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Greetings fellow Diplomates,
Your Executive Committee met in September to conduct mid-year business and to review all Committee reports. Thanks to all those Committee Chairpersons and members who have worked hard through the summer on their designated tasks and reports.
By now you should have received notification of the deadline extension for the Civil Litigation and Identification Workshops. The workshops are an excellent venue for any dentist(s) you know (or for those you are mentoring), who are interested in developing their forensic acumen, and who wish to take advantage of an educational opportunity or to accumulate credit toward ABFO membership eligibility. Please urge them to sign up online as soon as possible.
In 2013 we have lost three of our most respected Diplomates: Drs. Ed Woolridge, Gerald Vale, and Bill Morlang. These influential leaders will be individually honored at our annual meeting in February.
The Diplomates’ dinner plans are coming together for Seattle. Our local arrangements representative, Stephanie Kavanaugh has been working diligently and McCormick and Schmick’s restaurant has graciously agreed to host at a reasonable per person fee. Invitations should be going out before the end of the year. The venue should prove to be stimulating to say the least. If you haven’t yet read the two pre-trial briefs posted in the members’ section of the ABFO website regarding New York vs. Dean, I would suggest you bring yourself up-to-date on the most recent attack on bite mark evidence launched by the Innocence Project. I have invited Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges, author of the prosecution’s response to the IP to be our keynote speaker.
A new Ad Hoc Committee on AGD/ADA Accreditation has been appointed in order to re-establish authorization and renew the availability of Continuing Education credit in ABFO sponsored workshops and courses. Dr. Chuck Berner is the chairperson. Previously our AGD credits were sanctioned through the ASFO contract and that option is no longer available through that organization.
Secretary Brumit and Dr. Jackie Reid have been busy assembling Image Series IV but still need our help accumulating material. If you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes today to go through your case files and send them any appropriate and/or interesting forensic images, Powerpoint presentations you can part with, or any other digital contributions you feel might be worthwhile and educational. If included into IS4, your images will allow you to download a complimentary copy; a $450 value if purchased separately.
The C & E Committee had a productive mid-year conference and will be testing four candidates for Board Certification the weekend prior to the annual meeting. Those who pass the exam will be introduced in the general Diplomates’ meeting on Monday evening, after Board of Directors approval. If you are up for re-certification make sure you have sent in the appropriate materials and have completed the online exam.
Other topics of interest discussed at the EC meeting and coming up for consideration are:
-A new candidate for Diplomate Emeritus status
-An online store for ABFO apparel and gear.
-New social networking opportunities from the Public Relations Committee
-An ABFO sponsored lecture series
-Developing a designated Public Information Officer.
As always, if you have questions or suggestions to offer, your Executive Committee members are here for your benefit. Please contact any of us with your ideas or concerns.
Greg Golden, D.D.S.
A few years ago I read an article that was published in the monthly newsletter, Access To Energy, wherein Professor Arthur B. Robinson summarized what he felt had surfaced as a human shortcoming in a majority of modern scientists regarding their opinions, behavior, and their ethics. In the wake of the NAS 2009 publication for Strengthening the Forensic Sciences, I offer a condensed version of this article in the spirit of “holding up the mirror” to ourselves.
Greg Golden, DDS
SCIENCE AND HUMILITY
Near the end of his life, Isaac Newton wrote: “I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
Even though Isaac Newton’s pebbles and shells formed the basis for the scientific and industrial revolutions which created our civilization and Newton was undoubtedly able to foresee at least some of their implications and potential, he never lost the humility with which he placed himself and his discoveries in universal perspective.
During the subsequent 300 years, many remarkable things have been accomplished in science and technology. Still, when one looks outward at those parts of the incredible vastness of the universe or inward at those parts of extraordinary microscopic, submicroscopic and subatomic universe that we can now see, it is self-evident that the minds of men have still just barely started to understand or comprehend the physical world.
This is a perspective that is shared by most real scientists and was once ingrained in the general ethics governing their publications. Until recently, for example, it was not acceptable to include assertions in elementary science text books that had not been rigorously proved. Professional research publications made clear distinctions between hypotheses, theories, and facts. Equation-embodied laws, such as those of thermodynamics, were applied only within the frameworks of the boundary conditions inherent in their derivations.
During the past 50 years, tax-financed science has steadily diminished these standards. The number of people calling themselves “scientists” has markedly increased in order to spend the enormous tax-financed bonanza, and the ethics of science have concomitantly decreased to that level desired by those who control this money.
Scientists are, of course, ordinary people with all of the usual human faults and foibles. It is unsurprising that some of them, especially those whose abilities are below average, would pander to the wishes of those who pay their bills. It is also not surprising that confiscatory government would parade those particular scientists before the public while ignoring those who are not so easily manipulated.
