Sixth Grader Lauren Arrington Is No Plagiarist—This Science Fair Ethics Train Wreck Is Adult-Engineered

You know, it's really all YOUR fault!

You know, it’s really all YOUR fault!

Florida sixth grader Lauren Arrington found herself a sudden media star when her science fair project was featured on NPR, CBS, and other media outlets for allegedly breaking new ground.  Rather than rub hormones on chicks or build models of volcanos, Lauren’s project focused on the Indo-Pacific lionfish, a troublesome invasive species that is causing ecological havoc in ocean waters along the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The NPR story, “Sixth Grader’s Science Fair Finding Shocks Ecologists,” was typical: it quoted Lauren’s “Eureka!” thusly…

“Scientists were doing plenty of tests on them, but they just always assumed they were in the ocean. So I was like, ‘Well, hey guys, what about the river?’ “

Gee, I wonder why a 12 year-old girl was thinking about that? Well, it seems that her father, Dr. Albrey Arrington is the executive director of the Loxahatchee River District, and has been involved in lionfish research. Not that there is anything necessarily unethical or unusual about a parent suggesting a science fair project to his child that is in that parent’s own area of expertise, or even providing access to resources for the child to accomplish the project, but as we will see, Dr. Arrington set his daughter up for trouble she couldn’t possibly understand.

Lauren’s  findings were said to “shock ecologists” and received international recognition after independent confirmation of the science project’s conclusion was published in a well-respected scientific journal earlier this year. The story of the sixth-grader who made an independent discovery of ecological value was too juicy to pass up, so it was reported hither and yon. Then researcher and PhD student Zack Jud posted comments on his Facebook page venting his anger and frustration with the fact that his “name has been intentionally left out” of the flurry of online articles reporting the story, as he wrote:

“My lionfish research is going viral … but my name has been intentionally left out of the stories, replaced by the name of the 12-year-old daughter of my former supervisor’s best friend. The little girl did a science fair project based on my PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED DISCOVERY of lionfish living in low-salinity estuarine habitats. Her story has been picked up nationally by CBS, NPR, and CORAL magazine, and has received almost 90,000 likes on Facebook, yet my years of groundbreaking work on estuarine lionfish are being completely and intentionally ignored. At this stage in my career, this type of national exposure would be invaluable … if only my name was included in the stories. I feel like my hands are tied. Anything I say will come off as an attempt to steal a little girl’s thunder, but it’s unethical for her and her father to continue to claim the discovery of lionfish in estuaries as her own.”

What’s going on here? This:

  • Despite innuendos  by the Atlantic and others, Lauren performed no plagiarism here, nor was anything about her science fair project unethical. Indeed, she cited the Jud’s work, which was all she was obligated to do. This is a sixth grade science fair project. The child isn’t required to meet formal scholarly and research standards regarding cites and references. To her knowledge, her experiment was new, and her own idea. It wasn’t? So what, and who cares? How many science fair projects are truly original research? Actually, the question of whose experiment was first is rather murky. From The Scientist  (the emphasis is mine):

“Arrington added that his daughter had read the paper, and attended public lectures given by Jud and Layman explaining its results, before coming up with her idea to test the fish’s salinity tolerances experimentally. “Lauren cited the 2011 Jud et al. paper in her science fair report and display—so she adequately provided credit to the authors,” he wrote. “Lauren’s experimental research (i.e., the experimental lowering of salinity to determine the lowest salinity lionfish can tolerate) was her own idea, and she did that work well before Dr. Jud and Dr. Layman conducted their experimental studies.” Indeed, Jud and Layman published their results in Environmental Biology of Fishes this February. And in that paper, the authors noted Lauren’s contributions to their laboratory experimental design in both the methods section and in the acknowledgments.

But Jud maintains that news reports claiming that Layman was inspired by Lauren Arrington’s science fair project omit mention of Jud’s pre-existing plans to perform those experiments. “It was something that I had discussed with my advisor numerous times since the first discovery of estuarine lionfish,” said Jud, adding that his other work kept him from conducting the studies until after Lauren had done her science fair project. “As a busy PhD student, I had a number of other projects on my plate,” he said.

Oh, I see. Jud was just too busy, and this 6th grader scooped him. Damn her eyes! You know, I was going to invent the microchip a while back, but had to arrange my sock drawer.

