1. Joined
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    25 Feb '15 13:45
    What is the primary incentive for a scientist to lie?

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/18/haruko-obokata-stap-cells-controversy-scientists-lie
  2. Subscribersonhouse
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    25 Feb '15 14:26
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    What is the primary incentive for a scientist to lie?

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/18/haruko-obokata-stap-cells-controversy-scientists-lie
    You have to actually ask that question? Motivated to get ahead in their science field, publish or perish. You want that tenured position, you better come up with results.

    You want to support your no human influence on the climate any way you can so you attack a scientist in a totally different field.

    Why don't you do another study:

    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?
  3. Subscriberjoe shmo
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    25 Feb '15 14:561 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    You have to actually ask that question? Motivated to get ahead in their science field, publish or perish. You want that tenured position, you better come up with results.

    You want to support your no human influence on the climate any way you can so you attack a scientist in a totally different field.

    Why don't you do another study:

    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?
    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?


    Hypothesis: Scientists are human.
    Evidence: All humans lie
    Conjecture: 100% of Scientists lie.
  4. Subscribersonhouse
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    25 Feb '15 14:59
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?


    Hypothesis: Scientists are human.
    Conjecture: 100% of humans lie.
    So you lie when making a science report? I sure as hell don't. I write what I see and measure.
  5. Subscriberjoe shmo
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    25 Feb '15 15:042 edits
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    So you lie when making a science report? I sure as hell don't. I write what I see and measure.
    The question shouldn't be whether or not they lie, but to what extent?

    I often find myself "lying" about my results ( albeit unintentionally). Sometimes you just "get it wrong"

    the pressure to lie about "getting it wrong" is proportional to the individuals stock in the result. Its a human condition.

    That pressure doesn't mean that most won't come through and expose themselves, but a lot of very intelligent people are pure ego, and they need to feed that ego.

    People that don't necessarily understand, or have the capabilities to understand the work are often the ones providing the means by which you continue to work. Exposing your "hiccups" to much in whatever your doing makes those type of people weary of your performance, because they cannot understand what you are grappling with.

    I'm not saying it should be this way, I'm only saying that it is this way.
  6. Standard memberDeepThought
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    25 Feb '15 15:14
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?


    Hypothesis: Scientists are human.
    Evidence: All humans lie
    Conjecture: 100% of Scientists lie.
    You do have a poor view of humanity. I know this is hard to believe, but there are people who do not tell lies, at least with regard to their professional pursuits. Plenty of people behave ethically and, at least within academia where there are no profit related motives, I'd claim that Scientists publishing false results, for example, are in the extreme minority.
  7. Subscriberjoe shmo
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    25 Feb '15 15:371 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    You do have a poor view of humanity. I know this is hard to believe, but there are people who do not tell lies, at least with regard to their professional pursuits. Plenty of people behave ethically and, at least within academia where there are no profit related motives, I'd claim that Scientists publishing false results, for example, are in the extreme minority.
    You do have a poor view of humanity


    Look around.

    Plenty of people behave ethically and, at least within academia where there are no profit related motives, I'd claim that Scientists publishing false results, for example, are in the extreme minority


    I may be reading this wrong; Do you mean to tell me that there are no profit related motives in academia? or that there are at least some non profit related motives in academia?

    I will agree with the latter interpretation, but certainly not the first.
  8. Germany
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    25 Feb '15 15:55
    Scientists usually don't get paid directly for publishing, but most of them are on short-term contracts, and getting (high-quality) publications is essential for getting a new contract. So in that sense scientists do have a financial incentive to lie (which is uncommon) or at least to oversell their results (which is common). If you read physics publications from the 60s, they are very concise and to-the-point. But nowadays people add a lot of blah blah to make their results appear more important.
  9. SubscriberPonderable
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    25 Feb '15 15:58
    So we should distinguish a few things:

    to err - not seeing the truth, but being honest
    to lie - knowing the facts but telling people differently.

    All humasn err, and all humans lie. And to bith hyopthesis I should add sometimes

    Some people might even swear an oath and not tell the truth, but most (at least I presume) would tell the truth under oath.

    Some people lie when submitting scientific papers. In a peer reviewed journal they should stick out. I myself ask for clarifictaion if something very strangs is observed. But then if spectacular results are published some group or other will tyr to duplicate the results, if they fail we have a problem. Most scientists are well aware of this.

