Integrity in Science

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the blog posts are not necessarily those of TASC.

An interesting excerpt from the book Creativity 1 by Csikszentmihalyi:

The German physicist Heinz Maier-Leibniz, who trained two of his students to the Nobel prize, believes that the responsibility of a scientiific mentor is not only to be honest himself but also to make sure of the honesty of his coworkers:

I don't know whether the word honesty is the best word.   It's the search for truth in your work. You must criticize yourself, you must consider everything that may contradict what you think, and you must never hide an error. And the whole atmosphere should be so that everybody is like that. And later, when you are head of a lab or an institute, you must make a great effort to help those who are honest, those who don't work only for their careers and try to diminish the work of others. This is the most important task that a professor has. It's absolutely fundamental.

...

The physical scientists said that unless they were truthful to their observations of empirical facts, they could not do science, let alone be creative. 1

This says that the scientists who ignore empirical data cannot do science. How many times have you heard the opinion expressed that those scientists doubting evolution ought not to be doing science? Looking at the empirical data, in light of the above quote, one would tend to see that opinion as off by 180 degrees; rather, it would seem that those who do believe in evolution are not doing science.

  • 1. a. b. Csikszentmihalyi M (1996) Creativity, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 166-167