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Who is the most adacedmically dishonest scientist?





Afaceinthematrix
I always hear stories about how Einstein stole relativity, this scientist stole that for some other scientist, etc. It sort of gets annoying to hear because I don't really care; we still have the knowledge and that is what is the most importantly. But I figured I might as well start this topic and see who everyone feels is the most academically dishonest academic of all time.

As for me, I'm going to go with Fermat. There's probably worse than him him but I don't know of many so I'll just go with him. Basically, in the 1600's, he came up with "Fermat's Last Theorem" although it was more of a conjuncture at the time because he never proved it! What the dishonest part is was that he claimed to have a "simple and elegant" proof but he never wrote it down! If you have a simple and elegant proof, then why wouldn't you write it down? Meanwhile, scientists for the next almost four-hundred years were completely baffled by this theorem. My opinion is that if mathematicians who were a million times better than him (Cauchy, Euler, Cantor, etc.) couldn't prove it, then I highly doubt Fermat could prove it. In fact, the theorem stayed unproved until Andrew Wiles finally did it in 1996. However, his 100 page long proof used topology, differential geometry, and other branches of math that were not available to Fermat and so Fermat could not have done that proof. Wile's proof was hardly "simple and elegant." The general consensus today is that there is no elementary proof (that is, proof without using advanced maths) for the theorem. So Fermat basically conjunctured something he could not prove, lied about proving it, and then caused hundreds or thousands of mathematicians to spend their entire careers trying to prove what he couldn't... What does everyone else think?
saratdear
You can't call Fermat academically 'dishonest' for that. Academically deceptive, perhaps, but not dishonest.

I could similarly state that I have a 'simple and elegant' proof for 1/0 = 500...would you waste your life trying to prove it? Smile
Afaceinthematrix
saratdear wrote:
You can't call Fermat academically 'dishonest' for that. Academically deceptive, perhaps, but not dishonest.

I could similarly state that I have a 'simple and elegant' proof for 1/0 = 500...would you waste your life trying to prove it? :)


No. That is dishonest because you do not have a 'simple and elegant' proof for that because it is not true. In this case, it is not true because 1/0 does not equal 500. In Fermat's case his conjecture was true and he claimed to have this simple proof by I think he was lying.
saratdear
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
No. That is dishonest because you do not have a 'simple and elegant' proof for that because it is not true. In this case, it is not true because 1/0 does not equal 500. In Fermat's case his conjecture was true and he claimed to have this simple proof by I think he was lying.


Unless I am mistaken, his theorem was not proved true until 1995. For arguments' sake, let's say my theorem of 1/0 = 500 will be proved true in 2200...now am I dishonest for not posting the 'simple and elegant' proof I have?

And oh, this is what I consider the two terms to mean:

Academically dishonest = Someone who would steal someone's idea, or something as bad. Like say, me stealing someone else's project to pass off as my own.

Academically deceptive = Someone who would use or present misleading information in an academic work. Like me using my own assumptions and beliefs in a research work which should be, say, backed up by verifiable sources.
Afaceinthematrix
saratdear wrote:

Unless I am mistaken, his theorem was not proved true until 1995. For arguments' sake, let's say my theorem of 1/0 = 500 will be proved true in 2200...now am I dishonest for not posting the 'simple and elegant' proof I have?


Yes. You are. You are dishonest because you are lying about having a simple and elegant proof. You do not have one and you know you did not have one. I am sure Fermat knew he did not have one or else he would have shown it. He's no worse than Joseph Smith was for not coughing up the golden plates. And it won't be proven true in 2200 because I'll (roughly) prove it's not true right now.

Claim: 1/0 != 500.

Lemma: 1/x > 1/y if and only if x<y. I won't bother proving the lemma because it's annoying and the proof already exists.

1/(1/500) = 500.

0 < 500. Therefore, 1/0 > 500. Q.E.D.

This is, of course, assuming 1/0 exists (which I am doing just to humor your scenario). It, of course, doesn't exist and so it definitely doesn't equal 500. But I showed that, even if it does exist, then it wouldn't be 500.
saratdear
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

Claim: 1/0 != 500.

