Scientists Cheat! - reply to Mantel
john.hewitt1 at virign.net
Wed Oct 6 15:35:46 EST 1999
Dear Prof. Mantel,
Thank you for perusing my site "A habit of Lies,"
and for your comments about it. They are replicated at the bottom of this
posting. I have to say, I find your comments rather emollient and notably
inconsistent. Do not get me wrong, I do not doubt your aims and, like you,
I attach great importance to the ship of science. Honestly, I am not out to
sink it, I just think the sailors should trim this vessel a bit better.
You seem to grant that workers in the capping field have behaved in a
political way but you seem to approve of that. O.K. you're entitled to
think that and O.K., so science is big business, which is always political,
yes, but who said politicians and big business were free to lie? Is big
science free to lie? Then you more or less accuse me of acting politically
but now you have chnaged, now you disapprove. O.K., you're entitled to that
opinion too, but it is inconsistent and unfair. In fact, I have been very
patient and my review is truthful. The reports in the scientific literature
are not truthful, and I do not accept that sitting back and doing nothing
will lead to science taking its course. I think it will lead to more lies.
You quote Schopenhauer's well rehearsed comments about new knowledge but you
forget that he was not a philosopher of science. In any case, those views,
and also his general pessimism about human nature, were in no small part a
reaction to the conduct and performance of his own former Professor, Hegel.
His comments were despairing and he did not, in any way, approve such
In any case, Schopenhauer was an irrationalist, science isn't. Scientific
logic is generally discussed in terms of rationality and the thought of Karl
Popper - such things as truth-telling, the principle of sufficient reason,
the principle of contradiction, falsificationism etc. One can hardly claim
adherence to those paradigms and at the same time approve the disregard of
criticism, the suppression of alternative opinion and repetitive lying in
the scientific literature.
I am, in fact, grateful for your interest and comments, but they will not
do. One should not respond to concrete issues with ameliorative
generalities from Schopenhauer or anyone else. And sure, as you say, data
matters, but I have no time for random data collection. Data matters
because it can be used to decide between theories. Crucial data is crucial
because it distinguishes between alternative theories and one needs a
background of criticism of those theories to judge cruciality (if that is a
word.) Thus one must understand alternative theories, and one must also
respect criticism of one's own ideas. Such things should not simply be
brushed aside, they should seriously addressed with attention to the data in
hand and the data that might be gathered.
So, I accept your emphasis on data, but did you read chapter 7? You do not
comment on the data there, or even hint as to why you feel, as you seem to,
that it is inadequate. That is not a basis on which anyone could go off and
gather still more data. To know what data might be needed, one must know
where and why the present data set might seem inadequate.
But all this is politically irrelevant. In the present climate, nobody
could contemplate further studies conceived with the wave model in mind.
They would face a real possibly of character assassination and of being
unable to report their work, they certainly could not expect to be listened
to. Changing this climate is the underlying purpose of my present activity.
It will have succeeded when dissenting studies can get a hearing, and be
published, without being simply patronised or censored out of existence. It
will have succeeded when students of cell biology can go to their libraries
and learn the truth as easily as they can learn falsehoods. Call that aim
political if you like but I see nothing wrong with it and we are far from
that day yet.
crm <centriole at hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:37F6B8FE.3D4B9548 at hotmail.com...
> Dear Dr. Hewitt:
> I have perused your web site, especially the appendix where you have
> your corrospondence, and I "do" understand your frustration in not getting
> recognition you may deserve. However, my "advice" to you is that if you
> spend as much time and effort on experimentation as you have expended in
> to coax the scientific establishment into giving you your due, you perhaps
> have already obtained the hard scientific evidence needed to prove or
> the validity of the wave hypothesis. I am not trying to be adversarial,
> be genuinly supportive. The realworld truth, however unfortunate, is that
> science is big business, and big business is always highly political. The
> way to overcome the politics of science is to weild the battleaxe of data.
> you have the proof of data, no one can ignore you. They may complain
> interpretation, but the data is the data. Antidogmatic hypotheses
> are always shunned. And this is as it should be. It "should" be
> new contenders to accepted views to become accepted. This keeps science
> salient. It has been said that the reception of an original contribution
> knowledge may be divided into three phases: 1) the idea is ridiculed as
> true, impossible, or useless; 2) people will then say that there may be
> something to the idea, but it would never be of any use; 3) when the idea
> recieved general recognition, there are always those who say that it was
> original and was expected, or even anticipated by others. Therefore, I
> Theobold Smith: "The joy of research must be found in doing, since every
> harvest is uncertain." Just remember what Michael Faraday said: "The
> truth never fails ultimately to appear: and oposing parties, if wrong, are
> sooner convinced when replied to forbearingly than when overwhelmed."
> Hence, I suggest to you, Dr. Hewitt, that since you cannot at this time
> overwhelm your opossition with data, you must take the forebearing
> your hypthesis is indeed correct, you will ultimately prevail. You should
> refuge in this knowledge. Be patient. Forget the politics and let
> its course, however circuitous. Even if your hypthesis is wrong, revel in
> knowledge that you contributed to the process.
> Charlie Mantel
> Indiana University
> cmantel at iupui.edu
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