Cautionary tales from the front lines of science

| 45 Comments

I teach a short unit on scientific ethics in my senior design class, so when I was offered a review copy of the book, On Fact and Fraud, by David Goodstein, I took it. The title of this essay is in fact the subtitle to Professor Goodstein’s book.

The book is composed largely of essays that Goodstein had published elsewhere, and the cautionary tales are mostly from physics. Among other anecdotes, Goodstein discusses Millikan’s oil-drop experiment, cold fusion, the case of Jan Hendrik Schön at Bell Laboratories, a little-known case where a Caltech postdoc apparently falsified a figure in a paper, and the successful discovery of high-temperature superconductivity.

Two of these, it seems to me, are not exactly cautionary tales. The Millikan story, I thought, belonged more in a history-of-science book than in a book that claims on the dust cover to be “a user’s guide to identifying, avoiding, and preventing fraud in science.” Indeed, the only protagonists I would caution in the Millikan chapter are the reporters who may have tried too hard to find misconduct where none existed. And I found nothing cautionary in the tale of high-temperature superconductivity. Schön presumably faked his data, and Pons and Fleishmann, the “discoverers” of cold fusion, presumably did not; Goodstein makes much of these tales, as well as the story of the postdoc.

Early on, Goodstein presents 15 precepts for preventing scientific fraud – then demolishes every one of them. He briefly discusses the etiology of scientific fraud and notes that most people who commit fraud probably think they are right, because if they were wrong they would almost certainly be discovered. So, as he says, they think they are reporting truths but have dispensed with all the messy experimentation that other scientists think is important. Unfortunately, he can give no prescription for preventing scientific fraud.

Goodstein observes that scientific fraud is associated with three risk factors: career pressure, but rarely what he calls “simple monetary gain”; “knowing” the answer; and working in a field where precise answers are hard to come by. I think he may have left one or more out: working in a laboratory in which the principal investigator is not involved in day-to-day supervision, and possibly working for a sponsor who has a vested interest in the outcome. Pertinently to readers of PT, he does not discuss, for example, intelligent-design creationism (nor HIV denial nor global-warming denial), which is arguably an example of scientific fraud.

Unfortunately, much of the action today, both in fraud and in science, is not in physics but in biology or medicine. It is too bad, then, that Goodstein did not include such cases as that of Woo-suk Hwang, whose papers contained fabricated data and who was additionally convicted of related crimes, or Andrew Wakefield, whose disastrous paper on the MMR vaccine had to be withdrawn. Indeed, Goodstein notes that most instances of scientific fraud involve biomedicine, possibly, he thinks, because MD’s are not as well trained in research as are PhD’s (but see also his third risk factor). Goodstein, perhaps wisely, perhaps not, follows the adage to write about what you know. What he knows includes Millikan, some of the protagonists involved in cold fusion, high-temperature superconductivity, and Caltech. I liked the book, but I thought that it would have been better if he had gone a little farther afield.

45 Comments

I am a third year post-doc and I have to say, that I have personally been both a 1st and 2nd hand witness to scientific fraud.

1st. In my grad school lab, we had one student completely fake her PhD. And when she was confronted, she would only show the general assay in front of people, and pulled the bait and switch on the direct NMR assays.

2nd. Our collaborates in grad school, were the ones that discovered that Hellinga’s denovo enzyme design of TIM was the result of poor experimental purification (A. not using a knock-out strain of e. coli and B. not using an gradient purification of the denovo enzyme) But the really suspect thing for me about this was, If you read Helinga’s now retracted paper, the kM for his denovo TIM is all most exactly that of e. coli’s TIM, but surprisngly enough, e. coli TIM’s (probably the most studied TIM) kcat and kM was not listed in the paper (something that was obvious to do), which indicates to me that he knew. Especially in light of the way he through the grad student who did this work under the bus when this retraction went down. Luckily for her, she kept copies of 1. her notebooks and 2. notations of her objections to the publication in the first place.

