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Panel To Investigate Scientist For Cloning Claims 117

Posted by Zonk
from the did-he-or-didn't-he dept.
collegetoad writes "A panel of scientists from the Seoul National University will investigate scientist Hwang Woo-suk on whether he committed fraud in claiming he had developed tailored embryonic stem cells. From the article: 'Hwang also said in a paper published in 2004 in the journal Nature, that he had cloned, for the first time, a human cell to provide a source of embryonic stem cells -- master cells that can provide a source of any type of tissue or cell in the body.'" We've reported on this previously.
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Panel To Investigate Scientist For Cloning Claims

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  • Sarbanes Oxley? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doomedsnowball (921841) <doomedsnowballs@yahoo.com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:20PM (#14410483)
    Is this the Enron of Biomed research? Do we need better accounting (of data and methods) like Sarbanes-Oxley? Just a thought.
    • Re:Sarbanes Oxley? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@zhr[ ]gue.net ['oda' in gap]> on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:28PM (#14410566) Homepage Journal
      No. Science takes care of its own, in its own way. THis is what peer review is for. Watch! They will get to the bottom of the dispute, scientifically, and then we will see what is really there, and what is bogus. Someone's got a tagline, about having a stable society when someone guns-down a schoolyard, and the laws don't change. Same kinda thing here, laws shouldn't even be involved, as their methodology will tell all -- eventually.
      • Science takes care of its own, in its own way. THis is what peer review is for.

        Obviously peer review has failed in this case. He was able to publish his crap in reputable science journals for years and peer review never caught on. One wonders how much more crap is making it past peer review. I suspect a lot. Peer review seems to be a good old boy mechanism used by the scientific community to keep itself above public scrutiny and checks and balances. Science is now no better than a guild looking out for its
        • How do peers review it if it isn't published?

          Just because you are published does not mean that your idea is undisputed truth. Getting into the journal is not the be-all and end-all of science. Your ideas must stand the test of time, and time alone will fetter out the bad ideas.

          This case is a perfect example of the scientific process self-correcting.

          • by brianerst (549609)
            Given the facts of the matter, this isn't "a perfect example of the scientific process self-correcting". This was a fraud that was largely investigated outside the scientific process and then unravelled from within.

            Self-correction would have entailed either the peer reviewers of Science noticing such "small" things as duplicated picutures (which, when pointed out, the editors of Science claimed was a production error, when in fact it was a purposeful fraud conducted by a junior researcher at the directio

        • You misunderstand peer review. Getting published is not peer review - it just means your research wasn't bad in some obvious way (no faulty logic in your reasoning, no obviously bad methodologies used, etc.). Getting published doesn't mean that *anyone* in the scientific community, including yourself, necessarily believes what you've published is true.

          When you publish, and your critics say "that can't be possible and I'll prove it", and go on to reproduce your results, *then* you have credibility.
          • I wonder just how much results reproduction is actually done today.

            Let's face it, much of what individual research teams do is patented. The object of (most) research is to find something which can be patented and then sold by or licensed by the party that funds the research. Reproducing someone else's results is therefore a waste of research money. Even without the threat of patent infringement, duplicating someone else's work doesn't make money for anyone...

            Please, keep in mind that I still believe i

            • It depends on the field. In fields such as research biochem, where it's all about the patents, you're quite right, and the journals are *bad*. There was a /.-linked article last year claiming the accuracy rate of the data in journals was down to below 50% (mostly in area of methods to synthesize compounds). It was pretty clear there are groups somewhere publishing to meet salary review goals knowing full well their work is sloppy (or even deliberately padding work they did with an equal amount of work th
        • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:04PM (#14411387)
          First of all, peer review functions in many places besides vetting articles for publication. Indeed, it's much more important in reviewing grant applications and in how and whether your colleagues direct good students and post-docs your way, since while publications are nice, it's successfully attracting research money and recruiting good employees that really counts. This guy is getting that kind of peer review now -- and greatly to his harm. So indeed the system is functioning as designed.

          More importantly, if you're saying the system is busted because it must sometimes punish fraud after it's published, instead of preventing its publication entirely -- well, then perhaps something needs to be clarified about the nature of scientific publication. A scientific journal is not a textbook. Stuff published there is current research, not accepted wisdom. It's not meant to be archival quality, things that folks will stake a reputation on. It's meant to be the "bleeding edge" of knowledge, so to speak, the latest and (necessarily) shakiest bit of possible insight. Reasonable people expect much that is published in a journal to turn out to be wrong, or incomplete. They don't ordinarily expect it to be a fraud, but it does happen on occasion, and reasonable people keep that in the back of their minds, too.