  •  The girl was being guided by her father: if anyone is ethically to blame for representing as original research  something that was something less, it is him. Nobody at the school was wowed by the project: Lauren only won third place. It was the media that made the study into a big deal. Hmmmm…I wonder who led reporters to the story?
  • The real problem is that the news media didn’t give a damn about lionfish. What reporters and editors liked was the human interest story about a little girl teaching real scientists something they didn’t know. Even if she had reeled off the names of every author of every major lionfish study, it wasn’t going to make the cut. Jud’s beef is with trivial, inept and biased journalism. He can join the club.
  • Placed in the limelight, given a premature 15 minutes of fame, did Lauren over-hype her accomplishment with the nudging of interviewers? Maybe..she’s a child! But now, thanks to Zack Jud, she is being compared to …Sen. John Walsh?

“When we fail to teach kids like Lauren Arrington about the importance of scientific transparency and attribution, we condone her mistake and set her up for much more serious missteps—such as those of Montana Senator John Walsh, the subject of the Thursday New York Times story…”

  • I hope that’s not the lesson Lauren swill learn from this fiasco, which has a major national magazine unfairly branding her a plagiarist before she is in high school. I’m afraid she will  learn that she can’t trust adults, even her father, to be fair, reasonable or careful with a child’s reputation, that the news media will chew you up and spit you out like a sunflower seed, and that vicious, petty, envious people like Zack Jud are lying in wait any time you acquire something they want.
  • Regarding Jud: he says he feels bad that he is “stealing a little girl’s thunder,” but “it’s unethical for her and her father to continue to claim the discovery of lionfish in estuaries as her own.” Don’t feel bad, Zack: you’re doing exactly what you intended to. Without the publicity for that little girl, nobody would be hearing anything about lionfish at all. The discovery was only interesting if a 6th grader made it, so you took advantage of the publicity that you could never have received yourself, played the victim, made her out to be an unethical researcher (she’s a sixth grader her father let swim out over her head, and that’s all she is), and got exactly what you wanted.

Except maybe being regarded as a jerk.

Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lauren Arrington avoided anything faintly resembling science or research from now on. What a nest of scorpions.

For the record, from most unethical to least, the ranking for the lionfish controversy is this:

1. Zack Jud

2. Lauren’s father

3. Atlantic Magazine

4. The news media

5. Lionfish, which appear to be pretty unethical fish.

In my view, Lauren did nothing unethical at all.

_________________________

Facts: The Atlantic, CBS, NPR, The Blaze, The Scientist

92 thoughts on “Sixth Grader Lauren Arrington Is No Plagiarist—This Science Fair Ethics Train Wreck Is Adult-Engineered

  1. You seem to misunderstand the significant difference between discovery and follow-up research. Lauren Arrington and her dad claimed to NPR, CBS, and others that the *idea* of lionfish living in rivers was Lauren’s. That’s completely false. Discovery is a big deal – far more so than follow-up work – and Dr. Jud was entirely in the right to complain that the younger Arrington was claiming credit for his discovery. His main point is entirely accurate: “The little girl did a science fair project based on my PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED DISCOVERY of lionfish living in low-salinity estuarine habitats.”

    You quote the following disturbing and false quote from Lauren Arrington without seeming to realize its implications:

    “Scientists were doing plenty of tests on them, but they just always assumed they were in the ocean. So I was like, ‘Well, hey guys, what about the river?'”

    This discovery claim is simply false. Furthermore, Lauren was aware of Zack’s work – citing it as part of her project – and had even attended lectures by Zack on this very subject. To claim that she was unaware that she was falsely claiming discovery credit is disingenuous in the extreme.

    I do agree that Lauren’s father Aubrey behaved even more deplorably. Here he is making a jaw-dropping statement to CBS News *on camera* about the discovery question at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/sixth-grader-credited-with-scientific-breakthrough-on-lionfish/

    CBS reporter: “So no one really knew that lionfish were a threat in rivers like this one?”

    Aubrey Arrington: “They didn’t. We certainly did not understand that. Lauren’s research showed they are.”

    Reprehensible. By the way, I don’t blame CBS, NPR, and the other news outlets for sensationalizing the story. They simply repeated the false claims of discovery they were given by Lauren and Aubrey Arrington.

