|' Meat Eaters' Professor Faked Data for Years|
From an unfazed Associated Press:
We suspect there was not much "scorn and disbelief" since the kind of claims Stapel advanced were exactly what the news media and the rest of the liberal establishment love to hear.
Dutch professor faked data for years TOBY STERLING, Associated Press
November 05, 2011
AMSTERDAM (AP) – A prominent Dutch social psychologist who once claimed to have shown that the very act of thinking about eating meat makes people behave more selfishly has been found to have faked data throughout much of his career.
In one of the worst cases of scientific fraud on record in the Netherlands, a review committee made up of some of the country’s top scientists has found that University of Tilburg Professor Diederik Stapel systematically falsified data to achieve the results he wanted.
The university has fired the 45-year-old Stapel and plans to file fraud charges against him, university spokesman Walther Verhoeven. Stapel acknowledged in a statement the accusations were largely true.
"I have manipulated study data and fabricated investigations," he wrote in an open letter published by De Volkskrant newspaper this week. "I realise that via this behavior I have left my direct colleagues stunned and angry and put my field, social psychology, in a poor light."
The committee set up to investigate Stapel said after its preliminary investigation it had found "several dozen publications in which use was made of fictitious data" in the period since 2004, though Stapel’s career goes back to the early 1990s.
This year, Stapel co-authored a paper published in Science magazine that said white people are more prone to discriminate against black people when they encounter them in a messy environment, such as one containing litter, abandoned bicycles and broken sidewalks.
"These findings considerably advance our knowledge of the impact of the physical environment on stereotyping and discrimination and have clear policy implications," the paper’s abstract says.
Although the paper that linked thoughts of eating meat eating with anti-social behavior was met with scorn and disbelief when it was publicised in August, it took several doctoral candidates Stapel was mentoring to unmask him.
So no matter how preposterous such claims are, they are almost never questioned. Just like as in this case, where instead of ridicule, Mr. Stapel received fame and respect up until he went a little too far.
Verhoeven said the three graduate students grew suspicious of the data Stapel had supplied them without allowing them to participate in the actual research. When they ran statistical tests on it themselves they found it too perfect to be true and went to the university’s dean with their suspicions…
In his statement, Stapel didn’t directly say what his motivations were. He said he had succumbed to competitive pressures and the need to publish. But he said "it’s important to me to underline that the mistakes I made weren’t for selfish reasons."
The review panel noted Stapel had enjoyed a position of prestige as a professor and head of his department, and that he had access to subsidies and funding for his projects as a result of the fraud.
Would it be too cynical to wonder if other scientists ever succumb to pressure and fake data to get money and prestige? Probably. Such things probably never happen in the field of science.
For the record, here is a typical write up of Mr. Stapel’s ‘meat eater’ findings, from the Dutch Daily News, back in August:
Meat eaters are selfish and less social Dutch Daily News All of which would be hilarious, if it hadn’t been believed.
Aug 30, 2011
"Meat brings out the worst in people. This is what psychologists of the Radboud University Nijmegen and Tilburg University concluded from varrious [sic] studies on the psychological significance of meat.
Thinking of meat makes people less socially and in many respects more "loutish". It also appears that people are more likely to choose meat when they feel insecure, perhaps because it is a feeling of superiority or status displays, the researchers suggest.
Marcel Zeelenberg Tilburg professors (Economic psychology) and Diederik Stapel (consumer sciences and dean of Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Nijmegen Professor Roos Vonk (social psychology) examined the psychological significance of meat. "People say, meat is tasty, it’s healthy. But like many other meat products has also a symbolic and expressive value ‘, Zeelenberg explained. "Think of driving a Hummer or a [small car]. With both you’ll get to your destination, but a Hummer is tougher. Like the Hummer meat is bad for the environment and climate. It is also bad for animals, the third world and our own health. But people can get quite upset when you tell them that. They are obviously very attached to their steak."
In other studies it was examined what happens to people when they think of meat. They got to see a picture of a juicy steak, while a control group saw a picture of a cow or a tree. Thinking of meat, does not exactly bring out the best in people, Roos Vonk noted. People who looked at the steak had made selfish choices during a division game, they often chose in their own interest. In imaginary situations, they found themselves more important than others and reacted less social: in a fire they found that they often wished to be saved first, and that they were less willing to help someone who is upset. It was also found that after people eating meat they felt less connected to others, lonely and unpopular…
Eating meat is also traditionally associated with status, meat used to be much more expensive and scarcer than now. Eating meat is a way to elevate yourself above others… It also makes people loutish when they think about meat and also feel lonely…