But there is another issue: It undercuts our collective faith in Science as a way of knowing, and I object. It is part of a trend to Post-Modernism, where there is no Truth and there is only opinion. “Scientists” are merely one more set of political hacks who say only what their own personal preferences tell them. We’ve seen this (in spades) in the diet research. We’ve seen this all too clearly in the climate “research.” We see that in the psychology research. Are we seeing now it in the “harder” sciences? And if so, what does that mean for us? Could some of the medical research be faked? Will procedures (intended to preserve life) be based on fraud? Just how far has the contagion gone?
I’m not saying that Science is the only way of knowing, but it is a good one. What we are seeing here is a recapitulation of “The Tragedy of the Commons.” I get 100% of the benefit of my fraud, while the costs are shared by everyone. But those costs are heavy, indeed. The very concepts of truth and safety are attacked. THAT is the problem. It’s not just that we abhor “bad actors.” It’s not merely that one person engages in fraud. It’s that our very view of what is real and what is not is shaken to the core. We no longer accept scientific findings as “Truth,” because the curtain is drawn back and we see a little man furiously working the levers.