(2010-10-05) Gray Cheating In Science

Peter Gray looks at Scientific Fraud. The purpose of science is to discover truths. Cheating completely defeats the purpose. Why, then, do scientists cheat? In my next post I'm going to delve more deeply into this question and suggest that many so-called scientists are not, in their heads, really scientists. Instead, they are stillThe word “customer” or a reference to any feedback mechanism from the customer don’t appear even once in the Holacracy Constitution. students, going through one hoop after another to reach the next level. To them, cheating in science is just like cheating in school, and "Who doesn't do that?" (Extrinsic, Scientific Method)


  • clarifies why school (Educating Kids) is a training ground for Cheating. Our system of Compulsory Schooling is almost perfectly designed to promote cheating. That is even truer today than in times past. Students are required to spend way more time than they wish doing work that they did not choose, that bores them, that seems purposeless to them. They are constantly told about the value of high grades. Grades are used as essentially the sole motivator. Everything is done for grades. Advancement through the system, and eventual freedom from it, depends upon grades... The surveys also reveal an overall increase in amount of cheating in recent years and a shift in who does most of it. In times past, the most frequent cheaters were the "poor students," who cheated out of desperation just to pass. Today, however, the highest incidences of cheating are among the "best students," the ones destined for the top colleges (College Education) and graduate schools.

  • shows the game never ends. And where does this end for Bob? At what point will he be done with hoops and become a "real scientist," motivated solely by the search for truth? When Bob becomes a post-doctoral fellow working in someone else's lab, he is still in some ways a student, still needing to prove himself so he can get a real job. Then, when he becomes an assistant professor in a university science department, there are still hoops to go through. He must publish research articles in respected journals in order to get tenure. It's "up or out" after seven years as assistant professor, and now Bob has a young family to support and "out" is not, in his mind, an option. The pressure to cheat may now be even stronger than before. And suppose he does get tenure. By this time the habit of cheating has become rather fixed. It has worked all along. Moreover, by now he has his own graduate students, and to support them he must get grants. Also by now he has a high reputation, which he enjoys in spite of his uneasy knowledge that it is not entirely deserved. To keep getting grants, to keep supporting his students, and to keep up that high reputation, he must continue getting strong, publishable, positive results. The hoops never end.

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