Razib Khan has a pretty high opinion of his scientific abilities. He’s repeatedly had the opportunity, when discussing the origin of dogs, to present the significant alternative to his own view. Instead though, he forgot that science is principally about finding and honing the best explanations, and fell into the trap of cosseting one favoured theory, seeing no need to consider alternatives. If that exclusively favoured theory is wrong however, and there’s no sign he’s ever given it a chance, then every word he writes on the subject, every diagram drawn, and every second of the public’s time he takes up with it, is wasted – worse than wasted since he doesn’t just take people nowhere, he takes them in the wrong direction. Also worse, when he can, he’s very happy to block others’ efforts even to mention the alternative! (And I might say, a vastly superior alternative. The wolf is the obvious ancestor to the dog right up until the astonishing moment when you realise it… obviously isn’t. You can’t get the right answer if you don’t have the right animal in your study, or indeed, if you don’t appreciate how undirected a natural cladogram is.) It would be bad enough if he’d bothered himself to offer a rebuttal of the alternative, but of course he’s too self-important even for that.
Result? Destruction of that area of the field to the full extent he can manage. And he’s being paid albeit modestly for his scientific expertise on this, though he’s doubly wrong: on scientific conduct, and, I’m rather sure, on his belief.
If it were just one area where he’s made a mistake, it might not be too bad. As it happens though, that is the one area where I can check his veracity. As he’s 100% wrong, indeed 200% wrong on that issue, I can only estimate, and indeed advise, that that is his standard level of performance in every area he looks into. If you fail to address an alternative you lose in science. There will always be some you can convince that you’ve won, but you lose the argument over the issue, and your status as a scientist.