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Science Fraud And Con Men: Diederik Stapel and Global Warming
#1
I've been sitting on this story now for a couple of days because I hadn't located any story that would link such celebrated cases of blatant science fraud with the Global Warming debate. But I see that there is now one over at WUWT, so I'll throw it out.

What this is about is the strange case of Diederik Staple, and how he managed to hoodwink his colleagues and the rest of the science world. Yet he was totally fabricating hoax after hoax until he was finally exposed.

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTGJbRTo12v0DeAOUNFvqT...Ty0xr30mJ5]

Here's Bruce Webster's post today: How A Scientist Becomes a Con Man.

Quote:An article in the New York Times chronicles the descent of a sociologist into wholesale fraud. It is worth reading the whole article, because I believe it offers insight into some of the pressures, temptations, and self-rationalizations that many scientists struggle with.
Here is one key passage that will likely not surprise anyone here at WUWT (all emphasis in quoted text is mine):

Quote: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.

“Cherry-picking of data” is, of course, not an unknown topic in these parts. But here’s an even more intriguing passage:

Quote:Stapel did not deny that his deceit was driven by ambition. But it was more complicated than that, he told me. He insisted that he loved social psychology but had been frustrated by the messiness of experimental data, which rarely led to clear conclusions. His lifelong obsession with elegance and order, he said, led him to concoct sexy results that journals found attractive. “It was a quest for aesthetics, for beauty — instead of the truth,” he said. He described his behavior as an addiction that drove him to carry out acts of increasingly daring fraud, like a junkie seeking a bigger and better high.

And again:

Quote:What the public didn’t realize, he said, was that academic science, too, was becoming a business. “There are scarce resources, you need grants, you need money, there is competition,” he said. “Normal people go to the edge to get that money. Science is of course about discovery, about digging to discover the truth. But it is also communication, persuasion, marketing. I am a salesman. I am on the road. People are on the road with their talk. With the same talk. It’s like a circus.”

And finally how it all turned out:

Quote:…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. The committees identified several practices as “sloppy science” — misuse of statistics, ignoring of data that do not conform to a desired hypothesis and the pursuit of a compelling story no matter how scientifically unsupported it may be.

A lesson for climate science. Be sure to read the whole thing. ..bruce.

I believe there is far more to it all than this. I've spent some time now trying to uncover Stapel's politics, but haven't found anything. However, judging the law of averages, I would not be surprised if he is not a Socialist. I've yet to see a definitive study on con artists, especially science professionals, but somehow I suspect the overwhelming majority of them are political Leftists.

And I say this because the Right has several defining principles, one of which is 'Traditionalism'. This is not true of the Collectivist Left. In fact, for decades now one of the acknowledged principles of the Left, and stressed by Marx, was the concept that "The End always justifies the Means". Traditions are not needed here, because lying and deception are permissible as long as they lead to the desired end. So I would be totally surprised to find him to be a Right Winger.

And this entire culture of deceit has more than one dimension here. First is the need to be acknowledged by one's peers and others. Clearly this was the driving force behind Stapel's con man activities, just as with many other scientist frauds.

But what about the monetary rewards? And this is where the chance for fraud and deceit can easily dwarf that of peer recognition. And the Global Warming debate is a True Case In Point. There have been literally billions of dollars handed out for 'so called' scientific studies on the effects of Global Warming. And the allure of huge sums has undoubtedly led to large scale fraud within the science community.

And why not, especially if everyone else is doing it, right? And note that this very thing is exactly the accusations hurled at the other side of the issue. If someone is skeptical of such claims, all one has to do is accuse that person of being on the payroll of some oil company, or organization. Projection anyone?

But the Big question here is not that it exists, and not that it is going to be totally exposed, just as the Piltdown Man hoax was exposed. The big question is whether or not the science community, and government agencies, are ever going to learn from their mistakes and not allow this to occur the next time some sensational issue starts drawing in more con artists.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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