    To put it another way: imagine that John Doe did follow-up research on penicillin after Alexander Fleming’s discovery. Assume that Doe’s paper correctly cited Fleming’s work as a primary source. But then Doe gets interviewed by news media all over the country because he tells them that he’s the person who stumbled on the idea of using mold to kill bacteria. “Scientists were doing lots of work on this, but I said, ‘Hey, guys, what about mold? Maybe some form of mold will kill bacteria.'” Right about now, you would be criticizing Fleming for standing up for himself as the discoverer of penicillin.

    • But Doe would never be interviewed, and the networks didn’t really care what the girl said about the project itself. They just cared that she was a 13-year old girl. Again, adults engage in puffery in the spotlight, media-experienced adults. I give any kid a complete ethics pass. She was not intentionally misrepresenting her research or thesis…but Judd was misrepresenting his role at her expense.

      • How can you say that Lauren Arrington was not “intentionally misrepresenting her research or thesis” when she repeatedly took credit in interviews for the *idea* of lionfish living in rivers? She was well aware of Jud’s work, citing it herself and even having attended some of his lectures. The very title of Jud’s 2011 paper cited by Lauren Arrington is “Recent invasion of a Florida (USA) estuarine system by lionfish.” One read no further than the abstract to see this spelled out even more clearly: “Here we identify the first estuarine intrusion by lionfish in their invasive range. Lionfish (n = 211) were captured in the Loxahatchee River estuary (Florida, USA) between August 2010 and April 2011.” You can see Jud’s full 2011 paper at http://www4.ncsu.edu/~calayman/PDFs/Jud%20et%20al.%202011%20Estuarine%20Lionfish.pdf

        Of course her father has behaved way more shamefully. He was actually a co-author on Jud’s 2011 paper (as you can see for yourself), and for him to say on camera to CBS News that the discovery credit belonged to Lauren is absolutely reprehensible, both as a scientist and as a parent.

        Jud did not “misrepresent his role.” He stated – quite correctly, and after making every effort to get the Arringtons to correct their blatant misstatements – that the “discovery” Lauren was claiming had already been published in 2011, and that he was the primary author on that paper.

        One of the worst things you can do in scientific research is to knowingly claim someone else’s discovery as your own. Why would anyone blame a scientist for speaking up when they make a significant discovery in their field and someone else takes credit for it?

    • As a scientist I am truely appalled that Zack Jud continues with this ludicrous and offensive attack on a 6th grade science project. It is truely one of the most petty and immature things I have EVER seen. All science builds on previous work, everything you have ever written is based on the work of people that came before you. Lauren sited your paper in her project, she specifically acknowledged what you had already published. You “thought” about directly studying salinity in the lab, you “talked” about studying salinity in the lab, but you didn’t do it. She did, and you then used her work to design your own more elaborate study to confirm what she did. Good for her and good for you, because now more is known about this topic. Really this comes down to ego, the media didn’t do thier homework, (no surprise) and didn’t have the time in thier brief “happy” story sound bite to mention everyone. Yes, when everyone started shoving camera’s in her face she should have put more emphasis on what was already known about lionfish and rivers etc. She and her dad should have specifically mentioned you and your colleauges more, I just don’t understand why at 13yo she didn’t have the perfectly pre-coordinated public relations message to assauge your apparently vast ego. Your continuing to refer to her as “little girl” is misogynistic and intentionally demeaning. So your jealous of the 5 minutes of fame she received, Ridicuolous. I am embarassed for you, and by you.

      • Please read my detailed comments above. Lauren and her father claimed that Lauren had DISCOVERED something they knew was discovered by someone else. This is a very serious ethical offense, especially for the father. There’s nothing inappropriate about the actual discoverer seeking to correct the record.

        The really sad part is that Lauren Arrington’s experiment was a good one. She did follow-up work on someone else’s discovery that added to existing knowledge and was mentioned in a professional research paper. That’s a remarkable and admirable accomplishment for anyone, especially a sixth-grader. But her father couldn’t leave it at that: he went on national TV and made the outrageously false claim that the *idea* of lionfish living in rivers was Lauren’s. Lauren herself followed suit in her own interviews. Mr. Arrington’s behaviour could be grounds for termination at many research institutions.

        • Under those circumstances, with news reporters wanting to hype her accomplishment and her father characterizing it, I hold Lauren completely blameless. And Judd wants a piece of fame that he would never have received anyway. Yecccch.

            • A theory he didn’t get around to proving, and then attacked the sixth grader who scooped him. She didn’t publish a scholarly paper, or seek publicity for her work. She wanted a good grade on a science fair project. Jud’s beef was with the media coverage, but he chose to impugn a little girl. The technical term for someone this petty is “ass.”

