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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nature on science fraud

Even the mainstream journals are being forced to tacitly admit that science skeptics are justified in their skepticism about modern professional science:
Retractions of scientific papers have increased about tenfold during the past decade, with many studies crumbling in cases of high-profile research misconduct that ranges from plagiarism to image manipulation to outright data fabrication. When worries about somebody's work reach a critical point, it falls to a peer, supervisor, junior partner or uninvolved bystander to decide whether to keep mum or step up and blow the whistle. Doing the latter comes at significant risk, and the path is rarely simple. Some make their case and move on; others never give up. And in what seems to be a growing trend, anonymous watchdogs are airing their concerns through e-mail and public forums.
The reason that the watchdogs have to be anonymous is because scientists are far less amenable to having their mistakes exposed than most people are capable of imagining and the secular priesthood reliably retaliates against those who pull back the curtain on the myth.

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39 Comments:

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 1:36 PM  

Yeah. There's nothing worse than a screaming gaggle of ugly virgins with PhDs after you. It gets ugly quickly.

Blogger Scott November 28, 2013 2:16 PM  

Probably the vast majority of peer-reviewed "scientific" studies are based on errant or self-serving data. What's more horrifying is that "science" continues to reference studies well after they have been found to be flawed.

Anonymous 11B November 28, 2013 2:50 PM  

OT, but I think you can rest easy now that PZ Myers has declared the knock-out game to be a myth.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 3:14 PM  

Having proper data is important, not just for the reason that Scott said, but also depending on the field faulty data can also be life-threatening. See also: the drug Vioxx. Thankfully shit like that is much rarer.

Anonymous DrTorch November 28, 2013 3:27 PM  

Satan hates all truth, even that learned via God's gifts to man of empiricism and rationality. Thus it is the fool that says in his heart, "There is no God," and then goes on to pervert science.

Anonymous Will Best November 28, 2013 3:46 PM  

This actually plays into what Wright was saying in his latest post. They want the validation and the esteem boost without the actual work.

And they are saying the right things so what they actually do is largely irrelevant.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 4:05 PM  

I have taken care of scientific fraud many times. Or as I like to say, take the garbage out.

The best way is always anonymously without a trace. You did not make the mess, so why should you have to deal with the cleaning of it (you did not knowingly commit fraud yourself; right, RI-GHT)? Let them deal with their own bullshit on their own time.

I swooped down gently, gently, like a butterfly, with the Idle Touch.

Or as Koanic would infer, I did some "serious melonin'." Melons gunna melon.


Now since most scientists are both emotionally stunted and socially retarded, it is much easier to catch them off guard on these things. If you do it right, they should wallow and thrash about in a tar pit of fail like a woolly mammoth of the Pleistocene, as you chuck spears of win at them.

Happy huntin'.

Anonymous kh123 November 28, 2013 4:42 PM  

Though the reasons given for why the fudge factor perpetuates (the grant system; the monumental costs of legally challenging fraud) are probably the bigger and more relevant picture, one thing came to mind when reading this:

"Together, [Pitt & Hill] pored over data that [the suspected fudger] Bishayee had hand-recorded from a machine that counts cells. The duo also gathered larger control data sets from others who had used the same machine. Pitt looked at the frequency of the numbers appearing as the least significant digit of each recorded count. These should have a random distribution, but Bishayee's data seemed to favour certain numbers. Pitt calculated the odds of those frequencies arising by chance as less than 1 in 100 billion. In Hill's view, the implication is clear: Bishayee made the numbers up."

Less than a chance in a billion. Now, where have I heard similar odds before... Ah, that's right, the PZ Butterfly Collectors' Society, otherwise known as the biology department.

Money and covering one's collective professional backside are the bigger motivators I'm sure. But have to wonder if being steeped in the whole Urslime narrative for how many decades has softened the minds of those in the Uni and biology circuit enough to be blind to actual improbabilities - that is to say, fraud. Enough McDonalds and you'll never be the wiser for a filet mignon.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 5:09 PM  

In Hill's view, the implication is clear: Bishayee made the numbers up."

See, this is exactly where she went wrong.

Your view or probability of events does not mean shit. Unless you have hard, concrete, evidence, let it go.

That's why combining the analytical + anonymous styles from the article is the best way to bust the dust. And don't be a complete ass like Francis in the article either. For anonymous complaints, make sure it is accurate.

Blogger Heuristics November 28, 2013 5:13 PM  

Is science self correcting?

It appears that it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming over the course of several years to be corrected.

http://retractionwatch.com/2013/11/27/at-long-last-disputed-dance-study-retracted-from-nature/

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 5:15 PM  

So to recap:

Analytical + anonymous styles = best way to bust the dust.
Anonymous without a trace = best way to deliver the dust payload.