          In fact, one of the main reasons for scientific publication is to present new ideas and data to the widest possible audience, so that people who don't know, fund, or work for the original researcher have a chance to consider the merits and drawbacks of the idea, test it, challenge it, and prove or disprove it. You might reasonably think of scientific publication as more or less a "debugging" step of a new scientific idea, the process by which you submit some newfangled notion to the rigours of a bunch of "beta testers" (other scientists) who will bang on the idea, make sure it's sound.

          You would not, I hope, conclude that because spectacular bugs are sometimes found in software at the "beta" stage this means that the authors were wrong to release it at all. Having a large community of interested expert users cooperate in beta testing your software -- think open-source software -- can speed up the process of producing quality products greatly. That's exactly how scientific publication works.
          • Stuff published there is current research, not accepted wisdom. It's not meant to be archival quality, things that folks will stake a reputation on. It's meant to be the "bleeding edge" of knowledge, so to speak, the latest and (necessarily) shakiest bit of possible insight. Reasonable people expect much that is published in a journal to turn out to be wrong, or incomplete.

            I would agree that articles in scientific journals should be expected to be possibly wrong but that isn't the case these days. In p

            • Well, that's the media's fault, isn't it? If people want to grab onto any passing excuse for a Messiah, and read Gospel in random paper napkin jottings, it isn't the fault of the scientists.

              There's no hope of reforming the journalists. These are the guys and gals who, like Barbie [wikipedia.org], think 6th grade math is hard. They're quick-witted and good at turning a clever phrase, but their minds are a mile wide and inch deep, mostly. There are exceptions, of course.

              Fortunately the readers and watchers of the media c
          • Actually, the editor of Science has said that as a co-author of a paper you do stake your reputation on your publications. Not that they are the final word on understanding something, but that what you said is honest. That is what science and scientific publications are about: stating what you have done, and what you interpret it to mean. That doesn't mean your interpretation will hold the test of time, but it does mean that you have been completely honest about what you did, and your explanations, even if
            • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday January 06, 2006 @07:04PM (#14413009)
              I don't think so. Let me tell you from 15 years of publishing in scientific journals, and reviewing the proposed publications of others, that there is no clear and sharp division between an "honest" mistake and a mistake into which you are led by bias, preconceived notions, or your personal feelings for another scientist whose work you are challenging or confirming. Scientists are human beings as much as the next person. Very few will deliberately and with malice aforethought falsify data. But plenty will talk themselves into believing that a certain dubious "correction" of the data makes sense.

              It's a lot like high-school chemistry lab, in which (if you were decently smart), you knew what the results of the lab should be. Does that affect the way in which you write down the data? You bet. You do the experiment once, and you get a result you "know" is crazy. So you say: "That can't be right, something must have gone wrong..." and you do it again. If you get the result you expect, then you tend to just write it down uncritically.

              Just expand that typical human behaviour to much more complex experiments, and you'll see what I mean. Grown-up scientists do an experiment, and they get a result that "can't be right," so they do it again until they get a result that "seems right," or they talk themselves into some kind of data analysis that "corrects" the raw data. Have a look here [caltech.edu] (warning: PDF link) for an interesting discussion of the case or Robert Millikan, who "framed a guilty man", in the phrase made immortal by the LAPD, by falsely presenting experiments that led to a correct scientific conclusion.

              The long and short of it is that the question of the "honesty" of the author of a publication is very much a gray area, and anyone who seriously just assumes that all the data from an experiment have been presented, and all the data analysis has been done in completely neutral way, without any influence of preconceived notions, is a fool. You must assume that the personal predispositions of the scientist doing the work had some influence on the experimental data reported. This isn't meant to be pejorative -- I'm not saying you assume other scientists are routinely dishonest. You just assume they're human, and may have fooled themselves or have a bit of an agenda when they present their data, and you take that into account. Healthy skepticism is the order of the day. That's why we like to see even experiments that seem completely unexceptional and from scientists of unimpeachable reputations repeated several times by a broad range of other workers before we accept them.