    In fact some scientists still lie. Some reasons have been stated. The pressure to obatin results, and more so noteworthy results. But I fear most lies are bron from lazyness and won't be on the more exciting results. Some people don't like to repeat their experiments or do the statistical minimum. They will just invent a few more data points. That kind of lie will go unnoticed most times.
  10. Cape Town
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    25 Feb '15 16:47
    The important thing is the processes in place to discourage excessive lying. When results are published they often get checked by other scientists who get some credit if they succeed in disproving the claims made. It becomes a lot more difficult when the studies involve large amounts of money, or access to materials would be a problem. This is one reason medical trials of particular drugs often goes unchecked by anyone other than those sponsored by the drug maker. Other scientists check methodologies when they can, but they can't always carry out large scale studies.
  11. Subscriberjoe shmo
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    25 Feb '15 16:54
    I just worry that people are blindly assuming that scientists are automatically given the "moral/ethical high ground" upon completion of their degree before entering the field. That kind of thing is most certainly not handed out at graduation. It is not something one can even acquire, in my opinion. Its something the ethical combatant must continually fight for, drastically outnumbered, with no other objective than fighting the war itself. Its not a war taken on by all.
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    25 Feb '15 17:54
    "Why do scientists lie?" I would rather ask: "Why do people lie?"
    Because this is a general question. Scientists are not different from any other profession.

    "Why do politicians lie?"
    "Why do lawyers lie?"
    "Why do teachers lie?"
    "Why do car salesmen lie?"
    "Why do chessplayers lie?"
  13. Cape Town
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    25 Feb '15 17:581 edit
    For some reason we tend to trust a guy in a lab coat more than a guy in a suit. Its not really justified.

    Advertisers take advantage of it.
  14. Subscribersonhouse
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    25 Feb '15 18:05
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    The question shouldn't be whether or not they lie, but to what extent?

    I often find myself "lying" about my results ( albeit unintentionally). Sometimes you just "get it wrong"

    the pressure to lie about "getting it wrong" is proportional to the individuals stock in the result. Its a human condition.

    That pressure doesn't mean that most won't come ...[text shortened]... re grappling with.

    I'm not saying it should be this way, I'm only saying that it is this way.
    Look at the dudes who reported a slight increase in the speed of neutrino's a few years ago, thought they were going faster than c. They were not lying. They thought they had done all their homework and such but were proven wrong at the end due to some systematic errors they had not accounted for.

    I wrote up a report once on a way to recover some hybrid electronics I was working on at Raytheon, some radar related circuits for the US navy.
    These circuits were small, about 4 cm x 3 cm and in a metal box that had a lid that would eventually be hermetically sealed when we finished manufacturing them.

    So there were boxes of them bad, accumulating.

    One day (before the ban on liquid freon) I had one up and operating and it was not working. We used a micro probe with a microscope to plop the probe down to the measuring points and such.

    So one day I took one of the bad ones and hooked it up and sure enough, DOA.
    I had a small bottle of liquid freon at my test station and thought maybe it would reveal hot spots in the circuit.

    So I squirted some, enough to halfway fill the little box, covering the tiny circuit board and lo and behold, I saw bubbles emitting from the circuitboard. So using the microscope, I tuned in on where the bubbles were and found a gold bond wire, almost invisible to the naked eye, shorting out some contact points.

    Take out the offending gold bond wire (maybe 4 mm long) with micro tweezers, and Boom, instant repair!

    So I dug into the big box of rejects and managed to salvage about half of them, wrote up my report and such.

    So I kept at it but then saw if I left the circuit running too long with the freon in it, the current or the heat, not sure which caused it, but the aluminum VCC tracks were being rather quickly eaten away. So I found I had to hook up the circuit, run it for only a few seconds, find the offending wire or other short and get it going again.

    I was a bit embarrassed to find that and didn't report THAT little quirk🙂

    So I was a bit dishonest, but I did get a lot of product out of that junk pile. I never told anyone how liquid freon, under the influence of perhaps heat or perhaps electric fields, not sure which, anyway, it ate away aluminum current paths rather efficiently!

    THAT I didn't report🙂
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    25 Feb '15 18:259 edits
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    What is the total percentage of scientists who lie VS those who are truthful?


    Hypothesis: Scientists are human.
    Evidence: All humans lie
    Conjecture: 100% of Scientists lie.
    "100% of Scientists lie" about what? About something in there lives? just like most people, yes (who can claim that they have never told a lie, not even in childhood?). About their research results? no. Since at least some are saying exactly opposite things, at least SOME of them must be telling the truth!
    In fact, I would go further and say most are probably generally telling the truth about their research results -Just because, unsurprisingly, some lie about that, doesn't mean most probably do! And, yes, it is human nature to lie some of the time, but not most (let alone ALL!) of the time!
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