Monday, March 22, 2010

Philly Inquirer talks about Michael Mann and ClimateGate

Back on February 4, Katie Couric's CBS News showed part of the famous "Hide the Decline" clip satirizing Michael Mann of Penn State. On March 22, Faye Flam of the Philly Inquirer follows up on what has happened to Mann.

Flam included words from David Goodstein: "Fraud is something that occurs in published works - not in unpublished e-mails," said David Goodstein, a former provost of Caltech and author of On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales From the Front Lines of Science.

Eric Campbell is quoted: "Someone says something is the truth, and then a bunch of other smart people say it's not . . . that's how science works."

One can find many definitions of fraud on the internet. Text on a website of Aaron Larson notes:

In simple terms, fraud occurs when somebody makes a misrepresentation of material fact, in order to obtain action or forebearance by another person, where the other person relies upon the misrepresentation and suffers injury as a result of the act or forebearance taken in reliance upon the misrepresentation. In most fraud cases, there is active misrepresentation by the defendant. In some, the misrepresentation occurs through the defendant's silence on a key issue.

The issue is a misrepresentation of a material fact.

From chestofbooks on misrepresentation [in the area of contracts]:

The elements of innocent misrepresentation are substantially the same as those of fraud except that the party who makes such false statement is acting in good faith.1 The theory entertained in some jurisdictions that a positive statement which is made without disclaiming personal knowledge amounts to an assertion of personal knowledge and hence amounts to fraud, no matter with what good faith such statement is made, extends the boundaries of fraud so as to include practically all operative misrepresentation.2

Within these definitions, the actions of Jan Hendrik Schon might be deemed to qualify as fraud, even though they were published in journals such as Science and Nature.

On a different academic scandal, Professor sacked for academic plagiarism


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