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The dark side of science. Proceedings pacific division AAAS volume 1 part 2. Edited by B. K. Kilbourne and M. T. Kilbourne. San Francisco Pacific Division American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1983. 226 pp $8

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Book Reviews
Proceedings, Pacific Division, AAAS, Volume l, Part 2.
Edited by B.K. Kilbourne and M.T. Kilbourne. San Francisco: Pacific Division,
American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1983. 226 pp.. $8.95
The very word when hurled at the scientist
from the headlines topples him from the
moral pinnacle of society and erodes the very
fabric of science itself as the pursuit of truth.
Most of the baker’s dozen of the essays in
this symposium describe and decry the
“white coat” crime of cheating in the presentation of data, and a few of them apparently
find science itself sadly deviant in its mission.
The message is disturbing. The writing
varies from informative and penetrating,
through strident and irritating, to obscure
and long-winded.
In the lead article, Higgins reaches far back
into history to prove that misrepresentation
in science has been commonplace.. Such notables as Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, and
Pascal were supposedly a s guilty of “cooking
data” as Summerlin, recently dismissed for
fraud as a cancer researcher a t Sloan-Kettering Institute. What is worse, the “science
watchers” who construct and maintain the
images of science rewrite history and cheat
indirectly by discounting such cheating. The
heroes of science are as guilty as its villains.
By implication dishonesty is occasionally exposed only so that the claim can be made
that science polices itself. In flamboyant style
the author damns science in general by innuendo; the cases cited often lack proof.
While he suggests that fraud is all too human, he wants recognition of the “games
scientists play” and calls for a change.
In a brief and well written piece, Broad of
the New York Times cites the more recent
examples of fraud, especially in the biomedical sciences, which he and his associate Wade
have reported in Science. The sheer volume
of research, the pressure to publish, the reluctance of superiors to suspect dishonesty
all contribute to a disturbing situation; fraud
may even be on the rise. Science in practice
0 1984 ALAN R. LISS, INC
often bears little resemblance to its conventional portrait; scientists are all too often
guided not by objectivity and logic alone but
by rhetoric, prejudice, and propaganda.
Three sociological perspectives on science
follow in Part Two. In “Science, Deviance,
and Society,” the Kilbournes (who also edit
the symposium) and Higgins connect deviance in science with that in society in general. They are parallel in the patterns of
white-collar crime, in class structure, and in
their norms, values, and myths; scientists
are subject to the same pressures as others.
But calling discrimination, restriction of
competition, and violation of procedural safeguards crimes, and labelling self-correction,
objectivity, and progressive accumulation of
knowledge in science myths seems to me overstated and unfair.
In the mildest treatment of deviance, Gaston considers its magnitude not severe and
finds no proof that it is increasing. He claims
that for the more prestigious scientist detection is more likely and sanctions more serious. But does this very point mean that much
cheating does go undetected? His remedy:
more replication of experiments and increased vigilance in the scientific community.
In a third, long, sociological view, filled
with footnotes, tables, references, and involved sentences, the Meadows call for research into deviance in scientific research
itself within its contextual framework.
In Part Three, the administrators replywith varied but predictable assignment of
responsibility for detecting and correcting
fraud. Barber, Vice Chancellor of Research
Programs at UCLA, concerned chiefly with
the prevalent falsification of data, recommends repetition of experiments, especially
by coworkers, critical review by peers and
committees, and thorough investigation of
alleged misconduct under guidelines understood by the whole academic community. The
primary responsibility for preventing fraud
rests with the principal investigator.
McCarthy, Director of the Office for Protection from Research Risks a t NIH, outlines
the six steps involved in investigating allegations of noncompliance with policy to protect human subjects. He considers misconduct
in science relatively rare. Health and Human Services regulations place primary responsibility on the research institution.
Dong, both a doctor and a lawyer, spells
out the legal basis for federal prosecution of
science misrepresentation as “white coat”
crime. He argues forcefully that the public
has a n interest in science, that fraud injures
the government, that NIH regulates scientific research by its funding and thus has the
primary responsibility for policing the truthfulness of claims made to it. He lambastes
NIH for defects in its policy and describes in
angry tones his frustration in tracking down
among its administrators documents relative
to fraud. The statutory basis for prosecution
of one who makes a knowing, willing false
statement to the government, Title 18, U S .
Code Section 1001, carries a penalty of up to
$10,000 fine, five years imprisonment, or
both. The author develops his case skillfully,
citing Latin phrases and twenty court
d w i si on s.
In Part Four, the Kilbournes develop the
theme that deviance in science depletes a
vital national resource. Going beyond previous definitions, they include ad hominem
attacks, dogmatism, shoddy work, secrecy,
unnecessary delays in publication, and even
publicity seeking-virtually any fall from the
ideal. The interface of science with government, industry, education, society, national
security, and the developing world are all
seen to suffer from deviance in science. Their
proposed solution includes Barber’s safeguards, ending informal legal exemption of
scientists from prosecution, and expanding
the opportunities in science especially for
young people through a n increased and
steady science budget-a dubious incentive
a t best.
The three selections in Part Five are overwhelming and distinct from the previous
ones; they sound more like criticisms of science itself and of our whole culture. Sampson
says that in our pursuit of mastery over nature, the pursuer has become the pursued.
The deviance of science itself is illustrated
by the nineteenth century scientific demonstration of the inferiority of the female brain,
FERTILITY. Edited By D.F. Roberts and R.
Chester. London: Academic Press. 1981. xii
+ 211 pp., figures, tables, references, index. $25.00 (cloth).
the early twentieth century proof of the low
I& of East European immigrants, and data
supporting bias against the worker class. In
a way reminiscent of Wordsworth but not
entirely clear to me, he calls for a different
relationship between humanity and nature.
In “The Mythical Content of Economic
Theory,” Reed calls the propositions of economics anachronistic and unscientific. The
dismal science is viewed as deviant and manipulative in its political purpose.
In the final article, Dittman, a physics professor, claims that science is deviant from its
normative humanistic ideal. He is concerned
about the marriage of science and the military, especially nuclear power, and claims
that science and its technology increase the
gap between the rich and poor nations. I
could not quarrel with his conclusion: Objectivity need not mean lack of concern; we need
to integrate knowledge and values, to have
social consciousness, and to be aware of the
consequences of our work.
In a summary, Forthman sees the key challenge as protecting the public interest, protecting science, and providing fair treatment
of the alleged deviant.
Surely those who view fraud in its larger
social context are correct. We must find a
way to educate young scientists to their
moral responsibilities as well as opportunities, to minimize the pressure to publish or
perish, to provide adequate peer review of
results and swift investigation into alleged
fraud, and to encourage the partnership of
science with humanity. Only in serious,
proven cases would I recommend the Dong
treatment of legal prosecution.
The public needs to realize that scientists
are neither gods nor devils, but only human.
And scientists need to reemphasize the advancement of knowledge, the service to people, and the joy of living, over money, fame
and power.
Department of Anatomy
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill,North Carolina
This volume represents the proceedings of
the Sixteenth Annual Symposium of the Eugenics Society of London, held in 1979. For
general topics the symposium examined the
demographic perspective on fertility, contra-
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