Anyways, these experiences made we want to right a book on this exact same topic, but I have neither the time nor motivation …/sad panda.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15218149

The paper with the listed retraction

*when a non-ecoli enzyme is purified from e. coli that also has that function in e. coli, having the non-ecoli enzyme’s kM match the one from e. coli combined with a week kcat is a very strong indicator of e. coli enzyme contamination.

One shouldn’t forget plagiarism:

An Academician Who Plagiarized

In 2001, someone reported to Fang Zhouzi a plagiarism case involving a famed Academician of the Chinese Academy of Science, Professor Yang Xiongli (杨雄里). In 1998, Yang published a review article in Chinese, which is almost verbose of an earlier published review by Eric Newman and Andreas Reichenbach, “The Muller Cell: A Functional Element of the Retina” in Trends in Neuroscience, 1996.

To be sure, Fang Zhouzi did a thorough analysis of the two articles and concluded that it was indeed a blatant plagiarism. Yang’s article has 14 paragraphs, 11 of which were either entirely or almost entirely copied from Newman and Reichenbach. In the few cases that Yang tried to make adjustment to the text, he actually misrepresented the original meaning. The details of the analysis can be seen here.

Professor Yang did not respond to the charge himself. His students published an open letter defending his character and laud his achievements. But the only defense to the plagiarism charge they had was that the original article was cited in Yang’s article, albeit near the end.

The case was never investigated by any authority. Fang Zhouzi raised this case again earlier this year when a professor from Fudan University, Yang’s school, asked the public to report fraud cases. But he has received no response.

Earlier this month, Fudan University did hand down punishments on three fraud cases in the school. Yang Xiongli’s was not among them.

What, no Blondlot? No Piltdown?

Peer review is good for catching errors, but the the ultimate scientific quality check is reproducibility. In the n-ray case, for example, what made the folks at Nature suspcious was when several teams of scientists tried umpteen times to repeat the experiment and it just never gave the expected result.

Fast, independent repetition may not prevent fraud, but it’ll help reveal to the scientific community that we have a problem fairly quick. And it may have a deterrent effect on potential fraudsters to know someone’s going to repeat their experiment and compare the results right away.

Interestingly, there are almost no cases of scientific fraud in the field(s) I work in … because these fields (methods of phylogeny inference and theoretical population genetics) are theory. The reader can, in principle, follow the proofs line by line. I can think of one major researcher who used to drive everyone crazy by publishing theorems and saying that the proofs would be in a later paper. He never did publish most of those proofs, but when others have tried to verify the theorems, they have been able to reconstruct them, and yes, his theorems were in fact correct.

There are of course cases where people made exaggerated claims about the importance of their results, and of course lots of cases where they used incorrect methods and got wrong results. But in the latter cases they honestly believed in their results.

Joe Felsenstein said: when others have tried to verify the theorems, they have been able to reconstruct them, and yes, his theorems were in fact correct.

See, reproducibility detects not-a-fraud, while…

There are of course…lots of cases where they used incorrect methods and got wrong results.

…peer review is good for catching errors. :)

Then there’s pier review, which helps keep people from missing the boat…

Matt,

I would point out that this is not really correct:

Pertinently to readers of PT, he does not discuss, for example, intelligent-design creationism (nor HIV denial nor global-warming denial), which is arguably an example of scientific fraud.

None of these examples (ID creationism, HIV denial, global-warming denial) are based on science but on preconceived ideas. None of them reach their conclusions based on data collection, the scientific method, or peer reviewed publishing. Denial of these aspects of science is political, religious, social, and financial in nature. Fraud, yes, but not scientific fraud. A discussion of them would be appropriate for your scientific ethics class, as none of them are ethical and all make claims about science, but it should be emphasized that these… movements(?)… are fundamentally not based in science.

Robert Park’s book, “Voodoo Science” is still relevant, although some of his examples are dated.

