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Monday, May 14, 2012

Bullshit Man!

I'm reading the book "On Bullshit" by Harry G. Franfurt.
That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false: Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth - this indifference to how things really are - that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.
The business of science fails when they have that lack of connection to a concern with truth. What the many people whom I have highlighted on this blog have taught us is that the truth is not a necessary part of a successful scientific career in academia or industry. Life sciences are most successfully pursued by those with the best bullshitting skills. They do not start off on a journey to find the truth. At the same time they are not deliberately being dishonest. They see the success criteria for a Cargo Cult and they know it is within their skill set to reach the higher ranks.

In the Amgen paper regarding 53 landmark oncology papers we learned that one author published the results of one experiment that was tried 6 times. The author admitted that the reported results made for the best narrative. That was the reason he published his result. This is a lack of connection to a concern with truth.

We've hit some dark times but bullshit remains safely behind the wall of, "It's science".

Would BullshitMan help?

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