              I certainly agree deliberate fraud is way out of any "gray area" about the motivations of the scientist submitting articles for publication. (And that's why the punishment for doing so is far, far harsher than for simply making an "honest" mistake, or even a mistake into which you are led by bias or incompetence.) But there is no way one can, or should, draw a sharp line between completely unconscious error and semi-conscious half-deliberate fudge, and it would be a great error for anyone to blindly assume that the data in any scientific publication is beyond question.
        • How has peer review failed? Has the body of scientific knowledge been forever corrupted by this single scientist's act of fraud? Has the peer reviewing process of his research already ended without finding any problems with his data? I don't think you fully understand how the scientific peer review process works. 1000 years from now someone may show that newtonian physics is largely incorrectly, and that still wouldn't show how the peer review process has failed.
      • Actually, peer review is NOT very good at picking up premeditated, deliberate fraud by the submitting scientist. A good peer reviewer may notice inconsistencies that may require further investigation, but if the author really wants to fool the journal, they can. Even in this case, when a reviewer requested additional data, more fraudulent data was provided.

        Unfortunately, what may be the long-term result is an unofficial embargo against Korean papers by the more prestigous journals. Journals receive paper
    • Legislatures? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by IAAP (937607)
      Are you saying that you want the Legislature to get involved? The most science illiterate group on the planet?! Or, President Bush? Mr. Global Warming isn't fact guy?
  • Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vertinox (846076) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:20PM (#14410486)
    Hopefully the panel will go out and actually try to reproduce his results rather than having a political debate of whether not it is.

    His business ethics are questionable, but if there is some truth to this then they should be able to follow a scientific method in order to prove or disprove the falsification of the findings.
    • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170) *
      Hopefully the panel will go out and actually try to reproduce his results rather than having a political debate of whether not it is. His business ethics are questionable, but if there is some truth to this then they should be able to follow a scientific method in order to prove or disprove the falsification of the findings.

      2 cents, take at face value: South Korea has a significant Christian population, no idea on how conservative their leanings and what affiliation there may be to those of extreme Right

    • Hopefully the panel will go out and actually try to reproduce his results

      Yeah, but then we'll end up with another panel to investigate this panel's cloned cloning claim results. Where will it all end?
      • Where will it all end?

        It doesn't. Welcome to the scientific method. As long as someone is doubtful, they are free to try to disprvoe the results. Although I assume any further investigations will not get any press.
    • There are (and have been) research teams across the globe trying to do just that -reproduce the results. That's a vital part of science research.

      What this team is doing (if I understand correctly) is going through his lab's actual raw data to see if they have actually done the expreiments and collected the data presented.

      Another real bummer about the whole fiasco (if the results are falsified) is that the researchers I alluded to in the first paragraph may have transferred resources being used to develop ot
    • No (Score:5, Informative)

      by everphilski (877346) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:32PM (#14410607) Journal
      Hopefully the panel will go out and actually try to reproduce his results rather than having a political debate of whether not it is.

      No. FTA: it would issue its final findings next week ... doubt they are going to raise stem cell lines from human tissue in a week...

      -everphilski-
    • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Informative)

      by deacon (40533) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:19PM (#14411003) Journal
      This whole story is old news by now.

      First, the data is know to be fake. From this link:

      http://news.pajamasmedia.com/world/2005/12/15/6683 762_Doctor_Cloning_P.shtml [pajamasmedia.com]

      Roh also told MBC television that Hwang had pressured a former scientist at his lab to fake data to make it look like there were 11 stem cell colonies.

      In a separate report, a former researcher told MBC that Hwang ordered him to fabricate photos to make it appear there were 11 separate colonies from only three.

      "This is something I shouldn't have done," said the researcher, who was identified only by his last name, Kim, and whose face was not shown. "I had no choice but to do it."

      Second, from this link:

      http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article _1073161.php/Disgraced_Korean_cloning_pioneer_pres sured_woman_colleague [monstersandcritics.com]

      It quoted the woman as saying she felt 'forced' to donate egg cells, having been told that if she did not do so her name would be removed from a research document published in 2004.

      I hardly need to make editorial comment on these facts. Those without ethics will continue to insist nothing is wrong. Those of us with ethics shudder with revultion and hope the guy never works in a postition of authority again.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      If I ever met him, I'd be like "Whang Woo-Suk, you're Wrong! You suck."