Of particular interest is his depiction of how the “discover” of a new effect comes to believe in his result so strongly that his belief crosses the line into palpable delusion. Blondlot’s N-rays. Joe Newman’s perpetual-motion motor. Need I say Pons & Fleischmann?

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

None of these examples (ID creationism, HIV denial, global-warming denial) are based on science but on preconceived ideas.

“BIG SCANDAL AT CREATIONIST INSTITUTE! RESEARCHERS FOUND USING RIGOROUS SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND COMING TO INCONVENIENT CONCLUSIONS! PANEL ASSEMBLED TO INVESTIGATE AND RECOMMEND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS! Full report at eleven.”

None of these examples (ID creationism, HIV denial, global-warming denial) are based on science but on preconceived ideas.

Preconceived ideas and science, it seems to me, are not mutually exclusive.

I define scientific fraud this way: If only an expert can tell, then it is scientific fraud; if a lawyer can tell, then it is ordinary fraud. I think I plagiarized that definition somewhere, but I can’t remember where. At any rate, by that criterion, evolution denial and all the rest are scientific fraud, because only an expert can be certain that they are fraudulent.

Robert Park’s book, “Voodoo Science” is still relevant, although some of his examples are dated.

Although it is not strictly about fraud, Michael Friedlander’s book At the Fringes of Science is still good and has a chapter on fraud.

Matt Young -

I define scientific fraud this way: If only an expert can tell, then it is scientific fraud; if a lawyer can tell, then it is ordinary fraud.

However, here’s another distinction. The stuff Goodstein, and commenter Ntsvic, are talking about, is fraud designed to fool other scientists. Creationism and HIV denial are designed to fool the ignorant and empower the delusional.

And it depends on what you mean by “expert”. Anyone who has an undergraduate degree in any biomedical science, or indeed, merely bothers to learn the basics on their own, can see through creationism. Many, many lawyers can, indeed, see through it. Judge Jones comes to mind.

I think I plagiarized that definition somewhere, but I can’t remember where. At any rate, by that criterion, evolution denial and all the rest are scientific fraud, because only an expert can be certain that they are fraudulent.

I would classify them as “science denial fraud”. It is a special, obnoxious, highly profitable type of fraud that is largely a product of the post-civil-rights, post-industrial, post-modern era. Motivated by a superficially self-serving but authoritarian, unsustainable, and dystopic social/political agenda, science denial con men literally and brazenly outright deny measurable physical reality when it is perceived as being at odds with their agenda.

Another good book is Walter Gratzer’s The Undergrowth of Science: Delusion, Self-Deception, and Human Frailty. I guess these books all tend to cover the same incidents, though.

Yet another good book: “Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion” by Gary Taubes, 1983, convinced me that Pons and Fleischmann did indeed commit fraud.

Oops! 1993

Another good book on this issue, albeit now dated, is Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science by William J Board, 1983.

I would classify them as “science denial fraud”. It is a special, obnoxious, highly profitable type of fraud that is largely a product of the post-civil-rights, post-industrial, post-modern era.

actually, I think you can put a lot of it on the same doorstep as the group of scientists who worked hard at lobbying against the idea that tobacco causes cancer.

*flips madly through old links*

ah! here’s one:

http://www.publicintegrity.org/arti[…]s/entry/731/

Global warming skeptic Steven J. Milloy, for example, once headed the now-defunct Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, established in 1993 with money from cigarette maker Phillip Morris to help the company fight smoking restrictions. Today, Milloy is the founder of junkscience.com, a website that claims to debunk climate change science, and writes a column for FoxNews.com.

IIRC, some of the original big tobacco players still have their own website. damnit if I can find the link now though.

wait… I think this is it:

http://www.marshall.org/

yup. Those are the guys. They’ve been behind much of the media spin involved with denialism for decades.

Anyone else get offended by the way that the deniers are always labeled “skeptics” despite the fact that their position is so far away from true skepticism that there’s an observable red-shift?

