In which I also, uh, accidentally defend scientific fraud 🕴️
this reminds me of a distinction I made a while ago between the "entrepreneurial" mindset (risk-taking, willing to distort reality within bounds) vs the "scientific" mindset (truth-oriented, cautious, skeptical). but this post made me realize that what I call the "entrepreneurial" mindset can be useful in science too!
Amazing. Yes! Bad projects. Good projects. Science. Pseudo science. Success. Failure. Lies. Fraud... all of that you wrote ...and I could not NOT think of Rupert Sheldrake's theories on "Resonance" - on the "Field" ... Once an idea or a practice is out there... it will be used....one way or the other!
thank you for this fascinating piece - again!
PS By the way what did you think of the movie Oppenheimer... ? I want to see it and I dont want to see it.... 🤔
are we (collectively) maximizing the upsides (let's be crazy / pursue what seems impossible-endeavors) or optimizing the downsides (let's play it safe / be cautious)? it always feels like this pendulum is switching from one side to the other, creating tension / mishaps like in between.
Interesting post! I agree with you and with some prodding may even endorse the spicy take. If you haven't already read this essay, I will point to https://www.experimental-history.com/p/science-is-a-strong-link-problem by Adam Mastroianni, which very persuasively argues that in science the only thing that matters is getting the best stuff and we should have minimal to no gatekeeping and increase variance. Bad ideas, whether fraudulent or simply incorrect, will eventually be exposed, and the upside to having truly transformative discoveries is worth the wasted time/effort.
This was great! Reminds me a tad of the how much should you lie post I wrote a while back, though that was on tech companies and not science. Well done!
This is just a special case of the evergreen temptation of "lying for a good cause". Sure, it's not actually *true*, one says, but maybe it can convince someone else about my great ideology?
I think you already know the answer to that in your heart. Deceiving someone to push them towards a given direction, when you have no idea if that direction is the right one, is ultimately self-destructive. If you knew whether it actually was the right direction, you wouldn't need to lie.
About "the optimal amount of fraud is not zero", that's a misapplied maxim. The point of that maxim is that other people will inevitably attempt to fraud you, and that your response shouldn't be to apply maximum defensiveness against that, burning all of your own resources in the process. It's not a maxim that tries to argue that fraud is actually good.