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Monday, January 24, 2011

Questioning Favorable Results

Baltimore, Bulfone-Paus, and Daniel Klessig all had the wool pulled over their eyes by people telling them what they wanted to hear. It is not only easy to do this to some scientists, it seems to be the only way to get ahead in their world.

It's not always black and white. Baltimore wanted the data from Imanishi-Kari. Imanishi-Kari got the data from her lab staff. The data that was wanted was published. The data that contradicted the desired results was the cause of a whole lot of trouble.

Bulfone-Paus wanted the data from subordinates who worked in her laboratory. She got it and published. When did she decide that there was a problem?

Daniel Klessig wanted the data and he published. Trouble!

How does the Cult deal with the trouble?

Highest level:

A BTI investigation concluded there "was no conclusive evidence that Dr Chandok achieved the results reported" but also found "no conclusive evidence" that misconduct had occurred.

Publishing data that no conclusive evidence supports isn't scientific misconduct?

Principle Scientist Leadership level:

This was considered a significant discovery in the field of plant biology. Dr. Klessig and Dr. Chandok began work on a paper to publish the results. Dr. Klessig requested that Prof. Brian Crane, a researcher of animal NOS activity who was familiar to Dr. Klessig, attempt to confirm.

And it was confirmed! How?

Prof. Crane assigned the work to Mr. Pant, a doctoral student who was already performing similar work. Dr. Chandok worked with Mr. Pant to reproduce the results, which was reported as a success. At that time, Dr. Klessig seemed satisfied with this verification, and the paper he and Dr. Chandok completed was submitted to Cell for publication. The paper was published in the Spring of 2003.

Remember the degrees of separation? The fact that PHd scientists do not work in laboratories to confirm data? Dr. Klessig needed to keep building on this foundation of quick sand. He needed more proof. To the lab?

In 2003, Dr. Kim was hired and assigned to verify Dr. Chandok's work.

Were they not convinced yet? What was wrong? Whatever it was, Dr. Chandok wasn't about to go back into that damned laboratory to validate her work. Dr. Kim was not getting the same results as she did. She sued over the retractions of the papers.

Was it scientific misconduct? Bad science? Fraud? Error?

It was a Cargo Cult Science!


Anonymous said...

It appears that Chandok also got her results repeated successfully by Abgent in 2005. So, did Chandok really furnish the reagents for the independent verification effort by Abgent? If so, were appropriate controls kept? The court does not address that.

The Court has quoted extensively from the Scientific misconduct Investigation Committee - but left out the final verdict by BTI - which was that the allegation was unsubstantiated. See Science vol.310, page 425: "......BTI president David Stern confirms that an investigation had not substantiated the charges but adds: “There are numerous disputes on factual issues and divergent viewpoints that I cannot or will not attempt to resolve or reconcile.”

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