Anyone else get offended by the way that the deniers

yes.

their very existence offends me.

:)

I can think of one major researcher who used to drive everyone crazy by publishing theorems and saying that the proofs would be in a later paper. He never did publish most of those proofs, but when others have tried to verify the theorems, they have been able to reconstruct them, and yes, his theorems were in fact correct.

Sounds like Fermat.

Can intelligent design be considered to be scientific fraud? The only “scientific” example where they published the propaganda switch scam junk was in Meyer’s systematics paper that was disowned by the journal that it was published in. It seems that all that got published in that paper was the smoke screen obfuscation junk. I don’t think that any of the intelligent design scam junk was ever published in a science journal. Intelligent design turned out to be fraud, but it wasn’t scientific fraud because they never published the fradulent material in science journals as legitimate science. They just scammed the ignorant public with it. Beats me if they ever fooled enough scientists to matter. It turned out that the ID perps knew that the intelligent design junk never made the grade. Nelson was the first to admit that they never had a scientific theory of intelligent design. Even Philip Johnson admitted that intelligent design had never made the grade and pointed at the “science” ID perps and claimed that they hadn’t come up with any ID science worth teaching.

So the ID perps knew that they came up short. They ended up running the bait and switch scam on their own creationist support base rather than put up their ID science to teach in the public schools. The switch scam doesn’t even mention that ID ever existed. Every rube school board and legislator that bought into the ID scam and that has claimed to want to teach the science of ID has had the bait and switch run on them. This is bogus fraud, but not the type written about in the book. ID was more of a dishonest political scam than an attempt to fool scientists.

Something I have noticed over the years is that it is hard to distinguish in some cases between fraud and actual incompetence.

My understanding of the whole cold fusion fiasco is that it started off as incompetence and then turned into fraud. The third guy who worked on that (the one who Pons and Fleischmann published without) is also a truther. He even went so far as to make the argument that the 2nd Law of Thermo proves that the towers could not have fallen as they did without human intervention.

Ron Okimoto said:

Can intelligent design be considered to be scientific fraud?

Guess it depends on how you define it. Most aren’t faking raw data. But they do intentionally selectively cite, which amounts to misrepresentation.

There are some obvious frauds, like the Paluxy tracks, but I’ve never heard of the main ID folk like Dembski etc… endorsing those. Those types of frauds seem to be treated like crop circles; only the extreme fringe takes them as credible.

The third guy who worked on that (the one who Pons and Fleischmann published without)

That was Steve Jones of BYU. As far as I know, his work on cold fusion was completely on the up-and-up, and he was never accused of fraud; his work probably lent support to Pons and Fleischmann at the outset. Somehow the bit about the World Trade Center and his subsequent retirement had wholly escaped me. You may read about it in the Wikipedia article.

There are things like the Ica Stones, almost certainly originally manufactured as curios, without perhaps an intent to actually commit fraud, and indeed the original creators don’t seem to have made anything much out of it. The question is, who spun the ridiculous fancy that they were Precolumbian and demonstrated that the Incas lived with dinosaurs?

There’s that hoary creationist chestnut, “Piltdown Man”. That was a fraud, certainly, and probably originally intended to be one, but the question is whose it was, and on whom?

There used to be a cottage industry in ports in Europe, creating what were called “Jenny Hanipers” - artfully sewn and stuffed skins and different animal parts, made to look like one animal. “Mermaids” and “batfish” were favourites, as I recall. The gentlemen of the Royal Society quite reasonably thought that someone was making game of them, the first time they saw a platypus, mounted and stuffed, after its seven-months journey back to Britain.

Matt Young said:

The third guy who worked on that (the one who Pons and Fleischmann published without)

That was Steve Jones of BYU. As far as I know, his work on cold fusion was completely on the up-and-up, and he was never accused of fraud; his work probably lent support to Pons and Fleischmann at the outset. Somehow the bit about the World Trade Center and his subsequent retirement had wholly escaped me. You may read about it in the Wikipedia article.

