Nature Article: Scientific Fraud May Be More Widespread Than Previously Thought

“Nearly one generation after the effort to reduce misconduct in science began, the responses by NIH scientists suggests that falsified and fabricated research records, publications, dissertations and grant applications are much more prevalent than has been suspected to date. Our study calls into question the effectiveness of self-regulation. We hope it will lead individuals and institutions to evaluate their commitment to research integrity.” –Nature 453, 980-982, 19 June 2008 (Illustration credit: J. Taylor)

MY OPINION: External policing won’t work any better than self-regulation. Nothing will change without a change of heart and only the Creator Himself can do that. The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah once wrote … “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer 17:9 (KJV). But the good news is that God is in the business of changing people’s hearts. He only requires us to acknowledge that He exists and submit ourselves to Him.

My experience has been that anti creationists accuse creationists of fraud quite often, they are usually not subtle about it, and they almost never provide proof for their accusations. Then they often shout “libel, libel” when creationists like me dare to question scientists’ work even if I’m not making an accusation of fraud (which I have never done). But I do think scientists are human and they are biased strongly by their pre-existing beliefs. So this provides temptation to at least ignore contrary data if not commit outright fraud.

Free Bloomberg News article on this HERE.

Related to this topic, here is an interesting editorial on how academia really works by Gary North …

Academia is a self-certified guild that is funded mainly by tax money. Each year, something in the range of $350 billion goes into higher education in the United States. This figure keeps rising. So, the stakes are high.As with any guild, it must limit entry in order to preserve above-market salaries. It does so primarily by academic licensing.

The primary licensing restriction is university accreditation, which is a system run by half a dozen regional agencies. To get degree-granting status, a college or university must be certified by one of these agencies. They certify very few.

The next screening device is the Ph.D. degree. This system was imposed on academia nationally by John D. Rockefeller’s General Education Board, beginning in 1903, when Congress chartered it. He gave money to colleges, but only if they put people with Ph.D. degrees on their faculties.

Next comes faculty tenure. After about six or seven years of teaching mainly lower division classes that senior professors refuse to teach, an assistant professor comes up for tenure. If he gets it, he can never be fired except for moral infractions far worse than adultery committed with female students. Very few assistant professors are granted tenure. The Ph.D. glut then consigns the losers to part-time work in community colleges for wages in the range of what apprentice plumbers receive. I have written about this glut elsewhere.

2 Responses to “Nature Article: Scientific Fraud May Be More Widespread Than Previously Thought”

  1. lordkalvan says:

    You write above that

    ‘[anti-creationists] often shout “libel, libel” when creationists like me dare to question scientists’ work even if I’m not making an accusation of fraud (which I have never done). But I do think scientists are human and they are biased strongly by their pre-existing beliefs. So this provides temptation to at least ignore contrary data if not commit outright fraud.’

    In the first place, it seems that in one sentence you say you have never accused scientists of fraud, yet in the next sentence but one you do exactly that: if you do not regard the ignoring of contrary data and its deliberate exclusion from subsequent reports as fraud, then what do you regard it as?

    In the second place, this extract from your Lake Suigetsu seems to all intents and purposes to be an accusation of fraud:

    ‘Also, dates are typically either rejected or explained away if they do not meet the expectations of the researchers. So my question is, “Did Van Der Plicht’s AMS lab (who did Kitagawa’s tests) reject several small leaf bits as they were testing each leaf until they hit on one that roughly matched the ‘varve age’ that they were given beforehand?” I see no reason why they would not have, given the knowledge we have about radiometric dating practices.’

    To an unbiased eye, this comment from your article on Richard Leakey’s ‘bias’ also seems to contain an implication of fraudulent practice:

    ‘This is the same skull which was found in strata originally dated at over 200 million years, but the date was explained away as “excess argon” and redated. Hmmm … Why was it redated? Was it because of the fossils that were found there?’

    It seems to be the case that any findings that run counter to the creationist ‘model’ of Earth’s history must a priori be suspect and that the expectation of fraud underlies that suspicion. I think you are deceiving yourself if you truly believe you have never levelled accusations of fraud against the scientific establishment.

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    It doesn’t matter how widespread scientific fraud is. Unscientific fraud, especially among creationists, is several magnitudes greater, and more malevolent.

    Gary North complaining about science fraud is a bit like John Dillinger complaining about errors in his bank statement.

    Lew Rockwell? 1. Of the $350 billion spent on higher education (if that figure is accurate), probably less than 10% goes to any science that might be related to evolution. It’s a cheap shot to include schools of theology and business in that figure, as if there were a lot more money being spent on science education than there is. Science education in the U.S. is grossly underfunded. China and India, and Japan and the EU, are whipping our butts in science, thanks partly to creationists. 2. Accreditation is impossibly easy. Even the Institute for Creation Research could set up a captive accrediting agency and get accredited to award anti-science degrees. If you mean to condemn ICR, I’ll let you — but be clear that’s what you’re doing. Accreditation, when it works well, assures that high academic standards are maintained. I understand why creationists are opposed to high academic standards — but again, you should be up front about your true goal in complaining about them. 3. Rockefeller? Was Rockwell wearing his patented tinfoil hat when he said that? If such a board ever existed (are you sure Congress acquiesced? How? — Congress has no authority in that area), it doesn’t have much swat now, and hasn’t had much swat for the last 70, 80 or 90 years. Ph.D. programs are astoundingly transparent, with all processes spelled out in publicly available catalogs. Ph.Ds are generally granted for high-level work, but even creationists can get them. There’s no special barrier against lunacy. 4. Tenure? Is your clock running slow about a quarter century?

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