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A week back I was invited to participate in an online debate ( it is related to my network too) between scientists and people who practice and propagate pseudo-science. While majority of the scientists who participated were from the West, 99% of the people who nurtured pseudo-science were from India!

I am not at all surprised. Pseudo-science catches the imagination of Indians more than anybody else in the world.

What are the reasons? We have a huge problem here. Indians love science. But don't develop the critical thinking powers that can distinguish between science and pseudo-science! So they try to see  everything that  is brought before them as science! And then try to defend it with all their might! I wrote on this earlier. You can read two of my articles here: be-alert-pseudo-science-and-anti-science-are-on-prowl  and here: love-science-not-its-impostors

The topic of the debate was...Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Analysis (DMIA).

Now what is DMIA? 

Well people who practice it say... Dermatoglyphics is a 'scientific' analysis of fingerprint patterns.The term Dermatoglyphics  originates from two Greek words. 

DERMA = SKIN

GLYPHE = CURVE

Fingerprints and dermal ridge pattern are unique with each individual.Even Fingerprints are differences between similar twins also.Discover your intrinsic potential by identifying the form and various types of styles on the finger.

Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence test is a 'truly scientific study' of the fingerprint patterns. This will help in understanding a great individual’s potential & personality Type. Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT) is based on understanding from Neuroscience, Genetics, Dermatoglyphics , Psychology and Embryology. DMIT test Assessment method has been 'formulated by scientists and Medical experts'. DMIT Test has accepted by Entire world and also from renowned universities. 'Medical experts and Approved clinical experience confirmed' that finger prints provide accurate analysis of humans Multiple Intelligences and inborn potential. Traditionally only IQ test is used to be a measurement tool for degree of intelligence. Now Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test Using in the field of School college and educational institutions. Human resource management. Children memory Enhancements Programs. Career Guidance and Career Counseling.

And there are several websites on the internet that conduct these tests and 'guide you' if you pay them. But are they reliable?

A big 'NO' according to scientists! All this is fraud in the name of science!

This is what they have to say on the subject: 

TM ( a professor of Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology and a practicing Medical Doctor ) from the US said -

DMIA is when you send your fingerprints to a lab and they say they can tell you about your intelligence, personality, talents, etc. It is absolutely false. Fingerprints are not fully genetic. They are caused by the skin of the fetus touching the inside of the amniotic sac around the 10th week of development. That's why no two fingerprints are alike, even in identical twins. Since fingerprints are not genetic, they are in no way related to brain capacity and function.

PN from India who believes in and propagates DMIA -

I have a funny doubt. Why don't I have your fingerprint and why don't you have mine? Why are we born with the specific set of fingerprints and why not other?
The answer might be that because we had touched the inside wall of amniotic sac of mother in foetus stage.

Lets agree that fingerprints are formed by the touch of skin of foetus to inside wall of amniotic sac of the mother.
The fingerprint can be considered as a geometric shape. Since every fingerprint is unique, so the cause should be unique. So the style of touch of every fetus to sac should be unique.

As an engineer, I understand that, there are at least four main factors in the event of fingers of fetus touching the sac. 1 -Shape & skin texture of fingers of fetus, 2- Shape & texture of inside wall of amniotic sac of mother, 3- Angle & pressure of touch, 4- Duration of touch. Combination of these factors has to be unique to develop unique fingerprints.

We all know that genetics play important role in deciding our body structure.  So shape & texture of foetus are decided by genetics. Also shape & texture of amniotic sac are decided by genetics.  So out of 4 main factors, 2 factors depend on genetics.  Which means we can safely assume that fingerprints depend on genetics but not only genetics.

So if you agree that fingerprints depend on genes of parents, then its easy to accept that fingerprints are connected to brain.  Thus, Dermtoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Analysis method is not false but gives accurate result.

Krishna...I was asked to handle this argument and this was what I said...

A person's fingerprints are formed when they are a tiny developing baby in their mother's womb. Pressure on the fingers from the baby touching, and their surroundings create what are called "friction ridges", the faint lines you see on your fingers and toes. These ridges are completely formed by the time a foetus is 6 months old, that's 3 months before the baby is born! These epidermal ridges are caused by the interface of the dermal papillae of the dermis and the interpapillary pegs of the epidermis. The third and fourth months of gestation find the skin of a foetus transforming from thin transparency to a waxy coating. It is during this time the middle layer of skin, called the basal layer, begins to outgrow the inner dermis and epidermis skin layers. The buckling and folding of this skin layer is partially responsible for the unique stresses in fingertip pads that become visible as development ensues.