      Then I'd stomp off and feel satisfied.
  • by Schezar (249629) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:22PM (#14410511) Homepage Journal
    Anti-intellectualism is seeing a renaissance, and this will only serve as "evidence" for those who decry science, deny logic, and advocate flim-flam. Despite the fact that I see this as proof that the scientific method works (they've rooted out phony research), those with other agendas will cling to it as proof that "those scientists in their ivory towers" are wrong.

    Homeopaths, naturalists, new-age healers, dowsers, reflexologists, chiropractors, feng shui "experts," et all: they use any slip of a scientist to bolster their support from those who don't know better. It saddens me, but such is the nature of the game.

    Real scientists need to stand up and denounce frauds loudly and strongly whenever they appear. Too many otherwise learned men stand idly by while charlatans ply their wares to the unsuspecting.
    • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:37PM (#14410648) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure I agree with what you posted.

      First, I know my parents trusted scientists when they said carbs were good, margarine was good and butter was bad. The homeopaths were crying foul from day one, and have been decrying the previous Food Pyramid for years. Now it seems the natural foods freaks were right/

      Second, I know that scientists are just humans like you and I -- their income depends on being right more than being wrong. Cooked books would seem to be the norm, especially when public money is at stake. Remember the second hand smoke lies that were found wrong by the Supreme Court but are still being used today to ban smoking in restaurants? These were honored and respected scientists funded by public dollars -- and they lied [newmediaexplorer.org].

      I'm guessing you'd call for licensing for scientists -- so we end up with the same high costs and low quality service we get in any licensed industry. I'm glad we have the "whack-jobs" of alternative medicine. I may not agree with what they have to say, but I know I want to see private industry competition to what is quickly becoming a public industry: science and the politicing that comes along with public funding of it.
      • Homeopaths are not "natural foods freaks". What they advocate has absolutely nothing to do with food. Homeopathy is a crackpot theory involving extreme dilution of harmful materials in the belief that ingesting them can cure illness. Sadly, the dilution is performed to such a degree that most "remedies" are just plain water.
    • You reminded me of a friend of mine. He's an engineer and his wife believes in that New Age stuff. She brings up the "scientific proof" of the "healing crystals" and other things she has. The "scientific proof" could be any bastardization of science. I remember one add the talked about the "Tachion particles" that is emmitted by their product. Anyway, it's kind of funny (and sad) to watch him squirm when she talks about those things. He used to argue, but she would just jump all over him - verbally.
      • Well, one can feel for the poor woman. Maybe she feels there's no way she can ever win a rational argument with her husband, since he's got all the goods (the training, the experience, perhaps the bulk of the intelligence). Since people hate to feel completely outclassed, when they're in a situation like this, often enough they'll invoke some kind of mystical Dr. McCoy "there are some things logic can't explain" type of argument, something which by definition isn't subject to rational examination. Game o
    • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:42PM (#14410681)
      Homeopaths, naturalists, new-age healers, dowsers, reflexologists, chiropractors, feng shui "experts," et all: they use any slip of a scientist to bolster their support from those who don't know better. It saddens me, but such is the nature of the game.

      All of these folks are vitaly important. Lets see if I can address them in turn*:

      1. Homeopaths - sexual orientation has not been proven to affect scientific ability.

      2. Naturalists - These are people who run around without clothes, right? Whats not fun about that?

      3. New-age Healers - Because after a year or two, the bottom of my shoe really needs to be replaced.

      4. Dowsers - I didn't get any money for marrying my wife, but if this practice is going to see a return, I can't complain.

      5. Reflexologists - These folks are a must, how else will we be able to develop the weapons we need to fight the Zentradi?

      6. Chiropractors - A good chiropractor sometimes costs less than a massage therapist, both give good back-rubs. Competition is good, we need Chiropractors.

      7. Feng Shui Experts - This is perhaps the most important of all, it helps keep my wife from re-arranging the furniture. "But honey, they HAVE to be arranged that way."
      • 7. Feng Shui Experts - This is perhaps the most important of all, it helps keep my wife from re-arranging the furniture. "But honey, they HAVE to be arranged that way."

        They also help bring me more money and rare items while playing Animal Crossing.
      • Actually Douglas Adams has a great essay where he discusses the possibility that man has created God in a sense.

        In there, he lights upon Feng Shui. He admits that he doesn't know much about Feung Shui, but states that humans can perform complex tasks without knowing the underlying calculations.

