Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for January, 2008

Paleontologists behaving badly.

A recent news item by Rex Dalton in Nature [1] caught my attention. From the title (“Fossil reptiles mired in controversy”) you might think that the aetosaurs were misbehaving. Rather, the issue at hand is whether senior scientists at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science were taking advantage of an in-house publishing…

links for 2008-01-30

Laelaps : I don’t quite get the same impression… The science blogosphere may not be so “bloggy” as other quarters (at least, given one stereotype of blogginess). (tags: blogosphere) The Voltage Gate : Defining Bloggers by Medium Maybe not being stereotypically “bloggy” is a good thing (not just for our readers, but so we don’t…

Since much of what I write about the responsible conduct of research takes them for granted, it’s time that I wrote a basic concepts post explaining the norms of science famously described by sociologist Robert K. Merton in 1942. [1] Before diving in, here’s Merton’s description: The ethos of science is that affectively toned complex…

Why I teach.

PZ tagged me with a teaching meme. The question is “Why do you teach and why is academic freedom critical to that effort?” Unlike PZ, I knew I had a thing for teaching long before I had a clue what discipline I would end up pursuing. (My first official paycheck for a teaching gig was…

A bath-time conversation: Younger offspring: The water is pretty warm. Dr. Free-Ride: Is it too hot? I could add some more cold water. Younger offspring: No, it’s good. I’m just going to ooze in, like a snail oozing into its shell. Dr. Free-Ride: Because easing in would be too conventional.

Noticing class privilege.

Via Bint Alshamsa, this is a version of a “social class awareness experience” used in the residence halls (and possibly also classrooms?) at Indiana State University by Will Barratt et al. In the classroom, students are asked to take a step forward for each of the statements that describe them; they don’t talk about the…

Tracking down a source.

Maybe you saw the story in the New York Times about new research that may show that ingesting too much caffeine while pregnant increases the chances of miscarriage. And, if you’re like me, one of the first things you did was try to track down the actual research paper discussed in the newspaper article. If…

One of the things that came out of the discussion of the ethics of blogging about science at the 2008 NC Science Blogging Conference was a clear sense that we don’t yet have general agreement about what kinds of ethics should guide science blogging — in part, because we haven’t come to an agreement about…

A few thoughs on conferences.

It’s been pretty quiet here. Not only have I been engrossed in preparations for the Spring semester (classes start today), but I also went to the 2008 NC Science Blogging Conference. So it seems like a good time to ruminate a bit on how conferences fit into the patterns of (my) academic life.

Walking to school on a cold morning: Elder offspring: I’m going to steal your warmth! Dr. Free-Ride: Oh really? Elder offspring sticks hands in Dr. Free-Ride’s coat pockets, where Dr. Free-Ride’s hands are. Elder offspring: Brrr! Your hands are really cold! Dr. Free-Ride: Yes, they are. Mwah ha ha! Elder offspring: I’m still going to…