              • “A theory he didn’t get around to proving”? Jud found 211 lionfish in the Loxahatchee River between August 2010 and April 2011 – see the link to the paper I posted above. This fact is not in dispute. Then Lauren and her father started claiming that no one had had the idea that lionfish were in the river and that Lauren was the one who had made the discovery. That is outrageously false, and both Arringtons knew it. Furthermore, this wasn’t a one-off interview in which someone got flustered and misspoke; this was a major lie that was repeated in multiple interviews by both Arringtons.

                • You are misstating the project and its methodology. And it doesn’t matter anyway. Quick—when was the last time an actual researcher tried to horn in on a 6th grade science fair 3rd place winner? (Hint: it’s a trick question.)

                  • Good Lord, I give up. Anyone can check the paper: Jud did find 211 lionfish in the Loxahatchee River in 2011. No one disputes that. Quick: When was the last time a grade-school student tried to take credit for a significant scientific discovery that wasn’t hers?

                    Bonus question: Why should someone’s age make them immune to correction when they falsely claim discovery of something that they didn’t discover, and they know it?

              • Dillard -They both made discoveries, Jud “discovered” a lionfish 4mi up a river, Lauren “discovered” that lionfish could live for ~28 days or more at a very low salinity in a lab. These are similar but importantly different. She and certainly her Dad needed to do a better job in front of the cameras, but really? Its a 6th grade science project! To whine about not getting enough credit is mind numbingly baffling.

                • “Whine about not getting enough credit”? The Arringtons lied shamelessly and repeatedly about who came up with the idea of lionfish living in the river. For a professional researcher like Albrey Arrington to do this is indefensible. It wasn’t a matter of “doing a better job in front of the cameras”; both Arringtons *lied* over and over, in interview after interview. Jud has been trying to set the record straight, as any researcher would. The idea that anyone would find this inappropriate is “mind-numbingly baffling.” (By the way, Jud discovered 211 lionfish in the river over a period of several months. It wasn’t just “a lionfish.”)

                  I can’t say it any more clearly than I have already. If you want to believe that it’s just fine for a grade-schooler to take credit for a significant discovery that she knows isn’t hers, I can’t help you. I’m bowing out of this discussion.

                  • I’m not defending the elder Arrington, who is primarily responsible, along with the media, for allowing a science project to permanently scar the name, image and reputation of a 13-year-old who did nothing wrong but react naturally to intense media attention. Fortunately and deservedly, Jud’s reputation will be worse (and whatever I can do to help, I will) , and he will have deserved it, by treating feel-good media reports over a sixth-grader’s science fair project as a golden opportunity to horn in for his lousy 15 minutes of fame (which his research would never have achieved on its own merits), and damn the consequences. I explained this, and you just want to ignore it. No sixth grade science fair project has any bearing on the research record: such research is normally neither reviewed, nor tested, nor verified, nor even recorded for posterity; it is not done by a credentialed researcher; it has no validity in the field. The news reports were not about the lionfish discovery—the public, a.k.a. the audience, quite literally couldn’t care less. They care, or the media thinks they do, about a little girl having a Eureka moment that other, real scientists hadn’t thought of yet. I think it was a stupid story (again, I blame the father); I also think it would have been immediately discarded and forgotten like the story about that dog that barks the “1812 Overture,” with no impact om Jud, lionfish, or young Arrington. But an envious grown man couldn’t stand the fact—FACT—that his obscure and uninteresting (to most) research area was being celebrated because a little girl dabbled in it FOR A SIXTH GRADE SCIENCE FAIR and decided to treat a 13 YEAR OLD like a diabolical professional who had won a Nobel with purloined research. Yes whining. Yes petty. Yes unethical, and yes…ass.

                    Jane is exactly correct in every way.

      • No it’s very important in light of this OUTRAGEOUS academic scandal and its, now, 10 year cover-up by the news media itself!

        http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/PersonOfWeek/story?id=319677&page=1
        http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6666008/ns/us_news-environment/t/energy-invention-nets-scholarship-teen/
        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4204297

        Here’s what the public SHOULD have learned from the news media (after all the headlines were posted):
        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4204297

  2. “Print the legend” strikes again.

    Apparently Mr Judd had already been accused of plagiarising this girl’s work, by university administrators and funding alumni unfamiliar with the facts. In his defence, it was necessary for him to say something about the issue.

