Thursday, January 05, 2012

Disgrace: On Marc Hauser | The Nation, Charles Gross writes

In the late 1960s I was eating lunch in William James Hall with a few fellow assistant professors in the Harvard psychology department when a woman named Patricia Woolf sat down at our table. Unbeknownst to us, Woolf was a pioneer in the study of scientific misconduct. She asked whether we had heard anything about the fabrication of data by one of our colleagues. When we said yes, she asked what we were going to do about it. One of us said something like, “Look, our chairman, Richard Herrnstein, is a war criminal. Why should we worry about T—— making up data?” I guess we didn’t take the issue that seriously. At that time Herrnstein was training pigeons to recognize people and sampans in photographs of jungle foliage. The work was supported by the Limited War Laboratory of the US Army and was done off-campus because Harvard prohibited secret research. (With Charles Murray, Herrnstein would later write The Bell Curve, which made incendiary claims about purported racial differences in intelligence.) Herrnstein subsequently managed to help the miscreant find a job elsewhere, forestalling the possibility of scandal at Harvard.

Posted via email from Jack's posterous

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