Ethics in Science

Henry H. Bauer

Table 1
Scientific MethodsJigsaw & Filter
17th century Scientific Revolution ? Societies, journals - community formed
Greece, China, etc ?? as above
Textbooks reliable, new research fallibl (90% right vs. 90% wrong) ?? filtering takes time
revolutions in science: oxygen vs. phlogiston; particle-waves; making previously "impossible" molecules method reliable and yet leads to perpetual self-correction?? new connections in jigsaw: it isn't the sky, it's water! or, those pieces don't really fit together!
testing ideas: cold fusion; N-rays scientists are able to be objective even when it harms their career; can think of crucial tests of pet ideas keep one another honest; love to prove others wrong
experimentalists & theorists; idea people and kibitzers; geologists and physicists re extinctions ??every scientist uses the same scientific method?? human diversity: side-piece specialists; color vs. shape; systematic vs. inspirational; speculating vs. playing around
expertise, greatness: very, very few scientists have more than one breakthrough to their credit those who are most expert at using The method will do most of the great work every discovery results from a unique combination of inspiration, persistence, luck
where do ideas come from? ??
How can you detect pseudo-science? Why is astrology pseudo-science? Or ufology? Why was acupuncture pseudo-science a few decades ago but not now Or ball lightning? Giant squid? Pseudo-scientists don't use The Method? Or misuse it? What about Harold Edgerton at Loch Ness? Sonar, strobe photography, statistical analysis, trial and error... What basis not to publish an article if the methods seem sound?? need a large and diverse enough community to keep one another on the right track; pseudo-scientists are hermits. There are degrees of isolation: Soviet genetics; N-rays; Wilhelm Reich
More research Always good More rubbish to filter
Faster research Good! Need time to filter the rubbish out

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Version: 1.0, text updated: 5/12/1995
Send questions or comments about this essay to:
Henry H. Bauer
Professor of Chemistry & Science Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0227, (540) 951-2107,