  3. The girl was being guided by her father: if anyone is ethically to blame for representing as original research something that was something less, it is him.

    Certainly Ms Arrington did nothing wrong, and everything right. Her father I won’t comment about. Much as I’m sorely tempted to.

  4. “How many science fair projects are truly original research?”
    Truly origininal? No, it is not a graduate thesis. All science fair project experiments are supposed to be original to the student with a hypothesis developed from cited research. Yes, even in 6th grade. As librarian I know this level of plagiarism wouldn’t have been tolerated in the school where I worked. The science fair standard is the 6 steps of scientific research. I’m skeptical that a 12 year old girl obtained six large poisionous, lionfish and all the needed equipment by herself. The major ethics violators here are her father and the news media. Oh, and unless there’s a whomping good hypothesis and experiment a volcano in the science fair will probably not do well.

  5. This story sounds like a perfect made for TV movie.

    All the main characters can immediately be formulated with appropriate skewing of the facts.

    1) young wise beyond her age little environmentalists girl sees a great cause and does everything she can to advance the betterment of society despite setbacks from all sides.

    2) emotionally distant father who doesn’t believe in her and is a corporate scientist who ultimately decides her research can be used for profit. Or super supportive dad with an unconventional background who does everything he can to fight against the man since he was laid off by him years ago.

    3) (depending on the role of the dad pos or neg) grad student who is the girl’s mentor and helps her out as much as he can OR he’s just a corporate minion doing everything he can to steal the youg girl’s work for profit.

    4) intrepid reporter who realizes the noble goal of the little girl and goes out of her way to break past bureaucratic red tape and help fight the corporate interests.

    Look for cameos by Michelle Obama.

  6. Who did call the media ?? I think that is probably the #1 most unethical thing in this whole scenario. Exploitation !

  7. Ok, so I’ve been following this one with interest. Why? Because I see it all the time – at work, in schools. People take credit for another’s work – claim it as their own and try to hid the original author behind a curtain. Augh people! I think you have the order wrong in “most unethical to least”:

    1. Dr. Albrey Arrington (Lauren’s father) – funded Zack Jud’s research for years, knew about the large amount of lionfish Zack had found in the estuary and going up the river, etc. Check out the timeline from Zack’s former supervisor.

    2. News media – exaggerated/over-hyped the story; little to no fact checking… I mean, come on – that science fair was over a year ago and she placed 3rd… where’s a story in that?? No, the story is in the fact that Zack Jud mentions her in his follow on research because he thought it would be COOL for her…. and that’s what the original press release from her school was about.

    Wait… what? did everyone miss that one? Oh and yeah, I’m including this particular article with News media – #2 on the unethical scale because here I read, “Lauren’s findings were said to “shock ecologists” and received international recognition after independent confirmation of the science project’s conclusion was published in a well-respected scientific journal earlier this year. The story of the sixth-grader who made an independent discovery of ecological value was too juicy to pass up, so it was reported hither and yon.”

    Umm… what exactly was that “independent confirmation” you speak of? Yeah, that was actually none other than Zack Jud’s paper after her project. What other ecologists were shocked? None. And neither was Zack. Granted, this article didn’t specifically say ecologists were shocked – but please get the details straight.

    From all the different pieces/parts I’ve read – this is what I gather took place (his faculty supervisor put together a nice timeline). I’m just filling in the holes this article chose to leave out. Zack knew about Lauren’s project – he thought it was cool. He had already planned to do salinity trials but when he talked with his supervisor (good friend of Lauren’s father – remember, they are all in this together here), they decided to work on other parts of the research while ANOTHER LAB did the full salinity trials. Zack had already proven with his earlier data that the lionfish could survive in low salinity but he hadn’t published a specific study that focused on this issue more in depth yet. Lauren’s father knew all about this – when Zack had posted about it, D. Arrington commented on it even. Yeah, another lab was working this… they were just slow.

    After Lauren did her project, her dad and Zack’s supervisor asked her if she wanted to do more – they were really encouraging her (I think that part is cool) but she declined. No problem, normal kid.

    Then Zack finally decided to go ahead and conduct the salinity trials himself and published his paper. He thought it would be cool to mention her in a real scientific paper – so he did. He didn’t use her data or anything… he had already proved that…

    Zack gets his PhD – by this time, he’s been going all over Florida talking about this threat to the ecosystem and this looks like his future career path. He’s happy he was able to do something nice for someone who has an interest in science.