So sayth the Spectation of Idle.

Blogger kurt9 November 28, 2013 5:28 PM  

Two of my best friends are scientists who were in the academic/government funded science milieu before they got out. They can give you chapter and verse about how most scientific papers are either the result of biased, sloppy research or outright fraud. This has been going on for at least two decades. Vox, you're not telling us anything new here.

Anonymous kh123 November 28, 2013 5:28 PM  

"See, this is exactly where she went wrong."

Had figured the use of Quixotic was tongue-in-cheek. $200K into the matter; would figure that in most cases and with that much personal green involved, something was physically seen at some point by a reasonable person to be very wrong - in this case, the purported initial viewing of slides that apparently had nothing in them...

But then there was the one quote: "I don't think my children are too happy with my having lost that much money, but..."

Will admit, that was a bit of a red flag.

Anonymous kh123 November 28, 2013 5:38 PM  

...And my own shortcoming: I keep seeing this through the lens of how paleo dept's usually work. Which in and of itself wouldn't be worth noticing, same as Marxism as a concept in economics - on its own, it would collapse for its inability to perform anything useful or workable. It's how the narrative and gloss go into hoisting it over various other areas, some of which it has very little overlap with, but influences nonetheless. Which I don't think is accidental, especially at Unis.

But not all areas of science are fetishized or as inept as it. So, point taken.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 5:45 PM  

Helene Hill thought she was nearing retirement in 1999 when, one day, she decided to take a peek at a lab mate's culture dishes.

Yeah, see, she was 70 when this happened. That's what you missed.

Hill would spend the next 14 years trying to expose what she believes to be a case of scientific misconduct. University panels, the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and two courts of law have evaluated and dismissed her concerns.

84 years old. She's a science version of the "get off my lawn, you damned kids!" Except this is a bacterial lawn. "I'm going to catch you with my binoculars doing something bad!"

Anonymous Greg November 28, 2013 5:46 PM  

Once again proving that mathematics is Queen of the sciences.

Anonymous Tropic of Outrage November 28, 2013 5:58 PM  

"84 years old. She's a science version of the "get off my lawn, you damned kids!" Except this is a bacterial lawn. "

In a proper society, one would not have to tell people to get off their lawn because civilized people would not be on the lawn without permission.

Its the leftist mindset mocking private property rights. This permissive attitude is destroying America.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 November 28, 2013 6:05 PM  

Greg. All questions/ ALL QUESTIONS, are epistemology. Theology is King of Sciences - it has to be because it includes everything.

With Darwinism there's nothing to refute [see Karl Popper again] It's just religion through and through. Similarly how many control variable experiments can you run in cosmology. An None.

Through deduction/ induction and axiomatic reasoning. Jesus is who He said He is. Just the beginning of sciences really.

OpenID simplytimothy November 28, 2013 6:17 PM  

I just finished Perelendra and I have this jotted down in some notes I took thinking it timely as it applied to the I.D. and AGW debates. It seems apropos as a comment here.

C.S. Lewis Perelandra Chapter 7... the protagonist Ransom is talking with the soon-to-be Un-Man possessed Weston who refers to the Devil as "The Life-Force".


My Dear Ransom, I wish you would not keep relapsing on to the popular level. The two things are only moments in the single, unique reality. The world leaps forward through great men and greatness always transcends mere moralism. When the leap has been made our 'diabolism' as you would call it becomes the morality of the next stage; but while we are making it, we are called criminals, heretics, blasphemers..."

"How far does it go? Would you still obey the Life-Force if you found it prompting you to murder me?"

"Yes."

"Or to sell England to the Germans?"

"Yes."

"Or to print lies as serious research in a scientific periodical?"

"Yes."

"God help you!" said Ransom.



I laughed when I read that thinking of the opprobrium leveled at Christians for being 'anti-science', and here, Lewis used integrity in research as an example of right Christian behavior.


Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 6:18 PM  

In a proper society, one would not have to tell people to get off their lawn because civilized people would not be on the lawn without permission.

In a proper society, no one ever shoplift either!

Its the leftist mindset mocking private property rights. This permissive attitude is destroying America.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I'm sad that people drive drunk...

Anonymous kh123 November 28, 2013 6:22 PM  

"Yeah, see,..."

WWMS - What Would Mulder Say. "70. Look out Lee Harvey."

"84 years old. She's a science version of the "get off my lawn, you damned kids!""

See, this is more in keeping with the character. Go with it.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2013 November 28, 2013 6:23 PM  

Science in action: In the breath taking blink of an eye a real turkey evolves into a plastic one because that's what people want to see - a fake conservative exposed - that suits the progressive agenda - it is their narrative and nothing like reality counts - but the real reality, the true truth: a bird in the bush is worth any two hands of progressive clapping.

