Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Here are a few things I've found in my readings that I either thought you might like or I want to comment on.

  • For those who are coming to the upcoming meeting (ahem ahem cough), I would like to discuss Crime and Punishment in Scientific Research. I haven't read it yet, but I think it looks interesting and could span some lively discussion. To entice you, I present the abstract:
    Arguments against scientific misconduct one finds in the literature generally fail to support current policies on research fraud: they may not prove wrong what is typically considered research misconduct and they tend to make wrong things that are not usually seen as scientific fraud, in particular honest errors. I argue that society cannot set a rule enjoining scientists to be honest, so any such rule can only be internal to science. Therefore society cannot legitimately enforce it. Moreover, until an argument is provided to prove that lack of honesty is far worse than lack of technical competence, intentional deceit should not be punished much more harshly than technical errors.

  • Speaking of research, here's something that looks vaguely like it: a creationist research paper! Analysis brought to you by PZ Myers. Choice quote:
    It has the difficult title. It has a list of keywords. It has an abstract. There's an introduction: it contains a brief summary of the complex life history of these trematode parasites, which are small invertebrates that live in the internal organs of fish, and it promises something. ...

    Then the paper has a materials and methods section, just like the big boys — the author extracted parasites from fish and used light and scanning electron microscopy to look at them. Finally, there's a discussion and conclusion.

    Notice anything missing? Right, no results. That's a metaphor for the whole creationist movement right there.

  • Inspired by Blake among many others, I do my part to link Google searches for "Expelled" to the site Expelled Exposed. Those who want to learn information about the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (also possibly searched for as Expelled, Expelled movie, or Expelled Ben Stein) should be able to find it, methinks. Information, that is.

The picture of the notes, by the way, is from a collection of Pauling's lecture notes on quantum mechanics from the 30s. It's an intro to Hamilton's equation of motion, and I'm pretty sure I learned it the exact same way about 70 years after he delivered that lecture.


Ben said...

I would also like to propose looking at this paper about peer review from the Answers in Genesis people.