By the time a foetus is six months old and approximately 12 inches in size, his fingerprints and footprints are fully developed. The ridges on a foetus’s fingertips have formed three main patterns by this time, categorized as arches, loops and whorls, with numerous patterns in between. These patterns are found on the fingertips, palms and soles and are used to grasp things.  Once formed fingerprints are static and do not change with age—so an individual will have the same fingerprints from infancy to adulthood. The patterns change size, but not shape, as the person grows.

Environmental factors definitely play a role in finger print formation. The ridge pattern development not only depends on genetic factors but also unique physical condition, such as foetus's exact location in the womb as well as the density of the woman's amniotic fluid. The level of activity of a foetus and the general chaos of the conditions of the womb prevent fingerprints from developing the same way in foetuses.This can explain why identical twins have the same genetic code but can have different fingerprints. Also, there are a couple of medical conditions, such as adermatoglyphia*, in which people actually do not have fingerprints.

‘Shape & texture of amniotic sac are decided by genetics’ But amniotic fluid that soaks both the inner layer of sac as well as outer skin layers of foetus might change both the shape and texture of everything that is coming into contact with it at the formation stage. Soak your fingers in water for a few minutes you will understand and see how their structures get changed. Things no longer will be in their original shapes and textures as determined by genetics. This is where you might go wrong with DMIA. Don’t try to authenticate pseudo-science with pseudo-logic.

What is more interesting is Genes make a substantial difference in intelligence, but they are not the whole story. They account for about half of all differences in intelligence among people, so half is not caused by genetic differences, which provides strong support for the importance of environmental factors.

You must have seen very intelligent people born to very naive parents and grand parents. Where did they get this feature? From the environment, of course, they become smart by developing some of these markers of intelligence by observing their friends, surroundings they move in, reading books, moving with intelligent people, thinking differently from others and applying their knowledge to solve the problems.

So how do you correctly connect finger prints to intelligence?  When genes are responsible for only a part of finger-print formation and intelligence development? It can never be reliable!

PNThe environmental factors you explained in third paragraph will affect overall body structure and brain structure also. When one parameter affects all these in same way, the original relationships between body structure, fingerprints, brain may remain same.

 Every cell in our body has DNA record, so will a fingerprint shape! 

Krishna: All structures will not get effected in the same way by the environment they are in. It depends on the chemistry - rather Bio-chemistry of the organs. Some get effected more, some less and there won’t be any effect on some at all!

Amniotic fluid influences on finger prints are at the formation stage itself- not after they are formed. They don’t change once they are formed. Genes play only a part of finger print formation. therefore any link to DNA or genes will not be accurate..

PN: We have unique PAN No. and unique Aadhar Card No. (similar to social security no. in US). If you enter your PAN no. in government system, you can get your Aadhar Card No. and you will not get some other person’s no. Why? Simply because they both are linked together in the system. Similarly fingerprint shapes and neuron structure of our brain are linked together through a system and we can identify neuron structure from fingerprint shape.

Intelligence - there two main parts. 1. Inborn and 2. Acquired/Developed.

Acquired/developed intelligence is the intelligence which is acquired after birth by reading, observing, discussing, experiencing, experimenting, with a lot of efforts. Inborn Intelligence is the potential of the brain with which we are born. We can develop our intelligences as per our inborn potential. So, genes are responsible for inborn potential of intelligences and our actions are responsible for development of intelligences.

Krishna: You say:“Similarly fingerprint shapes and neuron structure of our brain are linked together through a system and we can identify neuron structure from fingerprint shape”

Because of only partial role genes play in finger print formation, or intelligence you can never get accurate picture! Moreover genes that effect fingerprints are different from genes that effect neurons! They are not one and the same!

“What is this - through a system”? What system is it? In what way they are connected? 

“identical twins are also not 100% identical in personality & skills”. Epigenetic factors and environment play a part in personality and development. That is why they differ.

“ You yourself say..Intelligence - there two main parts. 1. Inborn and 2. Acquired/Developed..

When genes don’t control neither acquired intelligence, nor they control fingerprint formation fully, any link would prove to be in-ambiguous and wrong.  When different genes control different organs, how can connections be made that are accurate based on one thing like finger prints?