Anonymous Tropic of Outrage November 28, 2013 6:30 PM  

"I'm sad that people drive drunk..."

Science also tells us that as many people get killed in accidents involving distracted drivers (yapping, texting) as by drunkards.

These violators need to be excoriated with extreme prejudice.

Not that this has anything to do with the topic, but it is an outrage.

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 28, 2013 6:48 PM  

Not that this has anything to do with the topic, but it is an outrage.

It is an outrage. And why do coupons not come pre-clipped? Outrageous.

Anonymous Idle X November 28, 2013 7:02 PM  

"Yeah, see,..."

WWMS - What Would Mulder Say. "70. Look out Lee Harvey."


The truth is out there! Over 10 frauds stopped and counting. I'm usually the uninvolved bystander mentioned in the article. Of course it helps with my gastronomical IQ.


"84 years old. She's a science version of the "get off my lawn, you damned kids!""

See, this is more in keeping with the character. Go with it.


The line in the article about her not knowing how to use a particular microscope made me laugh. With the aging added in to the emotional stunting and social retardation already there, I feel sorry for some of these universities trying to send these science cows out to pasture. Especially if they have tenure.

"No, we don't use slide rules anymore."
"Yes, the lecture can be viewed on YouTube."
"My windows thing did not work!"
"Did you try turning it on?"
"Oh..."

Anonymous MendoScot November 28, 2013 8:36 PM  

I laughed when I read that thinking of the opprobrium leveled at Christians for being 'anti-science', and here, Lewis used integrity in research as an example of right Christian behavior.

Indeed. The only functional defense I know of science as exceptionally self-correcting is in it's Christian roots.

Anonymous YIH November 28, 2013 10:39 PM  

After tying the Vikes this past Sunday (ouch) the Packers got absolutely destroyed by the Lions. Stick a fork in 'em - they're done.

Anonymous Gen. Kong November 28, 2013 11:35 PM  

What's a banksta to do anymore? With the chance of cow-fart derivatives floating away faster that a puff of Bernanc's cigar smoke thanks to the rocket-scientists who constantly get caught cooking the books, things might start getting hard. If the Ministry of Truth will subliminally repeat the AGW mantra day after day, year after year, the idiocracy will soon accept as a given gospel truth, as they presently accept feminism and anti-rayciss. Now we all need to get together and repeat the scientific shahadah:

There is no truth but warming, and AlGore is its profit!

There is no truth but warming, and AlGore is its profit!

There is no truth but warming, and AlGore is its profit!


Anonymous Anonymous November 29, 2013 12:22 AM  

**"How far does it go? Would you still obey the Life-Force if you found it prompting you to murder me?"

"Yes."

"Or to sell England to the Germans?"

"Yes."

"Or to print lies as serious research in a scientific periodical?"

"Yes."

"God help you!" said Ransom.**

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2007/02/mailvox-sharpening-knives.html

Anonymous Manatee November 29, 2013 3:56 AM  

Just love the unmitigated deconstruction of all secular paradigms. So much safer than the early days....W. Wallace. Keep your guts and eviscerate the opposition through bouncing electrons in a wireless mystery.

Blogger Lud VanB November 29, 2013 7:51 AM  

"Is science self correcting?

It appears that it needs to be dragged kicking and screaming over the course of several years to be corrected."

when was the last time Christians corrected their bible?

Blogger Lud VanB November 29, 2013 7:54 AM  

"With Darwinism there's nothing to refute [see Karl Popper again] It's just religion through and through. Similarly how many control variable experiments can you run in cosmology. An None."


of course there is...if you can demonstrate that humans are not related to other great apes you will have falsified Darwin

OpenID simplytimothy November 29, 2013 8:07 AM  

@Anonymous.

A few quick points.

Ransom's reaction is quite correct--as is Vox's post. Christians do obey God; However, we don't always like it and what we call 'The Old Man' naturally rebels against it.

Christians not liking what God is up to is a common theme of the Bible. He uses that 'disconnect' to train us in his ways; See Lot's pleading for the righteous of Sodom or Christ's healing the priests ear after Peter cut it off with his illegal assault weapon, Job coming to terms with the worthlessness of his flesh.

Lewis gives us an example of this dilemma in Perelandra where Ransom concludes--against his initial horror at the idea and several paragraphs of debate about it-that God expects him to physically kill the Un-Man. (I must interject, the story of two physically weak men fighting to the death is a good read--imagine a Seinfeld episode where God tells George that he must kill Newman)

Finally, what struck me about Ransom's reaction, was the progression of questions. Assuming (as I do) that one gets a feel for a persons character by starting with small sins--like breaking the rules of a blog by posting Anonymously--and working towards large ones) its interesting that the progression is Murder <Treason < Scientific Misconduct. If those relationships where true to Lewis, then it is amazing how much moral sentiments have changed since the mid 20'ths century. My ranking of those is the exact opposite of Lewis'. I am rethinking my stance on that now.

