Strange Days

I’m having a strange morning, due to a delayed getting-to-work time so I can deal with an appointment. The GinjaNinja is under the weather, so I’m sitting at my desk with the house all quiet around me. The First Reader headed off to work early, and we missed our usual morning coffee and chat time. It’s rarely more than 15 minutes long, but it makes an impact on my day. I’ve been trying to decide what to blog about – there are any number of topics swirling in my mind, but nothing concrete and substantial.

I shared this topic with a few friends yesterday – and I’ve been trying to come up with the right word to describe how I feel about it. Chilling. It made a chill run up my spine, to see this and realize what it means for the future if it is not checked abruptly and firmly. If scholarly papers can be ‘flagged’ simply because they were cited by someone the publisher doesn’t like, what comes next? Are we going to see a refusal to publish papers that don’t reach an approved conclusion? Forcible retractions of papers that aren’t politically correct? This isn’t how science is supposed to work. We’ve seen researchers forced to resign, reputations ruined for false accusations. I have to wonder if the author of the paper that was flagged had this move made against his work because he works at a religious institution and is unlikely to be fired – so the only weapon against him is to undermine his work.

But now I have to get ready to go… I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the consequences of this movement, gentle readers. Will we see a chilling effect on research and science if the trend toward control through shaming and accusation continues?

6 thoughts on “Strange Days

    1. Yes. Forgot to include it this morning, but there was a scientist censured in Australia for trying to publish data that contraindicated a colleague. He showed that the reefs we’re not as sick as the other scientist had sensationally claimed, and in response he was attacked for “not being supportive”

  1. Well, I would be chilled… if I weren’t so furious. I particularly loathed the historian who started with “I think people need room to express unpopular beliefs…” and ended with “…but that doesn’t mean you can distort reality.”

    Au contraire, it seems to me that the overriding desire of the Left these days is just that – to distort reality.

    And I think we’re going to see exactly what you mentioned: refusal to publish, or forcible retraction of, papers that fail to distort reality to fit the Left’s predetermined conclusion. As SPQR mentioned, we can look at what’s happened in climate science for a preview of where all science is headed.

    Lysenko, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

  2. We’ve been there for decades. MiniTru is well funded and active.

    Climate science. Human biodiversity. Cognitive science. Sociology. Psychology.

    How is science to be protected when actual facts are hidden or distorted on an daily basis? How is science to be done in an atmosphere of “obey or perish.”

    1. I think we may see a resurgence of the citizen scientist – or science funded by private concerns. That is where much of our science foundation began, after all. It is a flawed system, but perhaps not so flawed as government funding and control. Patronage offers both constraint and freedom, as we see when we look back at history.

  3. It’s been going on for years. The pressure to publish “studies” that support pop science makes me look for several studies on a subject when I can.

Comments are closed.