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Pop media doesn’t offer glaring headlines when materialist science fails


In “Dutch Scientist Fired for Faking Data” (The Scientist , September 8, 2011), Tia Ghose reports “A psychologist whose splashy findings on human nature routinely made the news has been dismissed for falsifying data.”

Diederik Stapel, who headed the Institute for Behavioral Economics Research at Tilburg University, routinely published controversial findings that seemed to get at fundamental aspects of human nature. In April, he published a Science study showing that messy or chaotic environments make people more prone to relying on stereotypes.

But late last month (August 27), researchers in his lab contacted the Rector of the university, Philip Eijlander, and alleged that some of the data was fabricated, ScienceInsider reports.

Makes sense. Applying common sense, we assume that messy or chaotic environments have variable effects. Some people rely on stereotypes, others engage in new types of thinking when the old ones don’t work any more. The mix would vary by population, and no explicit natural law likely governs it.

Are we channelling Marc but the monkeys talk to ME! Hauser, who resigned from Harvard under a cloud, when no one could replicate his data –  and is currently writing Evilicious? Okay. We are channelling Marc Hauser.

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See also:

When Bedtime for Bonzo was not a comedy

Slate reporter muses on Harvard’s recent evolutionary psychology scandal

Evilicious? Monkeys r’ us prof Marc Hauser barred from lecture room.


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