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Social science’s house is on fire, and top guns don’t seem to notice


And does this sound familiar from other sciences?

Students exposed these problems, just as assistants exposed similar problems at ex-Harvard professor Marc Hauser’s lab (which came up with stunning revelations that, despite all appearances to the contrary, monkeys think like people).

Students and assistants have little to lose by rocking the boat in an extreme case because, at worst, it is far better to lose one’s PhD or position anonymously than in a scandal where one’s name might come up in a public report—and then be dredged up later by the competition, just when one is rising satisfactorily in another career.

But when a given level of professional misconduct is very widespread, as we saw in Part I, there just isn’t any such insider group with nothing to lose by blowing the whistle. That is why the problems tend to persist. It is thus useful to ask whom Mr. Kraut [the spokesman for the social science discipline] meant to reassure in his article. But let us come back to that in a moment.



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