Bias, Prejudice, and Cheating in Science!!

The word “Science” evokes God-like respect for many people, more because the advances of “technology” have blurred what people should know about “science” and the scientific establishment. This awe for science is often exploited by the so-called rationalists for intimidating Christians, particularly those who are passing through doubts about the Bible and their faith.

Christians need to be reminded repeatedly that while science as a discipline of study aims to be objective, the “practice” of science is not always full of objectivity. One’s philosophy, political loyalties, departmental intrigues, mutual competition, and the plain old desire to lie towards one’s goal are all common in science. A good example is Galileo.

Most people only know that Galileo Galilee was condemned by the church. But they do not know that it was a political affair, in which Galileo played a political manipulation. His manipulations were opposed by the “scientific establishment” of his time, and it is they who used the church to get Galileo condemned. In essence, the Galileo affair was not church versus science, but mostly “science-politicized” on both the sides.

That bias, prejudice, and outright cheating does exist in science has been demonstrated once again by the Celecoxib Affair. Celecoxib is a member of a family of medicines known as NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs). Dr. Scott S. Reuben of the Baystate Medical Centre in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA has published several papers on this medicine and related subjects.

It was revealed recently, in the first audit, that 21 of the 72 papers he published were outright frauds. What is more, an uncountable number derivative research papers have been published by an uncountable number of other researchers who took the original papers for granted. Only a detailed audit will reveal the exact number of fraudulent papers published by Dr. Reuben. The papers exposed as frauds are being retracted by medical journals that published them (all of these are peer-reviewed journals). Worse, his forged papers were quoted more than his more genuine papers, which means the false information propagated by him has travelled farther than the more objective one.

Initial auditing shows that he published research papers with fabricated data for 13 years and his peers simply okayed the papers without being able to detect the fraud. It is only recently that Hwang Woo Suk’s fraud related to stem cell research was found.

Science is not a monolithic body of truth. Nor is scientific research any kind of bias-free mechanical activity. One has to carefully analyze both the corpus of science as well as the conduct of researchers in science before one accepts any claim for objective truth. More so when some people try to use (rather, misuse) the name of science to attack the Bible or the Christian faith.

Online Resources For Further Reading

[Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a physicist, with expertise inter alia in Quantum-nuclear Physics, and has worked extensively on the inner quark-structure of Protons and Neutrons. He has also specialized in Christian Apologetics, Biblical Archeology, Journalism, Alternative Medicines, and several other fields]

5 replies
  1. Johnson
    Johnson says:

    Thanks Jonathan for the comment on the article and also about the photograph. The photograph with the article is the work of the Webmaster who has used some facility in this wordpress theme to make it appear at the right of every article.

    The photograph that appears along with the comment comes from “wordpress”. Probably I can change that from my side.

    I forgot o tell you that your your photograph with the hat looks very interesting.

    Johnson C. Philip

  2. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    Cheers Johnson. There is an interesting story to go with the hat photo, but it is hopelessly off-topic. I seem to be far too proficient in diverting comments away from the topic, which I know is against the motif of the site. Thus I must hesitate to progress any further on this. ;-)

  3. ed thomas
    ed thomas says:

    Interesting article Johnson. It is curious that so much comment has come out in Christian-supporting publications lately relating to dishonesty in the field of science. Curious, because it is as though anything else would be expected from a field populated by human beings. No scientist that I know of has ever claimed that scientists are anything but human, with all the frailties that that implies. They do try to do their best though, and most shortcomings among scientists that are brought to public notice are publicized by scientists themselves. They catch their own frauds. And, yes they often argue among themselves, and do their best to expose weaknesses in each others work. Its called peer review. Was it scientists who did the leg work to expose the frauds that you mention? I thought as much.

    In a similar vein, I recall a big hubbub some years ago in the Christian media in the US about fossilized footprints beside a Texas stream, purporting to show human and dynasaur footprints SIDE BY SIDE! Big news!

    Turns out the good Christians who made the discovery were found to have tried to have the footprints “improved”. I don’t recall that the same Christian media that had trumpeted the discovery ever publicised the fraud, or the fact that the headline thesis was in fact discredited, as well. Do Christians expose Christian frauds? I don’t recall any.

    As for scientists attacking Christianity. My impression is that the attacks usually come (the few times they do come) from athiests, rather than scientists as such. And, why would scientists, as a group, attack Christianity? They recognize that science and Christianity are about different things. Then too, in the US, most scientists are Christians themselves.

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  1. […] was not church versus science, but mostly “science-politicized” on both the sides.” (see Bias, Prejudice, and Cheating in Science!!). So science was at fault and the Church was […]

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