    Then wham! Several years after all this occurs, suddenly this girl and her father are in the national news claiming no one had any idea lionfish could survive in low salinity water?! Um yeah, that would catch me off guard too.

    And even in the quote from Zack – do you see him specifically state that she plagiarized? He said they were being unethical in making the claim that no one else had thought to look at the estuaries. Yet this article responds, “Lauren performed no plagiarism here” – Zack wasn’t making that claim. He just wants to set the record straight about their absurd statements to the media well after the project. If Zack had an issue with the science fair project itself, he wouldn’t have mentioned it in his paper.

    And finally, this article claims, “Without the publicity for that little girl, nobody would be hearing anything about lionfish at all.” Umm.. no, that’s not true either. Zack may not have had national fame but he was already getting to be pretty well known in his field. It’s pretty cool that he was starting to get famous (at least in Florida) for his research (oh, wait… looks like you missed that too).

    What you are missing is what it takes to get a job in the field. Published papers are very important and when two different people are making the claim that they discovered something first – well, something has to give. This is why Zack asked Lauren’s father to stop saying she made the discovery all on her own – she didn’t. While we may excuse her for being excited, for possibly not understanding what an inaccurate statement like that could do, we can’t excuse the father. He should have corrected it on air and immediately – but he didn’t.

    To finish out your list… well, I don’t really think anyone else in this mess was unethical so I just have 2.

  8. And this is why I don’t judge science fair projects anymore. Schools should stop doing them because they don’t help students learn about science anymore, they are just to show off. The types of projects are:

    • add something to something else for no apparent reason (leaving out the whole step of background research)

    • cool experiments that the parent’s did and the child has very little understanding of

    •not-so-cool looking experiments where the child thoughtfully does something with an already-researched expectation of what SHOULD happen and why

    The last category is by far the smallest and the only ones I would give good scores to. Most teachers and science-fair judges are wowed by the second type. This only sends the message that there is no point in even trying at this science-stuff unless your parent is a researcher. It also makes it look like those kids also understand what they did and why and discourages all of the other students who realize there is no way they could do that with the information the school has given them.

    I think science fairs do more harm than good to science education because by exalting the projects done by parents, they are making the average student feel like there is no point in even trying.

    • What’s your point? It’s ten years old. It’s not even vaguely the same issue. I’m not Dear Ethics Abby—I choose the topics, and they are usually current ones. I’m not persuaded by the attacks on Abby; I already pointed out how the media helped cause this, with the unethical assistance of her father.

      And what are the scare quotes around Ethics Alarms meant to imply?

  9. Now I feel kind bad that most of you will miss the final melt-down of Truth-Seeker, who belched out some really hilarious nonsense before he presumably turned hi head around 360 degrees and bellowed: “I AM THE KING OF MELMAC!” or something similar. Right now he’s chilling in Spam with the likes of Magnetic Messaging —is that Slavic?—who writes,

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my
    iphone and tested to see if it can survive a thirty
    foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now
    broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely
    off topic but I had to share it with someone!”

    And MM is MORE coherent and on topic than Truth-seeker. So to give you a good taste of what you missed, HEEEEEER’S TRUTHSEEKER!!!”

    You REALLY asked for it, didn’t you Jack? I was just stating the “provable FACTS” which you just didn’t want to hear about (or even try to dispute by debate) – before YOU made YOUR threats and insults to me. Then you followed up with – clear – and publicly documented defamation! Thinks I have a good case, Jack. Maybe you SHOULD have first asked if I was a lawyer, myself!!! So how much time do I have to file suit (just checking if you are really a lawyer, as you claim to be).

    Just some advice (that you should have learned in law school, Jack). If I want to really insult someone, I ALWAYS preface that with IMO, or at least “I think”. Remember that the next time you publicly insult a “private person”. In fact, I think a court would find what you have just done here to be “malicious” , as well. What does that get me – treble damages? Go back to law school Jack – you really need a refresher course, especially when it comes to free speech and “real ethics”, not the fake kind!

