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Subject: The immoral author of Moral Minds rss

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The usually quotable Mr. Hauser, a psychology professor and director of Harvard's Cognitive Evolution Laboratory, is the author of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong (Ecco, 2006) and is at work on a forthcoming book titled "Evilicious: Why We Evolved a Taste for Being Bad."

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An internal document, however, sheds light on what was going on in Mr. Hauser's lab. It tells the story of how research assistants became convinced that the professor was reporting bogus data and how he aggressively pushed back against those who questioned his findings or asked for verification.
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A good response from Michael Ruse.

Note conclusion:
Quote:
Finally, a word about why the Hauser affair particularly is so upsetting and why it might have bigger consequences. Evolutionary biology today, especially anything to do with humankind, is loathed and feared by a range of critics, from prominent philosophers (like Jerry A. Fodor, author of What Darwin Got Wrong?), to the supporters of intelligent-design theory (like Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial), to the out-and-out young-earth creationists (like Ken Ham, the force behind the Creation Museum in Kentucky). Like sharks in the water, they circle waiting for a sign of blood. They seize on issues that supposedly discredit evolution and parade them publicly as the norm and the reason to reject modern science.

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Most of us feel a tremor of schadenfreude at the troubles of a prominent Harvard professor, but no one will be following the Hauser story with the unabashed glee of the critics of modern evolutionary theory. Wait for them to start pumping up the publicity, and fear the sideways damage that might be inflicted on all of the good work out there. One man's mistakes rebounds on every evolutionist. But that's science for you.
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Celina
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So a few years ago I read a book called "Philosophers Behaving Badly". It was about Philosophers who did not follow the precepts of their own philosophy. I liked it a lot.

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I think there is a big difference between evolution (as commonly discussed) versus evolutionary psychology.
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Ken
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SpaceGhost wrote:
I think there is a big difference between evolution (as commonly discussed) versus evolutionary psychology.


True, but that's not going to stop some folks from putting some very large headlines out without making that distinction.
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The data in evolutionary psychology is so "fluffy" (ie. open for interpretation, not really quantitative in any meaningful way), that I can see how this type of fraud can go unnoticed for a long time. Nothing makes me angrier than this type of academic dishonesty. Some professors have a sense of entitlement when they reach the upper echelon of their field, and in rare cases that leads to somebody who can't bear the thought that their hypothesis might be wrong.

I'm a firm believer that "unsuccessful experiments" are still good data, even if the direction of the result isn't what the researcher was expecting. While its harder to publish this type of research, its certainly not impossible. Papers which show that an expected result isn't supported are often highly cited, and occasionally paradigm shifting. In this case, he probably had to much invested in his idea to turn back............and thats an obvious sign of somebody who lets their ego trump truth.

The research assistants are the heroes here. Risking their careers to uphold scientific honesty? Good for them. Hopefully they are able to recover, find a new lab, and start over again.
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Zaphod wrote:

The research assistants are the heroes here. Risking their careers to uphold scientific honesty? Good for them. Hopefully they are able to recover, find a new lab, and start over again.


Absolutely.

from Chronicle wrote:
A copy of the document was provided to The Chronicle by a former research assistant in the lab who has since left psychology. The document is the statement he gave to Harvard investigators in 2007.


Sad.
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SpaceGhost wrote:
I think there is a big difference between evolution (as commonly discussed) versus evolutionary psychology.


Unfortunately, it is the latter that has a greater impact on the religious and philosophical teachers of morality. Some do recalibrate their work based on latest findings. These scientists really need to be more rigorous in their discipline before publishing their conclusions. Hauser is a vocal exponent of his beliefs.

from Moral Minds wrote:
"Our moral instincts are immune to the explicitly articulated commandments handed down by religions and government."

"I will argue that this marriage between morality and religion is not only forced but unnecessary, crying out for a divorce."
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Until I see evidence that monkey 'A' filed a lawsuit against monkey 'B' because he spilled hot coffee on his genitals... I call BS on Mr Hauser's theories!
 
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