So Un-Poster, we see from the Bible and from Perelendra that killing someone is sometimes Gods will.

Anonymous BillB November 29, 2013 10:24 AM  

The layperson believes peer review has some meaning. It does not. It simply means some other folks with similar degrees and background read through your paper and say yea or nay. BUT as in most small communities, these folks all know each other and more often than not give each other a pass. AND when someone is on the outs, these same peers will review with a vengeance keeping out good research simply because of a dislike for the author.

Federal laws keep some folks silent for fear of commenting and getting sued.

And altering data is nothing new. A research aide I knew in the 70s had a boss who was highly published but who made his workers use pencil to keep data notebooks. She found him altering numbers. I know of a number of research scientists who simply would look at a plot of data and throughout outliers without any statistical evidence.

In the earlier 70s, money for a lot of research was plentiful. Then the need to publish or perish expanded and folks began to lie for the bucks.

I know a research scientist who is the most cited researcher in the world. Why? He published over 700 papers, most only a page or so long, and a dozen books in 20 years. But that isn't why he was the most cited. He was most cited because he made sure to cite himself in every subsequent paper. And his work was not top notch. I sometimes spoke with those performing the duties and found they knew little about data collection and information gathering so that their work could be substantiated by others. This guy simply knew the system and abused it.

So what do you want when non-science folks run the place and push the science folks to make our U or college "famous"?

How much honor is there among folks in regular life? Expect any more among those who think they are at the top?

Anonymous BuhlScat November 29, 2013 10:42 AM  

This is why it is hard to believe any research. But it has been so for a very long time. Looking at the source of the funding or the real purpose behind why the research was done is always critical. It seems that rarely is honest curiosity or for "science", the actual reason behind research. Someone has the money, and a motive.

Anonymous Jones101 November 29, 2013 1:22 PM  

Lud VanB what evidence would you accept that they aren't related? Lack of a clear intermediary? Lack of fossil examples of clear intermediaries? Inability to cross breed? If every 'missing link' was declared definitively to be great ape, human, or fraud would you accept that as evidence of no connection, or would you simply say 'the missing link is yet to be discovered'.

The example of a rabbit in cambrian layer is often cited as something that would disprove evolution, but the reality is there are many examples of species being found tens or hundreds of millions of years before they were thought to exist, only to have their origin date subsequently reclassified. The only prediction about the fossil record which evolution predicts is that there would be transitional species between every other species, no prediction is made as to when any given species appears, or the specific relationship between any species. (i.e. even if no connection between great apes and man was found, it could still be argued that man evolved from another more distant common ancestor of great apes and man). The transition species have not been found, the one prediction which was made, and yet evolution carries on.

Blogger Lud VanB November 29, 2013 3:53 PM  

"Lud VanB what evidence would you accept that they aren't related? Lack of a clear intermediary? Lack of fossil examples of clear intermediaries? Inability to cross breed? If every 'missing link' was declared definitively to be great ape, human, or fraud would you accept that as evidence of no connection, or would you simply say 'the missing link is yet to be discovered'."

Well, humans and other great apes share a pronounced similarity in morphology, anatomy, genetic and even in behavior as well as point of origin (in this case Africa). falsifying one or more of those would certainly be a good start.

"The example of a rabbit in cambrian layer is often cited as something that would disprove evolution, but the reality is there are many examples of species being found tens or hundreds of millions of years before they were thought to exist, only to have their origin date subsequently reclassified. The only prediction about the fossil record which evolution predicts is that there would be transitional species between every other species, no prediction is made as to when any given species appears, or the specific relationship between any species. (i.e. even if no connection between great apes and man was found, it could still be argued that man evolved from another more distant common ancestor of great apes and man). The transition species have not been found, the one prediction which was made, and yet evolution carries on"

whoever told you that no example of transitional fossils has even been found was sadly misinformed. I would direct you to the writings of Kenneth Miller if you wish to know more on that subject. And it would not be possible to reclassify a bunny rabbit fossil as being over 3.5 billion years old and still maintain the integrity of the theory of evolution...at least not as far as I m concerned.

Anonymous David of One November 30, 2013 1:28 PM  

Science Fraud or Science Stupid?

"Top Scientist" claims humans emerged after chimp had "sex" with a pig. I have little doubt this "Top Scientist" will point to the data. A more important question is then the "science".

Maybe he is just a wannabe pig humping chimp.

Blogger Lud VanB December 01, 2013 12:35 AM  

Read his paper on the subject. His argument does't hold water

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