ruffman and Parr published some of their initial findings in Voyage 41. As Mike said, none of us quite know what we think we do... I'm willing to give them a chance to answer.

I understood quite completely Tim. The innuendo came from the 'duck' reference, not the craftsman reference. ;)
 
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Timothy Trower

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Having quoted me, Michael Standart then posted:

">>And that did not happen.<<

"Asa matter of fact, ultimately, this is exactly what happened. Concerned with the veracity of the findings, they went ahead with more exacting protocols to make sure they got it right, and they corrected it when they realized they got it wrong."

Michael,

You will find that this theory is wrong. Ruffman and Parr did not willingly volunteer to complete the second round of DNA testing. I'd like to say more, but am not going to violate a confidence.

The craftsman in the scientific team was kind of lazy in this instance. (And no craftsman should have relied on the mistaken belief that the supposed age of teeth and the size of shoes were an acceptable substitute for completing the job at hand.)
 

Paul Lee

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Was it *cough* something to do with a paper being sent to a journal which was then rejected because the work was deemed incomplete, forcing the authors to do more rigourous testing....?

*cough again*
 
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>>Ruffman and Parr did not willingly volunteer to complete the second round of DNA testing.<<

What's actually coming out from indentified sources tends to indicate otherwise.

>> I'd like to say more, but am not going to violate a confidence.<<

Then I have to treat that with quite a large grain of salt. Confidential sources which are hinted at but not identified simply don't have any credibility.

>>Was it *cough* something to do with a paper being sent to a journal which was then rejected because the work was deemed incomplete, forcing the authors to do more rigourous testing....? <<

Could be.
 

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