        For instance(and this is my own presentation of an argument originally presented by Adams), if you throw a ball at me I can whip out physics 101, perform some calculations, and in a minute, tell you where the ball is
    • Real scientists need to stand up and denounce frauds loudly and strongly whenever they appear. Too many otherwise learned men stand idly by while charlatans ply their wares to the unsuspecting.

      But just suppose the Seoul National University panel completes their investigation and it turns out he did what he said he did, then what? It's very easy to describe a scientist as a charlatan, but the jury is still out, and in this case it is a jury of his peers. Others will perform the same expeiments and try to v

      • Damn man. The co-authors of the paper have already come forth saying the guy fabricated the research. The one guy from the University of Pittsburgh said the guy just used his name on the paper - without any consultation!

        • Maybe so, but fabricated data doesn't necessarily mean that the process he used to achieve his previous results were not sound. He may have messed up his technique or missed crucial signs that things weren't exactly right. Point being, it's easy to take all this as given based on the words of others, but until the process is peer-reviewed and confirmed not to yield the results he said he got, I'm not making any judgements.
    • Real scientists need to stand up and denounce frauds loudly and strongly whenever they appear. Too many otherwise learned men stand idly by while charlatans ply their wares to the unsuspecting.

      There is no way to stop people from committing fraud. There is, however, a way to teach everyone else to be more skeptical and analytical so they aren't deceived by fraudulent folks. Deceit will abound forever -- but it need not succeed.

    • It sounds you're saying that the intellectual community has far too many charlatans, and far too many honest scientists who refuse to step up and expose the frauds.

      I don't know about you, but if 10% of plumbers were charlatans, 80% of plumbers were honest folk who kept their mouths shut while their colleagues ripped me off, and 10% were honest folk who spoke out bout the fraud and abuse, I'd feel pretty well justified in having an anti-plumber attitude.

      If the intellectual community is in as bad a shape as y
    • Despite the fact that I see this as proof that the scientific method works (they've rooted out phony research)

      This scientific method works, but not because of the reason you gave. The scientific method works because one scientist's experimental results should be reproducible by other scientists.

      In this case Dr. Hwang's research wasn't debunked by experimentation, but by his own co-authors who basically said that he just lied and made up stuff.

    • Maybe i didn't catch your point, but what is your beef with chiropractors?

      You can either take tylenol/advil for back pain relief, or visit the chirpractor (if the cause is physiological, located in the muscles of the back).

      You can even be your own chiropractor by doing various exercises to put your back in order/better shape.
    • If you've followed this story, you'll see that there's as much, if not more anti-intellectualism on the pro-Hwang side as the anti. After the "discoveries" were announced, anyone who questioned the results was persecuted. The news show that exposed ethical violations was suspended due to public pressure, and the reporter received death threats. The Korean government poured millions into glorifying Hwang, and it became impossible for anyone to question the truth of the matter. Science was replaced by pol
    • What is wrong with chiropractors exactly?

      The ones that claim they can fix any medical problem are deluded kooks, but the rest of them are incredible and very good at what they do.

      I went to one for a bad back one year. I was adjusted and he gave me an exercise routine to strengthen the muscles in my back. It's been so much better ever since, and the relief was almost immediate. I went from being almost unable to stand or walk to being able to stand up straight and walk without pain. And the funny part is my

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geneing (756949) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:23PM (#14410525)
    There were several cases recently when high profile research results turned out to be fraudulent. What I can't understand is what were the authors thinking... Yes, it is possible to get a fraudulent paper accepted, but immediately dozens of other labs will be trying to reproduce the results and discover the fraud.

    I can believe that a third-rate paper published in a third-rate journal will not get much scrutiny from other researchers. However, these guys reported major results that many other labs were trying to achieve. What were they thinking?

    • before review time?

      I'm not an academic, so I don't know. I'd be interested how professors are reviewed on the "publish or perish" rule.

      • The "publish or perish" rule itself doesn't get directly reviewed by a university. It's more of a matter of how much research that's being published and, in turn, how much grant money they're bringing into the university. If you're sitting on the same work for 10 years without any journal articles or anything to show for it, you're probably not bringing in too many grants. However, a lab that's publishing a lot is generally always working on a grant proposal for the next followup piece of work. Thus, it's
    • by gid13 (620803)
      I'm not usually much for conspiracy theories, but this one seems as likely as they come to me. Let's look at the evidence:

      1. As you say, what motive would he have to fake it? He HAS to know that others are going to try to reproduce it and crucify him for it.
      2. He claimed that he was the victim of a long-planned conspiracy.
      3. Cloning is probably one of the technologies that someone has a vested interest in keeping nonexistent, or just to themselves.

