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Motives to fudge experimental data

kowalskil
Posts: 68
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3/14/2011 6:04:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Motives to fudge experimental data

I have read accusations that scientist are not always honest; that they produce reports to impress bosses, for example, in tobaco laboratories, drug companies, etc. In such institutions scientists "have a strong motive to fudge data;" they are payed to please. Commenting to this I wrote:

This observation calls for a clarification of the concept "scientist." Most often this term is used to describe a person preoccupied with an investigation in the physical world. Perhaps this is too broad. I suggest the following definition: "a scientist is a person who is not only preoccupied with physical matters but is also trustworthy." By "trustworthy" I mean "does not hide anything."

Here is one real situation. A claim was made, about a year ago, that a desirable energy-producing device was invented in Italy. About a mounth ago a prototype was actually demonstrated at Bolognia University.

http://pesn.com...

Heat was generated as hydrogen gas was flowing through a niclel powder mixed with a catalyst. The inventor, Andrea Rossi, did not answer the question about the nature of the catalyst. One of my colleagues was present at the demonstration, standing next to it. He brought a portable instrument able to analyze nuclear radiation escaping from the device. But the demonstrator did not allow him to turn the instrument on. Because of this, I no longer think that Rossi is a scientist.

How would secrecy be justified by him? He would probably refer to undesirable competition, and to possible future difficulties with patenting the device. This is understandable. Secrecy is OK, but only up to the time at which the invention is publicly announced. A true scientist would not prevent my colleague from turning the instrument on; a true scientist would provide information about the chemical composition of the powder. Rossi certainly knows what is expected from a scientist. But he also needs money from potential investors. The demo at the university was probably designed to impress them. Ethically standards in business are not the same as in science.

Ludwik
.
Ludwik Kowalski, author of "Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality." <http://csam.montclair.edu...

http://csam.montclair.edu...

It is a testimony based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

The more people know about proletarian dictatorship the less likely will we experience is. Please share the link with those who might be interested, especially with youn
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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3/14/2011 6:08:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I agree that that is what a scientist "should" be, but I see no way of enforcing it. After all, companies that have scientists (using the current definition, not the improved one) that fudge data are not going to openly admit their ways. They are going to keep pushing that their scientists are trustworthy, and if the scientist is found out to be massaging the data a bit, the company is going to pretend like they had no idea that was going on and that the rest of their scientists are of a higher ethical standard.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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3/14/2011 6:09:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/14/2011 6:06:40 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
The only thing worse than a Corporate funded scientist is a Government funded Scientist.

I'd argue the reverse.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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3/15/2011 2:02:39 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
There's the notorious Andrew Wakefield

http://www.bmj.com...

And it's well known pharmaceuticals will ghost write in psychiatric journals which makes for questionable results/interpretations.
Floid
Posts: 751
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3/15/2011 6:14:20 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Would be nice, not really a very functional definition because it is too hard to evaluate who is being honest and who isn't.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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3/15/2011 8:31:50 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/14/2011 6:04:05 PM, kowalskil wrote:

I have read accusations that scientist are not always honest

They are not, anyone who thinks they are is extremely naive, or has a very restricted view of what it means to be honest. That being said there are degrees of honesty and it is hardly the same for example to adda few references to fill out a paper which you have not fully read but are just well respected and to intentionally falsify data to produce a result in order to meet a deadline, keep a grant, etc. .
Rob1_Billion
Posts: 1,300
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3/16/2011 2:54:24 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
http://i201.photobucket.com... (funny pic I found on alfonso's page).

Just remember, when you conduct transparent science, you're promoting Communism

Bias isn't necessarily due to dishonesty; it's more in how experiments are constructed and how data is interpreted.
kfc
JrRepublican
Posts: 44
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3/31/2011 3:39:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
And, the #1 worst miscarriage of science, the most atrocious farce of science, is the 3rd and 4th IPCC reports on global warming (remember Climategate, anyone?) This one surely takes the cake.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,339
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3/31/2011 3:43:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/14/2011 6:09:24 PM, OreEle wrote:
At 3/14/2011 6:06:40 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
The only thing worse than a Corporate funded scientist is a Government funded Scientist.

I'd argue the reverse.

Most of what I have read is that the Government and Universities are strange bedfellows.
PervRat
Posts: 963
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3/31/2011 11:45:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/31/2011 3:39:12 PM, JrRepublican wrote:
And, the #1 worst miscarriage of science, the most atrocious farce of science, is the 3rd and 4th IPCC reports on global warming (remember Climategate, anyone?) This one surely takes the cake.

If, by that, you mean the farce thrown up by polluters who took an ounce of fact (some normal questions about methodology) and ran with it, then yes. Right up there with the other Republican 'science' we got from the Tobacco Research Institute.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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4/7/2011 4:03:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Very few scientists are deliberate frauds. What most often happens is that a scientist latches onto a theory and then only looks for data that justifies it, working to support the theory and ignoring evidence to the contrary. This was the case with Mann and notoriously bogus Global Warming Hockey Stick. He manipulated statistical methods until he got what he was looking for. The initial reviewers of the work all wanted the result he obtained, were not competent statisticians, and were not capable of identifying the math errors in the derivation.

Abuse of statistical methods is common in the social sciences. It is rarely deliberate. They just "adjust" the data until the expected result emerges, then they publish. I've seen this used to falsely conclude "TV causes violence" and "school uniforms have no effect." It is incompetence in support of ideology.

There are some outright frauds. They are usually either a money scheme or an errant desire to make an ideological point. Science always requires independent confirmation, so if the way to do it is not published it cannot be confirmed. It may be valid, but it's a trade secret. Patents require full disclosure in return for a limited monopoly on production. A patent can be applied for within a year of publication.

Neither government or industry scientists lie. They do rationalize beliefs.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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4/12/2011 6:49:17 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12