Steve Easterbrook over at Serendipity has three recent posts that do a pretty solid job of capturing what I think when I see the ongoing coverage of the fallout from the CRU email hack (if you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for the last 6 months you can start here).
Here’s one quick highlight from the most recent post
The argument that scientists should never exhibit human weaknesses is not just fallacious, it’s dangerous. It promotes the idea that science depends on perfect people to carry it out, when in fact the opposite is the case. Science is a process that compensates for the human failings of the people who engage in it, by continually questioning evidence, re-testing ideas, replicating results, collecting more data, and so on. Mistakes are made all the time. Individual scientists screw up. If they don’t make mistakes, they’re not doing worthwhile science. It’s vitally important that we get across to the public that this is how science works, and that errors are an important part of the process. Its the process that matters, not any individual scientist’s work. The results of this process are more trustworthy than any other way of producing knowledge, precisely because the process is robust in the face of error.
but you really should head over to Serendipity and check out the following three posts:
- Academics always fight over the peer-review process
- Who is pulling the strings?
- If we can’t make mistakes, then we can’t do science