      But then again, academics are crazy, who knows.
    • Apparently this guy really believed that what he was claiming was possible. He probably thought that since there are hundreds of labs around the world doing the same thing, surely one of them will get the desired result soon, and he will get credit as the 1st one to do it.
    • these guys reported major results that many other labs were trying to achieve. What were they thinking?

      That was my first reaction. How could somebody intelligent enough to be working in this field in the first place think he could get away with reporting bogus results? There were the earlier allegations of pressuring a research assistant to donate human eggs, and then this. I'm not entirely sure what to believe.
  • by dada21 (163177) *
    A few weeks ago I posted a question on slashdot regarding scientists and ethics and was completely chewed out for it. It was NOT meant to be a troll, it was an honest question.

    I've had some time to rethink the question and instead of finding answers (via Google as well as talking to scientists via e-mail who read my initial question), I have more questions.

    I'm a free market guy -- I truly believe that everyone performs actions that help themselves first (and others, secondly, if they want to continue doing
    • "What can we do to combat humanity's deep need for self preservation in a scientist having the same human drives, especially when it is funded straight out of our pocket involuntarily?"

      Exactly what we are doing now, peer review. You think he's going to get a good research job anywhere, now? It's hurt him in his wallet/pride/etc, and that is an incentive for self-interested scientists not to game the system with fraudulent results.

      That, and to take everything with a grain of salt. Science news didn't
    • by vertinox (846076) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:53PM (#14410775)
      When I decry public funding of science, I'm blasted because people say that the free market won't pay for certain research. Now I see a more evil side of it -- and I fear that we'll see more investigations like this if I'm right. What can we do to combat humanity's deep need for self preservation in a scientist having the same human drives, especially when it is funded straight out of our pocket involuntarily?

      There can be two sides to this issue.

      1. If the research is funded with government money, it can be influenced by politics.
      2. If the research is funded with private money, it can be influenced by its investors.

      Think of it like a global warming research sponsored by a congressman who is lobbied by an oil company vs a TCO of Windows vs Linux research sponsored by Microsoft.

      Both could have potential bias and complications.

      Personally, I believe both private and public research can be beneficial. Take DARPA for example. I for one believe DARPA is the shining example of public research gone right. It is backed by public money, but often uses the private sector as a major part of its research. Take the recent Grand Challenge [darpa.mil] for example.

      So I think there is a place for public funding at least to get the ground work. After all, the Manhattan and Apollo Project were publicly funded.

      However, if you believe government funded projects are a waste of your tax money, then you can do what I do... Donate to a private non-profit research group that is tax deductible. I realized if I donate enough money to either Wikipedia [wikimediafoundation.org] or the Singularity Institute [singularitychallenge.com] I could just write off all my taxes next year. Even though I don't get more money than I would have not donating, it means the IRS will have to give me a larger refund, hence putting my money where I want it to go and not where a congressman does.
      • Great post, but one caveat for readers of the free market variety: DARPA is no winning public research wing.

        DARPA was the branch behind the TIA -- Total Information Awareness campaign. The "D" in DARPA standards for defense.

        DARPA's was recently run by Poindexter, the guy behind the Iran-Contra conspiracy.

        DARPA's in involved with spying of US citizens in programs such as "Combat Zones That See" and other "analyzers."

        DAPRA works with private industry to bring us such wonderful programs as Project Genoa.

        I wo
        • DARPA also played a pivotal role in the early formation of what we now know as the internet. Many features that we consider hallmarks of the internet (decentralisation, routing around damage) are due to the military nature of DARPA's specs.

          Just saying.
    • "Scientists are starting to scare me."
      of course they do, manyu of them do things to help the public, even at the expense of making more money, and this goes against your principle of " I truly believe that everyone performs actions that help themselves first".

      Of course, thats taement has NOTHING to do with free market, but hey, your an idiot.
      Here is an example of your idiocy:

      "Many scientists find funding through government or taxpayer-funded programs and grants. Are we dealing with the same quality of peopl
    • I'm a free market guy -- I truly believe that everyone performs actions that help themselves first (and others, secondly, if they want to continue doing what they do).