There is, however, also something deeper and more pervasive taking place. Scientists and technologists are losing an essential anchor to reality – humility. This is not justified by their accomplishments.
As human knowledge has increased over the past 300 years, the observable frontiers of the universe have also increased. As we have begun to understand more fully the things close to us, the extent of things we can see has expanded so much that we are no closer to comprehending our observable universe than we were in Newton’s day. Why then are we justified in discarding the humility that he expressed? The answer is that we are not justified in doing so.
Moreover, this failure cannot be simplified by dividing “scientists” into those who have been bought and those who are intellectually honest. Each person carries within him the potential for both.
Science and technology require rationalism and intellectual rigor, while scientists and technologists are ordinary humans whose minds and lives are also affected by many irrational, self-serving digressions. The ethics that provide an essential barrier between these two characteristics of human beings have required several centuries for development. These ethics are endangered today by formidable forces within human nature and power-hungry human institutions – the same enemies that they have battled for hundreds of years.
It is obvious that, to protect science and technology, we must preserve honesty, integrity, objective experimental observation, rational thought, and the general scientific method. One very important and essential part of that protection is humility. Without humility, our egos tend to lead us to discard the ethics essential to our science.
Communication is everything. As President one of my goals is to keep the lines of communication open between your Executive Committee and the Diplomates at large primarily through this website. It is with communication in mind that I intend on breaking the tradition of posting only one President’s message per year. My intent is to update this web page on a quarterly basis and to leave the place in better shape than I found it. As a result, information will be provided on current events happening within our organization as they occur.
I would first like to thank Dr. Tom David, our immediate Past President for keeping us on track during his tenure, and the members of the Executive Committee who tirelessly performed their duties throughout the year to keep this organization functioning. We also thank Aribex for their continuing support over the years.
Congratulations are in order for our award recipients:
William G. Hyzer, recipient of the Haskel M. Pitluck award.
Dr. Edward Pavlik, recipient of the AAFS Odontology Section’s Lester Luntz award.
Dr. Paul Stimson, for the Odontology Section’s Reidar Sognnaes award for excellence in forensic dentistry. Dr. Stimson is retiring after 40 plus years of service to the discipline.
Dr. Ed Woolridge, Diplomate Emeritis, for providing leadership in the founding of the ABFO and for so many years of service to this branch of dentistry. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work.
I would like to also acknowledge the retirement of one of our long-standing Diplomates, Dr. William Morlang, who has made numerous contributions throughout his forensic career. Thank you Bill for so many years of your support and assistance. You will be missed and in our thoughts.
We gained three new Diplomates from the examination process in February. I would like to welcome Drs. Holland Manness, Delora Fletcher, and Eric Wilson to the Board. Congratulations to all of you.
With the passing of our friend, Dr. John Williams, the ABFO created the John Williams Humanitarian Award. As an active participant in numerous civic and charitable organizations, John set the standard for humanitarian involvement. This award will recognize future recipients for community service above and beyond the call of duty. John’s loving wife, Barbara accepted the inaugural award on his behalf at the annual Diplomates’ dinner held in Washington, D.C.
This year the ABFO received recertification from the Forensic Sciences Accreditation Board; a noteworthy distinction that elevates our standing among the other specialty Boards. This is a five-year accreditation that involves an in-depth review of our organizational skills, testing and recertification requirements.
Next year we will meet in Seattle where we are once again fortunate to have Dr. Stephanie Kavanaugh, handling the local arrangements. The Board will be offering two workshops next February: the Dental Identification and Civil Litigation Workshops will be held on the weekends before and after the AAFS meeting. More information on how to enroll will soon be on several forensic websites including this one.
The Image Series IV Committee will be working diligently this year to update the previous version offered on compact disk. The new version will have a different format and more extensive target market. It will be downloadable from the ABFO website and should be available near the end of this year. Those Diplomates offering material that ultimately is included in the IS4 will be able to download a complementary copy once it’s available. Please contact Dr. Paula Brumit to contribute your interesting cases to make this edition of the Image Series the best yet.
Finally, remember that the Bitemark and Age Estimation Committees are looking for cases to include in their respective repositories. If you have a good adjudicated forensic case that could be useful for potential test candidates to gain credit toward eligibility, please forward it to the Chairperson of the respective committee. Dr. Adam Freeman is the Chair of the Bitemark Committee and Dr. Jim Lewis chairs the Dental Age Estimation Committee.
As always, your Executive Committee and Board of Directors serves you, the Diplomates. Let’s keep the lines of communication open to enhance the ABFO experience through our combined efforts, and make this a productive and successful year.
Greg Golden, DDS