The business of progressive science

The Left is forever attempting to cloak its evil lunacies in the veil of scientific authority.  It has been doing so since Marx first claimed his socialism was “scientific”. That is why they so ferociously defend St. Darwin and his holy theorum, why they try to portray political opposition as mental illness, and why, in the end, so many of the scientific studies to which they point turn out to be pure fabrications.

Stapel was an academic star in the Netherlands and abroad, the author of
several well-regarded studies on human attitudes and behavior. That
spring, he published a widely publicized study in Science about an
experiment done at the Utrecht train station showing that a trash-filled
environment tended to bring out racist tendencies in individuals. And
just days earlier, he received more media attention for a study
indicating that eating meat made people selfish and less social….

Stapel’s fraud may shine a spotlight on dishonesty in science, but
scientific fraud is hardly new. The rogues’ gallery of academic liars
and cheats features scientific celebrities who have enjoyed similar
prominence. The once-celebrated South Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang
Woo Suk stunned scientists in his field a few years ago after it was
discovered that almost all of the work for which he was known was
fraudulent. The prominent Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser
resigned in 2011 during an investigation by the Office of Research
Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services that would end
up determining that some of his papers contained fabricated data. 
Every year, the Office of Research Integrity uncovers numerous
instances­ of bad behavior by scientists, ranging from lying on grant
applications to using fake images in publications. A blog called Retraction Watch
publishes a steady stream of posts about papers being retracted by
journals because of allegations or evidence of misconduct. 
Each case of research fraud that’s uncovered triggers a similar response
from scientists. First disbelief, then anger, then a tendency to
dismiss the perpetrator as one rotten egg in an otherwise-honest
enterprise. But the scientific misconduct that has come to light in
recent years suggests at the very least that the number of bad actors in
science isn’t as insignificant as many would like to believe. And
considered from a more cynical point of view, figures like Hwang and
Hauser are not outliers so much as one end on a continuum of dishonest
behaviors that extend from the cherry-picking of data to fit a chosen
hypothesis — which many researchers admit is commonplace — to outright
fabrication. Still, the nature and scale of Stapel’s fraud sets him
apart from most other cheating academics. “The extent to which I did it,
the longevity of it, makes it extreme,” he told me. “Because it is not
one paper or 10 but many more.” 
On a Sunday morning, as we drove to a village near Maastricht to see his
parents, Stapel reflected on why his behavior had sparked such outrage
in the Netherlands. “People think of scientists as monks in a monastery
looking out for the truth,” he said. “People have lost faith in the
church, but they haven’t lost faith in science. My behavior shows that
science is not holy.”

What the public didn’t realize, he said, was that academic science, too, was becoming a business.

Science, particularly academic science, is now a big business, and it is an unusually corrupt one that is primarily dependent upon the media and government funding.  It has no practical external limitations upon it holding its businessmen accountable. As Stapel’s example demonstrates, there is absolutely nothing – nothing – reliable about it.  This point should be driven home every single time anyone makes the absurd claim that science is the best, or the only, arbiter of truth and reality.

Here is how bad the corruption is: Stapel was actually teaching a graduate seminar on research ethics. Notice too that all of the established academics who caught wind of the fraud not only looked the other way, but advised others to do so as well.

We have a word for real and genuine science that is reliable enough to be trustworthy.  Engineering.

“At the end of November, the universities unveiled their final report at a joint news conference: Stapel had committed fraud in at least 55 of his papers, as well as in 10 Ph.D. dissertations written by his students. The students were not culpable, even though their work was now tarnished. The field of psychology was indicted, too, with a finding that Stapel’s fraud went undetected for so long because of “a general culture of careless, selective and uncritical handling of research and data.” If Stapel was solely to blame for making stuff up, the report stated, his peers, journal editors and reviewers of the field’s top journals were to blame for letting him get away with it.”