Eh, as I said, I think that the initial research on cold fusion was just fraught with incompetence rather than fraud, including Jones. I muddled through Jones’s paper on the WTC a few years ago. The guy is wacky.

But I should add that the refusal to retract after it was shown that they were wrong is where it became fraud. Jones lucked out that he wasn’t included.

Wishful thinking can sometimes overcome even a strong committment to fact. I remember thinking when the story broke, and everything looked kosher - “They’ve done it! Stars, here we come!”

Ayyy. It was too good to be true.

Ron Okimoto said:

Can intelligent design be considered to be scientific fraud?

It’s not science, it’s religious propaganda. It does not make any testable, scientific claims. It does claim that life is too hard to understand, therefore it was designed, PRAISE JESUS!!! (Er, the “intelligent designer.)

To me, science fraud is the deliberate and knowing misrepresentation of a material fact about the scientific issue discussed that is targeted at the Science Community as they are the ones who need to rely on said material fact. For example, global warming foot soldiers that just spout… They’re not fraudulent because they’re just fucking ignorant.

Fraud, for common law purposes, has nine elements relating to a material fact:

(1) a representation; (2) falsity of the representation; (3) materiality of the representation; (4) speaker’s knowledge of the falsity of the representation; (5) the speaker’s intent it should be relied upon; (6) the hearer’s ignorance of the falsity of the representation; (7) the hearer’s reliance on the representation; (8) the hearer’s right to rely on the representation; and (9) the hearer’s consequent and proximate injury caused by reliance on the representation.

When Dr. Wakefield published his MMR = Autism paper, that was scientific fraud. He KNEW he wasn’t right and published anyway because he was trying to supplant the MMR combination-vaccine with his own vaccines that were single-shots for each disease. People, in medicine, believed it to be true and relied upon his false study to make (potentially) life-and-death decisions regarding the immunization of children.

Steve Jone of BYU initially published on muon-catalyzed cold fusion, a reproducible and perfectly legitimate subject in physics explained by present-day, main-stream theory. In his Scientific American article he clearly states that the energy released is insufficient to create a new muon and thus sustain a chain reaction. No new energy source here.

In later years he may have gotten caught up in the general cold fusion debacle, but in his early days he was entirely legitimate.

Jesse said:

But I should add that the refusal to retract after it was shown that they were wrong is where it became fraud. Jones lucked out that he wasn’t included.

No, they were just wrong. Sure, they didn’t give up. But they were just wrong. Wrong does not equal fraud. There are lots of papers that turn to be wrong. Such is life.

Fraud is the DELIBERATE falsification of a material fact. Pons & Fleischman, they were just wrong. Sloppy and stupid and suffering from wishful thinking that biased their interpretation of the results, yes. But fraudulent? No, as stupidly embarrassing as it was, there has never been any reasonable case laid out that there was intentional fraud.

There is a lot of evidence they were pushed to publish so the University of Utah could jump the patents. There is evidence they made at least one serious math error and one serious physics error. Errors not caught in the very-rushed peer review process, but caught later.

Moses said:

Jesse said:

But I should add that the refusal to retract after it was shown that they were wrong is where it became fraud. Jones lucked out that he wasn’t included.

No, they were just wrong. Sure, they didn’t give up. But they were just wrong. Wrong does not equal fraud. There are lots of papers that turn to be wrong. Such is life.

Fraud is the DELIBERATE falsification of a material fact. Pons & Fleischman, they were just wrong. Sloppy and stupid and suffering from wishful thinking that biased their interpretation of the results, yes. But fraudulent? No, as stupidly embarrassing as it was, there has never been any reasonable case laid out that there was intentional fraud.

There is a lot of evidence they were pushed to publish so the University of Utah could jump the patents. There is evidence they made at least one serious math error and one serious physics error. Errors not caught in the very-rushed peer review process, but caught later.