      Could that be said to those who volunteer their time to help others? Would Mother Teresa fall under this conjecture? I feel that there is a subtle issue with that perspective. Of course we are all in the business of self-preservation, but the problem with a free market is that is only self-serving without consideration for the greater so
      • Could that be said to those who volunteer their time to help others? Would Mother Teresa fall under this conjecture? I feel that there is a subtle issue with that perspective.

        Mother Teresa profited from her volunteerism: she gained the light of God from it. This was a personal feeling, no matter what anyone said. She was most happy helping the suffering -- would she do it if she didn't find a profit, even a spiritual one?

        Of course we are all in the business of self-preservation, but the problem with a fr
        • I'll get flamed, trolled or off-topic, but there is a couple thoughts to make before i step down from my box. I think it was the comment about Mother Teresa that gave me pause. Of course she is not around to confirm or deny, but I just feel that she would not put the words profit and God in the same sentence. Personally her actions were more an extention of loving acts that cannot be quantified or defined by market mentality. I read your statements and see some truth, but like a politician or skilled s
    • When I decry public funding of science, I'm blasted because people say that the free market won't pay for certain research. Now I see a more evil side of it -- and I fear that we'll see more investigations like this if I'm right. What can we do to combat humanity's deep need for self preservation in a scientist having the same human drives, especially when it is funded straight out of our pocket involuntarily?

      As a practicing scientist, I can tell you that while the self preservation instinct will tend to
      • As a practicing scientist, I can tell you that while the self preservation instinct will tend to make you take less chances and do more "conservative" science, it does not lead you to start lying and fabricating results.

        I agree with you in a free market -- competition tends to push out the bad seeds. But in a public forum, where it is nearly impossible to fire teachers, policemen and departmental workers, will bad scientists who are publicly funded also be hard to nix?

        Yes, cronyism happens, but if your wor
        • I'm afraid you seriously fail to appreciate the competitive nature of science. It is a star system something akin to what you see in Hollywood. But you don't get kudos for acting ability or charisma, but from the ideas, observations, and results that you present to the community that resonate. Your reputation will drive the amount of resouces allocated to you. I'm talking about $5e6 to $1e8 type grants collected by true players.

          I suppose at the lower college levels,university levels, and in government la
    • Scientists are starting to scare me. Many scientists find funding through government or taxpayer-funded programs and grants. Are we dealing with the same quality of people who review and allow frivolous patents and lawsuits to be enforced? Will we start seeing more scientists under review for doing what we all do in our jobs -- try and find ways to increase our pay while keeping our work the same (or lower).
      When I decry public funding of science, I'm blasted because people say that the free market won't p

      • Actually, you make one big mistake that really makes your entire rant against me sort of invalid:

        STOP expecting a double standard between scientists and 'citizens'.

        I never made a double standard between scientists and citizens. I compare and contract public workers for private workers. Public workers to me are becoming less and less human as I interact more with them. They know they're powerful, they know they're hard to fire, and they take advantage of it in subpar products and services created.

        Then you
      • You will ALWAYS find mixtures of decent, honest people in a much outweighed ratio with lying, backstabbing, climb-my-way-to-the-top types. It just so happens, for the most part, the scientific community (as well as the world) became flooded with the latter.

        wow, someone's been taking their pessimism supplements. let's have some proof. as far as i'm concerned, the bad eggs are few and far between. for every example of your latter population of backstabbers, i'm sure you can name 10 decent, hard-working

    • It is easy to point out the one or two frauds that exist, and then draw conclusions from your own personal experiance. But the system works (I know ... I live in it)

      Its called peer review. You do work. You publish to a credible journal (emphasis on credible). Editors read your submission and assuming you haven't done something stupid (depending on the journal - some excellent journals will deny good papers) your paper will probably get past them. If you f*ed up, you get caught - someone reads your paper a
    • There's no more fraud now than in the past; it's simply media hype. Anyone who has ever done review, participated in a review, or simply reviewed the literature, will commonly find `bad` science; it's normally self-evident. Fraudulent science is even worse, but tends to be exposed (eventually or immediately) due to the nature of scientific inquiry.

      Peer review is our best attempt, and I would say it works far better than patent-review, but the comparison is hardly fair. Peer review tends to be by other scien
    • In regards to your free-market approach towards people and employment, I think it is a flawed assumption. I may have some bias, being a scientist (and biologist) myself, so take everything I say with an appropriate sized grain of salt. That said, I believe that science is one of many professions where you must have motivation beyond money and personal advancement to make a career. Going the route of a PhD in any field is not a walk in the park, nor is it the most financially rewarding route. I can't cou
    • You're right. There is room for reform, but this is my appeal for not just abandoning publicly-funded research.