Your logic is quite contradictory to your own arguments!

PN: All this is based on scientists' work. Some scientists did work on this.

Krishna: Who are those ‘scientists”? Where are the peer-reviewed paper citations? Just because you say, ‘scientists did that or this’, it won’t become science!

PN: You can search for yourself.

A scientist can wish for anonymity or can select his audience with whom he wants to share the data.

Krishna: No sincere or genuine scientist will hide his data or try to be anonymous. He will publish his results in peer -reviewed journals. Anybody can test them. I didn’t find any such papers on DMIA. I don’t want to waste my time anymore on this.

When you say something you yourself should also provide proof. ‘If you can’t, that itself proves your point is based on false notes'. 

Don’t try to hide behind excuses. If a thing is accurate it should be accurate. Because DMIA is based on faulty lines, it is pseudo-science.

PN: Silence.

HP - again a person who promotes DMIA- but Madam, Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Analysis (DMIA) is very reliable.  DMIA is done by analyzing the shapes of all 10 fingerprints on 10 finger tips of an individual.  DMIA gives inborn talents, basic behavior patterns, born habits of the individual.

Why it is reliable?
We all know that no two fingerprints are same.  Fingerprints are used to identify a person, because they are unique and constant in one lifetime.  Retina in eyes are also unique.  That's why some high profile bank vaults & accounts have passwords involving impression of eye retina and fingerprint.
If we observe people closely, we can conclude that no 2 humans behave in perfectly same way all the time.  Their reactions, thoughts are different.  Our actions, thoughts, behavior are governed by our brain.  So we can say that every person's brain functions in unique way.
There are three main unique things in our body- fingerprints, retina, brain.
There is high probability that these three are connected with each other.  And scientists have found connections between fingerprints and brain by observing millions of people.

If fingerprints and brain are unique, how can there be science which will calculate brain functions from fingerprints that are seen for the first time?
Every fingerprint is unique, that's true.  But they have similar shapes.  Check your all 10 fingerprints.  You will find at least two fingers with similar shapes of prints.  Its like when we make roti or chapati by hand, all are approximately round; but no 2 rotis have exactly identical shape.  So as all round rotis looks similar, all people with similar shape of fingerprint behave in similar pattern but not in exact same way.
Scientists have found these similar patterns and thus brain functions can be calculated of the new person.

Our complete behavior is broadly a combination of two factors, first is our nature/inborn brain structure which is internal factor and second is teachings of our parents, teachers, society which are external factors.  Out of these two, we can know external factor easily and DMIA can help us know the internal factor.

Krishna: Your 'reliable factors' don't add up. Just because two persons have two different patterns of fingerprints, it is what decides the personality of a person just because  they have different personalities? How? In what way they are connected?

'There is high probability that these three are connected with each other' is just your assumption  without valid proof.

''And scientists have found connections between fingerprints and brain by observing millions of people." - Who are those scientists and where are their peer-reviewed papers? 

Just because you say, ‘scientists did that or this’, it won’t become science!

Read this article : Thumbrule dermatoglyphics is a fraud company.

'DMIA can help us know the internal factor' - It can't reliably. 

HP: Silence.

PG: A person who is actually practicing DMIA -  Come to my office. I will explain all your inborn characteristics in first meeting without asking you anything, without observing your behavior.
Then share your experience.

Krishna - Oh, sure. Google my name, you will find almost all the information about me. Anybody can do this. Even I can in this internet age. I will google your name and  place you live in and most probably I will find all the information on several social networks. Then I will read all about you, try to analyze your posts, likes and dislikes on the sites and can tell 'a lot' about you. What is the big deal? DMIA? No need of this pseudo-science too. No need of even your birth-date, palm prints or finger prints or your picture!

First prove to me it is not pseudo-science. ‘Some-way connected’, ‘some scientists’ , ‘search for them yourself’, are not words that scientists accept because they denote confusion and not clarity. You can outsmart people who don’t have any knowledge about these things but not scientists who know fully what they are dealing with. 

PG: Silence.

A round of applause for scientists and the debate was over! Pseudo-science can never win because it is built on fault lines. It has to collapse when real science confronts it!

                                                                              *************

Adermatoglyphia is an extremely rare genetic disorder which causes a person to have no fingerprints. There are only four known extended families worldwide which are affected by this condition.

