Sloppy Science

I think this article is worth looking at. Apparently, Marc Hauser, an important and previously powerful Harvard professor who specializes in ‘evolutionary psychology’ was caught by some of his very own research assistants falsifying data in experiments with champanzees. When they told him that they thought he had made some errors, and he insisted that his data was right and that they were wrong, they checked their own data, and his, and found that he was making up stuff whole-sale. They had the audacity to go to higher authorities and were vindicated.

A quote from this article:

“As word of the problem with the experiment spread, several other lab members revealed they had had similar run-ins with Mr. Hauser, the former research assistant says. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. There was, several researchers in the lab believed, a pattern in which Mr. Hauser reported false data and then insisted that it be used.”

When scientists or other researchers lie abut their data, it sets back all of the human enterprise, because other workers have to rely on the veracity of the work that they cite. It appears that all of the footnotes in all of the articles and books that refer to Marc Hauser’s work will have to be rethought and probably thrown out. Hauser might have been correct about a few things, but only by accident. He is certainly not to be trusted!

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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