    (Oh, and that goes for anyone else that insults me, without prefacing those insults with IMO). Oh, an anti-Semite too (without even knowing who I am)!! That makes it even better (for that lawsuit). And if you shoot lawyers, that gets you life! Even better – idiot (IMO). Maybe the ATF and/or FBI needs to pay you a visit too. How would that be Steven? let’s see how “brave” you are then!
    Too bad you and Jack used your real “legal” names Steven! Makes things a whole lot easier! Don’t have to even get an internet subpoena, now!

    • Boy, I’m really angry now at the folks at GULC that they didn’t teach me that “If I want to really insult someone, ALWAYS preface that with IMO, or at least “I think”.

      What an idiot.

      • Not to belabor the obvious, but apart from the unquestioned fact that every single assertion on this blog is a legally protected opinion unless it is specifically designated otherwise (not the other way around, as this utter twit seems to think), there is the little matter of nobody knowing who the hell “Truth-seeker” is (or caring, by the way). Even if I declared that Truth-Seeker was an acolyte of Satan or a serial goat-rapist, as he (or she?) is, in effect, anonymous to the world, I’ve “defamed” nobody but a name—and a particularly inapt one, I must say.

    • Sorry—eventually they get tired. Not sure why the software isn’t screening him yet. The stupid is strong in this one, though. Guys—Women? Children? Mutants? Aliens?—like this are the bane of blogging. His first comment was “I agree.” Couldn’t guess his malady from that. I would like to have few words with the fool who taught him—wrongly– about “defamation.”

      • Probably the same shmoes who proselytize people into the “sovereign citizen” movement…

        Does word press screen by IP address?

        If so, he may just be dodging the filters by changing locations. A dedicated troll is he.

          • Yeah. I looked up “truth seeker (TM)”

            I got a wide range of hits from pro-Christianity to anti-Christianity to conspiracy theories.

            He’s got a lot of institutions to sue.

            • See, now this is when I really miss Scott. I can’t really give this guy (Bot? Escapee? Dementer?) the obscene, ego-melting, verbal beat-down he deserves for polluting the site and wasting our time.

          • He reminds a lot of a high schooler I met when I went home on an army recruiting trip one year. He was very sincere and very knowledgeable about the military, so I felt like I was making an impact.

            He discussed the Airborne and training. Physical standards. Specific technical knowledge that only a devotee would bother to learn. He was excited about the possibility of basic training then advance training. He was eager to move on to specialist schools and even ranger school aware that it was 9 grueling weeks of misery (oft repeated after failure). Even had hopes of attending Special Forces schools. After which he planned to form the first of a new extra special forces team. They would be the first to land on the moon and secure it for future military purposes. From there they would battle any space incursions of our enemies….

            Wait what?

            Yeah. Truth Seeker reminds me of that guy.

              • Or he could be the internet phenomenon that I don’t recall the term for. In short this phenomenon is resolved some time tomorrow with a “I’m sorry I’m sorry, my little brother got on my computer and typed all this stuff LOL”.

                • At least that would explain it, a bit. Do you know that I don’t have TTS’s name? So this obnoxious jerk is claiming defamation from absolute opinion ( That “you are an asshole” and similar statements are opinion is established law) in a context where he has not even been publicly connected to the opinion in a manner that would allow anyone to attach it to him. You can’t defame a non-person: The Truth Seeker is nobody–it is like “Mr. X.” His threats and bluster are idiocy and ignorance personified, and yet he’s so cocky about it. I am pretty certain that any lawyer who took such a case would be sanctioned under Rule 11 (and so would his client), and that’s not easy.

  10. no formatting?

    no font changes?

    None whatsoever

    completely and utterly moronic displays have been witnessed today

    Of course Jack, he doesn’t even follow his own rules of defamation. I’m pretty sure somewhere in his diatribe he called you dumb.

  11. It seems to me that the girl’s research wasn’t about finding out if there were lionfish in the river, but by understanding the level of salinity required for the fish’s survival, she could demonstrate approximately how far inland, that is, into fresh water, the lionfish could survive. That wasn’t part of the published research, from what I understand. I guess the dad probably enjoyed his bit of the spotlight, but even what he did doesn’t strike me as horrible, unless I missed something.

  12. The agenda here is to get girls in science. A good reporter would have looked at all the research and verified it, including questioning the citation. It was quite easy to find out that Jud and Arrington (Sr) worked together. So asking Jud his views would have been a simple thing to do. Jud could then thank the girl for starting his research and he could finish it. Both would get credit. What they wanted to prove is “THIS LITTLE GIRL” is a great scientist WITHOUT the help of those NASTY MEN.

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