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Written by James Delingpole, breitbart.com

Science is rife with corruption, incompetence, dishonesty and fabrication–and now, thanks to a frank resignation letter by the US’s top scientific misconduct official we have a better idea why.

David E. Wright, a respected science historian, has just quit his job as director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI; part of the Department of Health and Human Services) and is scathing about his experiences there.lab test

In his resignation letter, he accuses his boss HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh of running an organization which is “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable.”

He writes to Koh:

In one instance, by way of illustration, I urgently needed to fill a vacancy for an ORI division director.  I asked the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (your deputy) when I could proceed.  She said there was a priority list.  I asked where ORI’s request was on that list.  She said the list was secret and that we weren’t on the top, but we weren’t on the bottom either. Sixteen months later we still don’t have a division director on board.

His experiences at ORI, he adds, have confirmed all his worst suspicions about the workings of federal bureaucracy.

We spend exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and in generating repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive.  None of this renders the slightest bit of assistance to ORI in handling allegations of misconduct or in promoting the responsible conduct of research.  Instead, it sucks away time and resources that we might better use to meet our mission.

Wright’s observations go some way towards explaining why so much of the corruption in US science goes either uninvestigated or unpunished.

One example can be found in this letter from Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA) to the ORI about the case of an AIDS researcher at Iowa State University who faked data to obtain nearly $19 million in NIH grant money. The ORI banned the researcher from receiving grants for three years but has apparently made no attempt to recoup the missing $19 million.

This kind of skullduggery is especially prevalent in the fields of “climate science” and environmentalism because so much government, European Union, and United Nations money has been pumped into these fashionable areas of concern.

At UC Berkeley, a researcher named Tyrone Hayes has built a highly successful career on promoting the “endocrine disruptor” scare–doing enormous harm to the US agricultural industry–despite no other scientist having been able to replicate his research.

Or consider the nonsense widely promulgated about the Costa Rican golden toad–a species whose disappearance alarmist scientists frequently ascribe to “climate change,” despite overwhelming evidence that it perished as a result of a fungus unconnected with “global warming.”

But few branches of science are immune, as this infographic from Clinicalpsychology.net makes clear.

Among its findings:

1 in 3 scientists admits to using questionable research practices

1 in 50 scientists admits to falsifying or fabricating data outright.

71 percent of scientists report that colleagues have used questionable methods

14 percent claim colleagues have falsified data

Among biomedical research trainees at the University of California, San Diego five percent admitted to modifying results and 81 percent said they would fabricate or modify results to win a grant or publish a paper.

And those are just the ones who’ll admit it…. 


Comments (5)

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    Doug  Cotton


    Robert I Ellison misquoted me on Judith Curry’s Open Thread, and I think my reply is worth repeating here …

    (1) “The concept of an isolated system can serve as a useful model approximating many real-world situations. It is an acceptable idealization used in constructing mathematical models of certain natural phenomena …” We can treat an imaginary column of air in the troposphere of a planet as an “isolated system” in the sense commonly used in Kinetic Theory and thermodynamics..

    (2) “So we repair to other expressions of the 2nd law – the equivalent Kelvin or Clausius expressions:” Do you just? Take yourself back to the 19th century, do you, ignoring all the physics research since? If you wish to argue using the Clausius statement in a gravitational field then I reject your argument, outright, because you cannot then have any explanation as to how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus in order to raise its temperature 5 degrees.

    (3) . “Doug applies that to individual photons – i.e. a photon can not pass from a warmer body to a cooler.” Of course it can. Don’t misquote me, thanks! Read my peer-reviewed peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012, and easily found on P S I. That explains what physicists in the 21st century now realise what happens when photons pass from cold to hot objects.. It also explains why infra-red frequencies in sunlight penetrate into ocean thermoclines, whereas IR frequencies from a colder atmosphere don’t. And it explains why microwave ovens don’t heat those plastic bowls, but the Sun’s rays do, and why back radiation does not melt frost in the shade of a tree, but frost in sunlight does get melted.

    (4) “No one has misunderstood the 2nd law but Doug.” Well you’ve just proved you have, because you think what you started out explaining correctly can then somehow be whittled down to the old, outdated and restricted Clausius statement which relates to non-gravitational systems, or only in horizontal planes in gravitational systems. If you don’t understand why, then it is you, my friend, who doesn’t understand thermodynamic equilibrium. And if you disagree, then you have no explanation for the gravitationally induced thermal gradient in a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube.

    And if you still think you do understand the Second Law, then explain how on Earth you could have two different states of maximum entropy – one for thermodynamic equilibrium and one for hydrostatic equilibrium..

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    Doug  Cotton


    If there’s one thing I agree about with solvingtornadoes, it is indeed the need for class action, and I believe PSI may be able to help organise such by contacting law firms and large companies that have incurred costs or damages.

    The parties being accused of misleading the world ought to include the IPCC, the institutions and Wikipedia.

    I have deliberately tested the system at Wikipedia, anticipating that I would be banned.

    For example, see my criticism of the Venus article here …

    and my personal talk page which ended with discussion of possible class action against Wikipedia and others.


    They deleted my last few comments and then blocked my editing of my own talk page – their last resort.

    PSI ought to write an article on the Venus hoax. It’s so easy to demolish. The only “support” comes from 1980’s literature wherein there are nothing but just assertive assumptions that Venus is hotter than Earth because it has all that carbon dioxide. Well where is its global warming in the last few decades of measurements? How does the atmosphere multiply the incident solar energy flux up to about 14,000 to 16,000 W/m^2, as would be required to cause the temperature of the surface to rise by 5 degrees during the day, assuming absorptivity of 0.85 to 0.95. Back radiation cannot cause a temperature to rise. What does is downward convection (meaning both diffusion and advection) which is restoring thermodynamic equilibrium (with maximum entropy) that being the same as hydrostatic equilibrium in the case of a planet’s troposphere.

    However, before starting action, PSI needs to get its own thoughts together. It needs to accept the evidence of the gravito-thermal effect as seen in the Ranque-Hilsch Vortex tube, and you can start with my additions to the WP talk page on that …


    Loschmidt was right.

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    I believe there is one and only one strategy to combat the kind of widespread fraud that is indicated in this article. And that is through class action lawsuits in which the plaintiff is the people (taxpayers) of USA and the named defendants are the Institutions that are the beneficiaries of these grants–these are the deep pockets. Targeting the researchers is pointless because, as indicated here, all they are going to do is play games (like Michael Mann) and appeal to the populace pretending to the the victim of big business. The big tobacco class action lawsuit is the example that should be emulated. Us skeptics need to stop pussyfooting around and realize that attempting to embarrass researchers only makes the researchers look noble in the publics eyes. Only when these institutions see their grant money as the target of a tobacco-style class action lawsuit will these institutions have the incentive to begin policing themselves.

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