Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for August, 2009

Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World by Eugenie Samuel Reich New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2009 The scientific enterprise is built on trust and accountability. Scientists are accountable both to the world they are trying to describe and to their fellow scientists, with whom they are working to build a…

This week, while I hunkered down for the start of classes, Dr. Free-Ride’s better half took the Free-Ride offspring camping. They camped near Big Sur, which provided ample opportunities to hike near the ocean (and to swim in it). Indeed, on one of these hikes the first day out, they spotted some otters:

Regular commenter S. Rivlin emailed me to describe a distressing situation in academia and to ask for advice: Dear Janet,   I write to you to solicit your opinion on a recent grievance case I am privy to at my university. I hope you’ll find the time to respond, considering that you are back from…

Keep holy the furlough day.

In case you hadn’t heard, the State of California is broke. (Actually, probably worse than broke. This is one of those times where we find ourselves glad that our state does not have kneecaps.) As a consequence of this, the California State University system (one of whose 23 campuses is my own fair university) is…

Because we’re all in the same exploding monkey factory together. So far, no paper jams of consequence to report at the department photocopier, but the toner ran out at 11:58 AM Pacific Time. We are hopeful that the student assistant who comes on duty at 1:00 PM will be able to change the toner swiftly…

Reader mail.

In my inbox today: I’m curious, what credentials (academic or otherwise) does one need to become a philosopher? For the purposes of employment in a university philosophy department, a graduate degree in philosophy (usually a Ph.D. but sometimes an M.A.) is standard. Kind of like a chemist can be expected to have a degree in…

This week the New York Times reported on the problem of drug company-sponsored ghostwriting of articles in the scientific literature: A growing body of evidence suggests that doctors at some of the nation’s top medical schools have been attaching their names and lending their reputations to scientific papers that were drafted by ghostwriters working for…

Dr. Free-Ride: So, where do you think land comes from? Younger offspring: Land comes from … I don’t know. Dr. Free-Ride: If you had to guess …

Welcome back.

My guess is that the first faculty meeting after one’s sabbatical year is never an easy one, but when that faculty meeting happens during a state budget implosion the likes of which no one can recall, it’s kind of like parachuting into an exploding monkey factory. The high point:

Who’s a scientist?

At Philosophers’ Playground, Steve Gimbel ponders the pedagogically appropriate way to label William Dembski: I’m wrapping up work on my textbook Methods and Models: A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and have run into a question. … The evolutionary biology track’s final piece deals with William Dembski’s work on intelligent design theory. Therein…