Partners in Cheating
On July 04, 2006, The Times of India reported that the once ‘hero’ of cloning, Hwang Wu-suk, was facing his second hearing in the fraud case. But, the question is whether Wu-suk should face the trial alone? Should not many other scientists be in jail for partnering in cheating scientific methodologies ? Jerry Thomas raises these questions.
Ignoring the numerous valid objections raised by the faith communities, scientists’ overwhelmedely welcomed the ‘breakthrough’ in science. However, their contempt for faith communities and excitement over the breakthrough had created certian blind spots. How else would one explain the following problems?
Hwang Wu-suk published his ‘research’ on human cloning in Science journal (June 2005). It is a peer reviewed journal. In other words, it should have been cross checked for the veracity and reliability of data by other scientists. Have not any of them got even an iota of doubt at that time? How did they miss it? Should we continue to trust those ‘peer reviewers?
Experimentation, Repeatability and Accuracy
Experimentation and repeatability are the valid methodologies of modern science. However, in the case of this ‘breakthrough’ both these were over looked.
Many in the scientific community had accepted and welcomed it. One can understand thier excitment. But one must also remember that one of the hallmarks of the modern science is its repeatability. Anything that is invented or discovered should be able to be reproduced in other parts of the globe. Then, why didn’t the scientific community insist on repeatability? This ‘breakthrough’ was not able to repeated in any part of the globe. Without being able to do the experimentation, there would not be any observation too. Both experimentation and repeatability were abandoned for a 'breakthrough' celebration.
Now, for the accuracy of experimentation, read the number of times Hwang We-Suk had to do experimentation to get a successful one. For cloning a puppy, the New York Times reported that Hwang and his researchers, “worked for nearly three years, seven days a week, 365 days a year and used 1095 eggs from 122 dogs before finally succeeding.” If this is science, then what is trial and error method? It is acceptable to discover something by trail and error method but not for something which is already discovered. It also shows that notwithstanding the numerous 'breakthroughs' and celebrations, clonning is yet to mature to a respectable science.
If the stem cell research is in such nascent stage, should we not call others and discuss about the ethical issues that it raises. Why is that a few scientists always label those who question as ignorant and religious bigots?
Hope you will read the article ‘Frauds in Science’ to read about other frauds ( there are many more) and would respond to us. We will discuss these issues in depth in the future.