Some years ago a science student at an Irish university was shocked and disillusioned when her director advised her to ignore the data which weakened the principal finding of her study.
With such training, is it any surprise that fraud is now endemic in scientific research – in medicine, industry, climate change, and so on. Indeed, fraud is becoming a major threat to the whole science project. We can no longer trust even eminent professors.
One of the latest scandals puts the focus on a London University laboratory “that published fraudulent research, mostly on genetics and heart disease, for more than a decade.”
Some 60 papers dating back to 1997 have been called into question. Beside the fake results there is the later research based on or using this concocted data.
The huge waste of money donated for particular studies is also a concern. Much of the research was funded by the British Heart Foundation.
The Guardian (1/2/20) reported: “the number of fabricated results and the length of time over which the deception took place made the case one of the worst instances of research fraud uncovered in a British university.”
Dismayed by the deceit, Professor Gudrun Moore, a geneticist, pointed out that, in research, “the facts and the data have to be sacred”.
If young researchers are not told that, she said, then they may assume “if you don’t get the outcome you want, you can just make it up.”
But this is only the tip of the problem. Consider, for example, how regularly data is dishonestly interpreted in so much agenda-driven research.
The science world has a system of checks in place to police against fraud, but what it can do is extremely limited. The real issue is the place of morality in science.
Is it morally ok to doctor the data to produce a desired result? Is it alright to accept funds to produce worthless research?
But such questions lead to a much deeper issue. Is morality a matter of opinion? Are people entitled to have their own opinions about right and wrong, good and evil? And to follow those opinions without being “judged”?
Or is there a given standard by which to measure behaviour, including research? And where might such a standard come from?
These are the fundamental questions that lie behind the major problems in science and politics and in almost every area of society today.
But the issue of morality is such a threat to the secularist agenda that our liberals do everything they can to suppress discussion of it.