At some point, that becomes fraud. Not the being wrong part. What comes afterwards. And yes, I know what fraud is.

Gary Hurd said:

Something I have noticed over the years is that it is hard to distinguish in some cases between fraud and actual incompetence.

In the case of intelligent design the ID perps started working up the swtich scam as far back as 1999. They didn’t run the first public bait and switch until Ohio in early 2003. I would consider incompetence to be a moot issue since Meyer was one of the authors of the first switch scam legal issue junk back in the late 1990’s and he was the one that ran the bait and switch on the Ohio rubes.

http://www.discovery.org/a/589 http://www.discovery.org/a/58

It turned out that the switch scam doesn’t even mention intelligent design as part of any scientific controversy. You don’t work up a back up plan that doesn’t even mention your primary scam unless you have a pretty good idea that you are sunk.

Ron Okimoto said:

Gary Hurd said:

Something I have noticed over the years is that it is hard to distinguish in some cases between fraud and actual incompetence.

In the case of intelligent design the ID perps started working up the swtich scam as far back as 1999. They didn’t run the first public bait and switch until Ohio in early 2003. I would consider incompetence to be a moot issue since Meyer was one of the authors of the first switch scam legal issue junk back in the late 1990’s and he was the one that ran the bait and switch on the Ohio rubes.

http://www.discovery.org/a/589 http://www.discovery.org/a/58

It turned out that the switch scam doesn’t even mention intelligent design as part of any scientific controversy. You don’t work up a back up plan that doesn’t even mention your primary scam unless you have a pretty good idea that you are sunk.

As you recall, a previous back up plan inadvertently mentioned the primary scam, via the “cdesign proponentsists” in the “Panda’s” draft hastily edited after the 1987 “Edwards” decision. There’s always a component of incompetence, but at the core, the anti-evolution movement has been based on dishonesty at least since the “scientific” YEC of the 1960s.

The anti-evolution movement has always tried to peddle whatever it could get away with - internal contradictions and easily falsified claims be damned. And many brave (or crazy) peddlers still take that risk. But even before the court decisions forced them to revise the approach, some peddlers were having second-thoughts about being so specific about the whats and whens of their “theory.” It has been argued that they were just anticipating court cases that might rule against them, but another explanation is that they simply knew that the evidence - and contradictory creationist positions - were against them.

By 2020 the DI might pretend that “academic freedom” never existed. While it’s fun, and necessary, to refute the PRATTs of the old-style YECs who still mislead millions, we must keep close watch on the IDers. Even if they are losing clout with the public as some have claimed, they are, unlike the YECs, always on the prowl for a new scam.

When Dr. Wakefield published his MMR = Autism paper, that was scientific fraud. He KNEW he wasn’t right and published anyway because he was trying to supplant the MMR combination-vaccine with his own vaccines that were single-shots for each disease. People, in medicine, believed it to be true and relied upon his false study to make (potentially) life-and-death decisions regarding the immunization of children.

I just received an e-mail to the effect that Mr. Wakefield has lost his license to practice medicine in the UK.

Matt Young said:

I just received an e-mail to the effect that Mr. Wakefield has lost his license to practice medicine in the UK.

IMHO I don’t think that Wakefield’s publication of the paper was his biggest sin – it was the fact that he accompanied it with a high-profile public press conference to get the mass media involved.

The press conference was successful in this regard, but Wakefield failed to understand that creating a public controversy is very much like creating a Frankenstein monster – it is not very controllable and, as Wakefield has found out, may not be very kindly to its creator.

Wakefield’s paper was deeply flawed, fundamentally biased, ethically problematic, and failed to disclose considerable conflicts of interest. It was a travesty.

MrG said:

Matt Young said:

I just received an e-mail to the effect that Mr. Wakefield has lost his license to practice medicine in the UK.

IMHO I don’t think that Wakefield’s publication of the paper was his biggest sin – it was the fact that he accompanied it with a high-profile public press conference to get the mass media involved.

