Friday, December 30, 2005

Hwang, You Suck

If you haven't already heard, stem-cell "pioneer" Hwang Woo-suk was found to not only be a partial fraud, but a COMPLETE fraud. He made his entire data set up. Frankly, I'm very disappointed for several reasons. First and most obvious, I'm disappointed as a scientist. Having been forced by Hopkins to take three sets of ethics classes, including a lecture on the Ethics of Writing (where this very topic was discussed), a stunt like this hits the entire research community below the belt, so to say. Second, I'm disappointed as a writer. Being acutely familiar with the publishing process, I have to ask, "Where were the reviewers?" Science is a self-correcting subject because of the peer-review process, and the reviewers of this article have failed the community as well. Third, I'm disappointed as someone who still believes that stem cell research holds great promise, and in how Hwang has tainted the field for anyone else still in it. This will only serve to fuel the religious right's opposition to the research (an opposition that I disagree with about 90%), place even tighter restrictions on research being currently conducted, and call into question any past and future results from the field - all in all, quite a discouraging package to anyone who is considering the prospect of a future in stem cell research. Some of the future great minds might not find it worth the trouble to undertake future research because this man so severely crippled it.

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