How Trustworthy Are Scientists Nowadays?

Most of us grew up with a positive perception of a scientist. We viewed him as honest, objective, unbiased, searching for truth, and improving every day life using the scientific method which enables him or her to be able to distinguish empirical fact from subjectivity. And when a mistake would occur, the rest of the scientific community was relied upon in finding those mistakes before publication.

It’s dream of perfection, but it’s not the real world. Scientists are just as fallible like the rest of us. Ultimate source for understanding is not rewarded, but what works and those things which are just agreed upon as what might work. Scientists face temptations of money and prestige while being constantly made sure either by rewards or other means they remain in the liberal bias or otherwise they face consequences.

A study of a scientist’s ethics which is a great concern was reported in Science Daily…

“Recent scandals like Hwang Woo-Suk’s fake stem-cell lines or Jon Sudbø’s made-up cancer trials have dramatically demonstrated that fraudulent research is very easy to publish, even in the most prestigious journals. The media and many scientists tend to explain away these cases as pathological deviations of a few “bad apples.”

“Common sense and increasing evidence, however, suggest that these could be just the tip of the iceberg, because fraud and other more subtle forms of misconduct might be relatively frequent. The actual numbers, however, are a matter of great controversy.”

Estimates of fraud in science papers hasn’t been complied very well. According to science daily, different questions are asked by researchers in various countries whose scientists are under different disciplines. So they tried to compiled the data into one focused objective which is “fraud” and the results are interesting…

Not surprisingly, only 2 percent of scientists have admitted to committed fraud or falsification, or altering when writing scientific papers.  34 percent admitted to questionable acts such as going by a “gut” feeling or contradicting their own previous data.

What they thought of their peers reveals some more interesting data. 17 percent said they knew of someone who fabricated a science paper while a whooping 72 percent knew of other scientists committing questionable acts.

Did you know that fabrication and falsification are rarely reported by whistleblowers? Why? Because it’s hard to detect, because it’s a subjective judgment. It’s also very difficult to prove if it was an honest mistake, or inserted into the paper on purpose. But we know for a fact, the researchers do know if their peers are willfully committing fraud or not when it comes to science papers.

The question remains, how trustworthy do you think are scientists nowadays? Paleontologist Christopher Beard pointed out other problems exist as well like the hype we observed with the Ida fossil which evolutionists admitted, damages the public’s perception of objectivity in scientists.

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3 thoughts on “How Trustworthy Are Scientists Nowadays?

  1. mcoville,

    I would say that Scientists generally try to be honest.

    But, as far your comments goes, I agree greatly with you.

  2. @mcoville:
    Nah, you are not paranoid.
    ID is not science because it does not follow the scientific method. And for this reason ID papers do not get accepted for publication in scientific journals, but are published in religious journals. Which sounds perfectly logical to me.

    The peer-review process helps to fight fraud, of course, among other things. But it is not perfect, and as scientists are human beings (there are ! really !) they make mistakes, and some fraction is dishonest, especially if money can be made. In my field this is not an issue (little money to be made from astronomy), so fraud is usually committed to get nice jobs and prestige, not money. Of course it does happen. And lousy papers are published because people are not paying attention.

    But once found out, action is taken swiftly, as with the Korean scientist Michael mentions. And if it is not, it should be ! If I would commit fraud I would certainly loose my job, and would find it hard to get another one.

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