The press conference was successful in this regard, but Wakefield failed to understand that creating a public controversy is very much like creating a Frankenstein monster – it is not very controllable and, as Wakefield has found out, may not be very kindly to its creator.

Malchus said:

Wakefield’s paper was deeply flawed, fundamentally biased, ethically problematic, and failed to disclose considerable conflicts of interest. It was a travesty.

Oh, the paper was a joke, but except for Wakefield’s public grandstanding it would have likely been treated as such and that would have been the end of it. On the top of professional incompetence (being kindly here), he decided to perform a public con job, and did a lot to make life miserable for vaccination authorities.

No doubt antivaxxer blogs are now loudly proclaiming the martyrdom of Andrew Wakefield. No doubt Andrew Wakefield is now loudly proclaiming the martyrdom of Andrew Wakefield. Once a con man – always a con man.

MrG said:

IMHO I don’t think that Wakefield’s publication of the paper was his biggest sin – it was the fact that he accompanied it with a high-profile public press conference to get the mass media involved.

Actually, no. Brian Deer’s investigation showed that, related to the paper, Wakefield did everything from hiding funding sources to misreporting the test results of his subjects. The paper was the sin, and given that he reported test results which weren’t real, could arguably be called fraud.

eric said:

Actually, no.

I’m perfectly familiar with the case. But along with the long list of professional malfeasance, he also did all he could to willfully spread public panic over the matter through the mass media.

Of course people have individual moral priorities, to you that may not be that big an issue, and I accept that. But personally, subjectively, IMHO, and all that good stuff – I put it way on the top of the list.

Ron Okimoto -

In the case of intelligent design the ID perps started working up the swtich scam as far back as 1999. They didn’t run the first public bait and switch until Ohio in early 2003.

The Kansas school board decision of 1999 has to be taken into account here as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/library/nati[…]ion-edu.html

This is what made me aware of political science denial related to evolution. What is fascinating is that, although the Kansas effort had nothing to do with the words “intelligent design”, it also represented one of the early decisions to abandon the specific claims of early “creation science”. Indeed, by simply trying to create an incentive for schools to eliminate the teaching of evolution, the Kansas policy was one of the most cynical “win at all costs”, “anything to stick it to the scientists”, “court proof strategy with no specific mention of religious languages” policies to date.

I don’t know - but would love to know - whether there was any collaboration between that school board and the DI at the time.

It could be a case of parallel evolution, or it could have been cross-pollination and hybridization.

It could be a case of parallel evolution, or it could have been cross-pollination and hybridization.

Horizontal transfer of detrimental memes?

harold said:

Ron Okimoto -

In the case of intelligent design the ID perps started working up the swtich scam as far back as 1999. They didn’t run the first public bait and switch until Ohio in early 2003.

The Kansas school board decision of 1999 has to be taken into account here as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/library/nati[…]ion-edu.html

This is what made me aware of political science denial related to evolution. What is fascinating is that, although the Kansas effort had nothing to do with the words “intelligent design”, it also represented one of the early decisions to abandon the specific claims of early “creation science”. Indeed, by simply trying to create an incentive for schools to eliminate the teaching of evolution, the Kansas policy was one of the most cynical “win at all costs”, “anything to stick it to the scientists”, “court proof strategy with no specific mention of religious languages” policies to date.

I don’t know - but would love to know - whether there was any collaboration between that school board and the DI at the time.

It could be a case of parallel evolution, or it could have been cross-pollination and hybridization.

My recollection is that in 1999 they were being helped by the boob that founded the ID Network and, supposedly, Kent Hovind of all pathetic people. The ID network had a bigger influence in second Kansas, but the switch scam was prominent by then. The fellow that ran the ID network eventually bent over and took the switch scam from the other ID scam artists, but I don’t know when he did that. The ID network used to advocate teaching ID in the public schools (have they changed their name yet?) but they are running the switch scam like all the other ID perps at this time, the last time I checked, a few years ago.

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