Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Shit.

Marc Hauser was investigated by his institution (Harvard) for scientific misconduct. And they found stuff.

The reason this is so disappointing is that Hauser was doing work directly investigating human moral behavior that I've previously been very excited about. His conclusions had strongly pointed to our moral sense being innate and not originating from religion. This strengthens the rationalist case, and now everything he's done is under suspicion. So besides the whole situation being sadly ironic, alert theists will realize that they've just been handed a machine gun made of kryptonite: one of the rationalists' champions of empirically provable moral behavior was himself engaging in scientific misconduct. In fact "disappointed" does not begin to describe how I feel about this news.

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