Recently, the description of a case of a person from  Switzerland lacking fingerprints as an isolated finding was published. The Phenotype was mapped to chromosome 4q22. In the splice-site of a 3' exon of the gene for SMARCAD1-helicase, a point mutation  was detected. It results in a shortened form of the skin-specific protein. The heterozygous mode of mutation suggests an autosomal dominant  mode of inheritance.

Other conditions can cause a lack of fingerprints, but unlike them, adermatoglyphia has no other side effects. Mutations in helicases are involved in other rare genetic diseases, for instance Werner syndrome.

 

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Replies to This Discussion

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All structures will not get effected in the same way by the environment they are in. It depends on the chemistry - rather Bio-chemistry of the organs. Some get effected more, some less and there won’t be any effect on some at all!

Amniotic fluid influences on finger prints are at the formation stage itself- not after they are formed. They don’t change once they are formed.

Genes play only a part of finger print formation. therefore any link to DNA or genes will not be accurate..

You say:“Similarly fingerprint shapes and neuron structure of our brain are linked together through a system and we can identify neuron structure from fingerprint shape”

My reply: Because of only partial role genes play in finger print formation, or intelligence you can never get accurate picture! Moreover genes that effect fingerprints are different from genes that effect neurons! They are not one and the same!

“What is this - through a system”? What system is it?

“identical twins are also not 100% identical in personality & skills”. Epigenetic factors and environment play a part in personality and development. That is why they differ.

“ You yourself say..Intelligence - there two main parts. 1. Inborn and 2. Acquired/Developed..

When genes don’t control neither acquired intelligence, nor they control fingerprint formation fully, any link would prove to be in-ambiguous and wrong.

Your logic is quite contradictory to your own arguments!

A person's fingerprints are formed when they are a tiny developing baby in their mother's womb. Pressure on the fingers from the baby touching, and their surroundings create what are called "friction ridges", the faint lines you see on your fingers and toes. These ridges are completely formed by the time a foetus is 6 months old, that's 3 months before the baby is born! These epidermal ridges are caused by the interface of the dermal papillae of the dermis and the interpapillary pegs of the epidermis. The third and fourth months of gestation find the skin of a foetus transforming from thin transparency to a waxy coating. It is during this time the middle layer of skin, called the basal layer, begins to outgrow the inner dermis and epidermis skin layers. The buckling and folding of this skin layer is partially responsible for the unique stresses in fingertip pads that become visible as development ensues.

By the time a foetus is six months old and approximately 12 inches in size, his fingerprints and footprints are fully developed. The ridges on a foetus’s fingertips have formed three main patterns by this time, categorized as arches, loops and whorls, with numerous patterns in between. These patterns are found on the fingertips, palms and soles and are used to grasp things. Once formed fingerprints are static and do not change with age—so an individual will have the same fingerprints from infancy to adulthood. The patterns change size, but not shape, as the person grows.

Environmental factors definitely play a role in finger print formation. The ridge pattern development not only depends on genetic factors but also unique physical condition, such as foetus's exact location in the womb as well as the density of the woman's amniotic fluid. The level of activity of a foetus and the general chaos of the conditions of the womb prevent fingerprints from developing the same way in foetuses.This can explain why identical twins have the same genetic code but can have different fingerprints. Also, there are a couple of medical conditions, such as adermatoglyphia, in which people actually do not have fingerprints.

‘Shape & texture of amniotic sac are decided by genetics’ But amniotic fluid that soaks both the inner layer of sac as well as outer skin layers of foetus might change both the shape and texture of everything that is coming into contact with it. Soak your fingers in water for a few minutes you will understand and see how their structures get changed. Things no longer will be in their original shapes and textures as determined by genetics. This is where you might go wrong with DMIA. Don’t try to authenticate pseudo-science with pseudo-logic.

What is more interesting is Genes make a substantial difference in intelligence, but they are not the whole story. They account for about half of all differences in intelligence among people, so half is not caused by genetic differences, which provides strong support for the importance of environmental factors.

You must have seen very intelligent people born to very naive parents and grand parents. Where did they get this feature? From the environment, of course, they become smart by developing some of these markers of intelligence by observing their friends, surroundings they move, reading books, moving with intelligent people, thinking differently from others and applying their knowledge to solve the problems.

So how do you correctly connect finger prints to intelligence? When genes are responsible for only a part of finger-print formation and intelligence development? They can never be reliable!

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