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Scientists and integrity

  1. Oct 29, 2005 #1
    It's a bit of a rant.

    I am not sure why I feel compelled to put this in the PWA section. I think the article at the bottom, is generally interesting - and I suppose I just can't help feeling that the recent actions at MIT underscore that if a certain level of competence is expected from scientists, it should also be expected from politicians.

    The skinny is this: Some years ago, an MIT professor published work with fabricated data. The data was a minor part of the paper, but it was caught by other researchers and they began to question it recently.

    The guy admitted to fabricating the data this week, and now he's been fired. Boom. Done.

    Now imagine this sort of collegial accountability existed in politics. Imagine someone fabricated data in the Iraq runup (or other situation.) Imagine one senator called another senator on something like this (or insert your favorite individuals for the scenario). It *seems* that instead of a direct conversation, what we see, is coverup, misdirection, buck - passing, and nothing gets done, really until the next election cycle if we're lucky. Certainly things drag on.

    I am glad that Libby resigned (did he have a choice?) but he is maintaining his innocence even though he has given directly contradicting statements. More to the point it took years, a grand jury, and so on - to get to where we are.

    Yeah, I realize he's 'innocent til proven guilty.' Not the point. The point I'm trying to make is that there is a high standard for behavior in science and that should apply as readily to people in political office.

    And what about all the other suspicious behavior from other politicians and aides? Maybe we should have some sort of peer review process in politics, before policy is put in place. </jk>

    Anyway, if you haven't read the story about the MIT professor, go here:

  2. jcsd
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