      But I do know that publicly-funded research is profoundly important. I have to reveal my bias - I can pay my rent and buy food because of publicly-funded research. But the bottom line is that alot of important research is just not immediately profitable (consider quantum mechanics, relativity).

      Also consider intellectual property issues. I know this first hand. I completed my master's re
    • I believe the free-market view has increasingly exerted influence all areas of our society. Not an evil in and of itself, it has reduced altruism in many arenas, including science.

      That said, I don't know a single doctor or research scientist who is motivated first and foremost by his own needs. I'm glad to say that most are still ardent idealists with a generous dose of realism thrown in for good measure.

      I believe there was a time where there was a greater emphasis on increasing our scientific understan
    • Yes, scientists are pretty much like everybody else. We're out for number one*, meaning that professionally (us still in academia) like to get big, fat grants from the government. Private corporations fund basic research at levels somewhere between a pittance and jack squat--we couldn't do basic research at all if it wasn't for government funding simply because private corporations need to turn a profit, and there is no guarantee that a given basic research project will find a way to produce some kind of
    • I'm a free market guy -- I truly believe that everyone performs actions that help themselves first (and others, secondly, if they want to continue doing what they do). I believe we take jobs in order to pay our bills, and we do our jobs with the consideration of what will keep us employed, and what will give us bigger financial opportunities in the future. I believe that employers are the customers of employees, and that is how I judge employer-employee relations.

      While this is true for some people, others

  • Trust but verify (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:35PM (#14410626)
    Female members of his team also said Hwang coerced them to donate their own eggs for his research.

    I can see him now..."Give me your eggs so I can scramble the data and we can all go down in disgrace."
  • "The hopes of many quadriplegics (like me) and otherwise injured individuals have been dashed since Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who claimed to be on track for curing spinal cord injuries among other ailments, turned out to be an apparent fraud. But I never hung all of my hopes on Hwang or stem-cell research.

    That's because scientists who study spinal cord injury, or SCI, know that it won't be stem cells or any other single therapy that will cure paralysis."

    source [wired.com]

  • Whooa... for a sec I thought some panel WANTED the CLAIMS cloned...
  • People in his position are generally heavily funded to perform what I'm sure his investors hoped would be fruitful research. If his research is flawed due to negligence it ends right there with public ridicule and disgrace.

    BUT . . . if the fraud was perpetrated intentionally, one is obliged to wonder if verification of the financial practices might not be a good idea (to go along with the scientific review of the lab's "data"). After all, it's a damn sight cheaper to invent scientific data than it is to

  • ...my first reaction upon hearing this was a sense of indignation rather than shame. Although my field is physics rather than biology, we have had out own high-profile fraudsters recently. The actions of this clown reflect poorly on all scientists, but, even worse, he has wasted the time and resources of researchers who are trying to build upon his results.

    Many people will say that this was a failure of the scientific review system, but the unfortunate truth is that peer review can do very little to defen
  • Hwang Woo-Suk? Are they forreal?
  • I'm a biologist working at a university currently as a postdoc. I don't work on stem cells directly, but have an interest in many topics in biomedical research. This situation went down exactly as it should have -- a fradulent scientist was methodically investigated and censured (officially and unofficially). Scientific fraud (and more often, inaccuracy) are generally fished out and prosecuted by the greater scientific community. There is a vested interest for all scientists to maintain the integrity of
  • Who cares if someone clones clams?
  • ...that smells this as the perfect begining of the world's first super-villan? Seriously, from the first stories about this guy till now I keep getting this mental image of some underground base twenty years from now filled with loyal "research assistants" (henchmen) and this guy saying something like, "so, they thought I was a fraud! HA! I will show them! THEY WILL ALL PAY! Release the clones!"
  • What's wrong with cloning clams?
    I, for one, welcome our new, cloned mollusc overloar...
    Oh, wait, I didn't read that title properly. Never mind...
  • Oh no! WATCH OUT PRINCESS AURORA!!!

    Wait a minute....

    nevermind.


    Being a Gen-Xer is tough, having to deal with these Force Five / Gaiking flashbacks.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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