Do you remember the famous first geneticist Gregor Mendel? There is evidence that he manipulated his data. But here is an apologetic explanation of why that somehow is not a problem:
He [Mendel] was most anxious to have his results replicated and expanded, for even self-possessed people (and he wasn’t) entertain occasional misgivings about the accuracy, originality, and significance of their work.
To achieve these goals, his work had to be understood. In comparison to his theories, of whose validity he was sure, the data were of no significance whatsoever. His task was not the one faced by the normal scientist addressing a sympathetic and competent audience, but that of a revolutionary who must break through the cognitive paradigms and social prejudices of his audience. If this larger goal could be best achieved by simplification/deliberately omitting some observations from his report and adjusting others to make them more palatable to his audience/could not such a step be justified on moral grounds?
Source - http://andrewgelman.com/2012/08/08/gregor-mendels-suspicious-data/
That is an ASTONISHING claim - "In comparison to his theories, of whose validity he was sure, the data were of no significance whatsoever."
Doesn't that sound EXACTLY like the situation which currently exists in the worlds of "climate change research" and "vaccine research"? The theories are so damned important that the data doesn't matter.
And that brings me to the ridiculous claims being made by "celebrity" scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the relationship between science and democracy:
In the video he titled "Science in America," Tyson comments on 21st-century attitudes toward science, explaining the importance of the scientific method and making the case that science denial could erode democracy.
You can read the rest @
There is a GIANT difference between denial of the scientific method and a belief that some scientists are scamming us. There is more than adequate evidence that many scientists have committed fraud. You can find numerous examples of it here:
But I'm willing to give Dr. Neil the benefit of the doubt; perhaps he is referring only to reputable scientists. I know and admire several of them, and clearly the scientific method is a valid one.
But there is something suspicious going on, and I think it has a lot to do with the money and political power which often are at stake. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
(1) Some of the greatest scientific minds of all time worked on and supported nuclear energy and nuclear weapons research. The result? The twin scourges of nuclear waste and nuclear war, both of which threaten planetary extinction.
(2) The US allegedly has the best medical system in the world, a system developed through extensive scientific research. The result? US health care system has the highest cost in the world, and one of the worst outcomes in terms of patient health.
(3) US schools use methods developed by our best education researchers. The result? US students have some of the worst educational outcomes in the developed world (tiny Finland has some of the best).
(4) Starting with Dr. Benjamin Spock, one scientifically based method after another has been used to raise US children. The result? Dutch kids are the happiest, while US kids rank 26th of the 29 countries studied.
Now, one may argue that the "science" had nothing to do with these poor outcomes. And maybe that's true: perhaps it was something in the system(s) which implemented these scientific discoveries which led to the problems.
But if that's the case, take note of this - none of these poor outcomes occurred in an atmosphere of alleged "science denial". To the contrary, most of them might have benefited from some healthy skepticism from we non-scientists - the lay people who inhabit the "democracy" of which Dr. Tyson claims to speak.