How Scientists Cheat - Reply to Richard Grant

John Hewitt john.hewitt1 at
Sat Sep 9 02:57:13 EST 2000

Dear Richard,
Thank you for your E-mail copied below which, I note, derives from reading
my posting on BIONET Cell Biol..  In answer to your question, - no, I am not
afraid of public debate.  I would welcome it.

What I was trying to say is that I post to newsgroups likely to be read by
people interested in cell biology, or by students, who are likely to benefit
knowing about my work.  I do not expect to spark a discussion every time I
make such a posting, rather my purpose is to raise general awareness and I
post periodically to pick up new readers.  Since I post to a number of
groups, it would be inefficient to continually revisit each one.  Instead, I
suggest that readers who want to pursue the discussion should post to the
newsgroup but simultaneously copy their posting by E-mail direct to me,
mentioning the newsgroup involved.  That way I will indeed come back and
reply to them.

Given the subject matter, BIONET Cell Biol. is a very suitable discussion
group and I am quite happy to engage you in discussion there. Obviously, I
am mainly interested in discussing cell surface dynamics but I do not know
your own circumstances, interests or the extent to which you could defend
orthodox reporting in this field.

My own stance is that scientific theories should be assessed for their
ability to
predict the outcome of  experiment and for their compatibility with
prevailing, overriding theory.  In the present context, overriding theory
evolutionary theory and thermodynamics.  On the other hand, I do not accept
the relevance of unexplicated "expert" opinion or, for that matter, of
votes.  I hope we can agree these things as a framework for discussion.

As you know, in the field at issue, at least three theories have been
advanced.  That
is a fact and, as a fact, it is not a commentary upon any of those theories.
Reporting that two theories have been advanced is not a fact, neither is it
mistake, it is a lie.  That lie is also, and most definitely, a comment upon
theory the liars choose to leave out, namely the wave model.  It is an
apparent criticism
of my work but not a criticism that is open and public, it is criticism by
hints, winks and nudges.  I cannot reply to it when I do not know, I have
never known, what its rational basis is, or indeed whether it has any
rational basis at all.  I do find the technique of criticism by lying, which
these workers have used, to be unacceptable and unworthy of science.

If you seriously think there is no basis for what I am saying, read chapter
7 of my site  "A Habit of Lies - How Scientists
Cheat." which summarises the evidence supporting the wave model.  There are
four independent lines of data and argument which seem, to me, supportive
and, so far as I know, there are no good refutations, though please correct
me if I am wrong.  The other theories have been clearly refuted and, in the
form often presented, the cytoskeletal model is actually vacuous - it is not
a *scientific* theory at all.  Chapter 2 of my site discusses the meaning of
the word vacuous.

Look at this evidence.  If you, or anyone else, wants to take the other
side then I am quite willing to hold a public discussion with you - subject
to the rules of rationality. Name the place.

Finally, you suggest I have an axe to grind.  Absolutely true, but my reply
simple, "So what? If you only talk to objective people, you talk to
nobody."  In the real world, all inventors and advocates of scientific
theories have axes to grind - we are all protagonists for our own
theories.  In fact, grants, promotion, careers and honours depend upon the
general perception of those theories' success.  The issue is not whether
scientists have an axe to grind but how they grind them, how they advocate
their theory, and I do not advance
my ideas by deceit.

On the other hand, I must accept that I have given up any polite attempts to
elicit discussion - I have seen too many brick walls for that.  My main
thrust is to increase general awareness of what has gone on in this field
and, for that reason, I am sincerely grateful for your interest and hope you
will tell your friends.

I will copy this E-mail to BIONET Cell Biol.


Sincerely Yours

John Hewitt

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard P. Grant <rgrant at>
Newsgroups: bionet.cellbiol
To: John Hewitt <john.hewitt1 at>
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2000 9:04 AM
Subject: Re: How Scientists Cheat

> In article <cPTt5.6169$vo6.83328 at>, "John
> Hewitt" <john.hewitt1 at> wrote:
> > I would very much welcome comments about the site itself, especially
> > anyone
> > who could, with authority, challenge my assertions, but I will not be
> > routinely browsing this discussion group.
> Are you saying you're afraid of public debate?
> This is not a personal attack, but I would be wary of entering into such
> a personal correspondence with someone with - frankly - an axe to grind.
> This is not a comment on any of the 3 models in your book.
> Richard
> --
> Richard P. Grant
>          Sex and bugs and rock and roll

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