Lemma: 1/x > 1/y if and only if x<y. I won't bother proving the lemma because it's annoying and the proof already exists.

1/(1/500) = 500.

0 < 500. Therefore, 1/0 > 500. Q.E.D.

Sorry...not good with proofs here. Smile I did not understand a part of that (in bold). Shouldn't it be 0<1/500? Here x is 0, y is 1/500.
So, 0< 1/500 implies 1/0 > 1/(1/500) meaning

1/0 > 500, right?

There, you've crashed my happy 'simple and elegant' proof. Razz

But coming back to our post, we are just playing around with the words 'dishonest' and 'deceptive'. That is why I tried to define the words in this context.

Consider this question - Would you consider Fermat's behaviour to be bad enough as..say...stealing someone's research work and becoming popular with that?
Afaceinthematrix
saratdear wrote:

Sorry...not good with proofs here. :) I did not understand a part of that (in bold). Shouldn't it be 0<1/500? Here x is 0, y is 1/500.
So, 0< 1/500 implies 1/0 > 1/(1/500) meaning

1/0 > 500, right?


Yup. I didn't bother proof reading that proof or even thinking about it. I was pulling it out of my ass as I was typing hehe. But you're correct.
Bikerman
On the 'Fermat' issue, here's a Horizon video on the matter.

http://bikerman.co.uk/images/video/horizon/1997-Fermat.flv
Indi
saratdear wrote:
Academically dishonest = Someone who would steal someone's idea, or something as bad. Like say, me stealing someone else's project to pass off as my own.

That's plagiarism. That's one form of academic dishonesty.

saratdear wrote:
Academically deceptive = Someone who would use or present misleading information in an academic work. Like me using my own assumptions and beliefs in a research work which should be, say, backed up by verifiable sources.

That's falsifying data or results. That's another form of academic dishonesty.

And there are several other forms of academic dishonesty, such as sabotage (like messing up someone else's experiment so they don't get the right result).

Deception and dishonesty are two sides of the same coin - the only difference between the two is one is focusing on the action (dishonesty) and the other is focusing on the desired result (deception). But to deliberately cause deception, you have to be dishonest; if you're being dishonest, you are trying to deceive.
saratdear
Indi wrote:
....But to deliberately cause deception, you have to be dishonest...


Does that mean I can deceive someone indeliberately?
Bikerman
saratdear wrote:
Indi wrote:
....But to deliberately cause deception, you have to be dishonest...


Does that mean I can deceive someone indeliberately?

Of course. If you genuinely believe X and you tell others that X is true, then it turns out that X is wrong, you have misled people unknowingly.
_AVG_
According to me it doesn't matter who develops a theory/equation/formula/proof etc. as long as the item in question exists. For example, personally, I do not care whether Einstein developed Relativity or not as long as it exists and makes sense today.

I mean, one could go as far as saying that Poincare and Lorentz had indeed come up with similar ideas (and in fact, Poincare with the same mathematical consequences!) but Einstein could have been "inspired" by these ideas (and not directly plagiarized them) : nevertheless, as you have scrutinized the terms "deception" and "dishonesty", one can also scrutinize the term "inspired" in this context.

Finally, I would say engaging in such debate is a complete waste of time; I would rather engage myself on expanding knowledge than arguing who was responsible for doing so.

Anyway, as far as dishonesty is concerned, you should read up on Newton and his methods (especially "sabotage"); and, although I do get the irony, I am not only referring to "Newton's method" i.e. the Newton-Raphson method. I would also like to question how historians exactly judge who came up with something independently (for example, Newton and Leibinz calculus; also, the Cauchy-Riemann equations).
iman
I'm not sure if he's considered a scientist, but I'd say Pythagoras. He stole the theorem from his students, and there's even evidence that the Indians already discovered the same thing years before Pythagoras.

Also, Fermat made a lot of conjectures, and a lot of his theorems are just special cases of better theorems, but I don't think he's dishonest
metalfreek
Sir Issac Newton is also know to have a notorious relation with other academics. But I wouldn't say Newton as dishonest.

The most serious one was with German Gottfried Leibniz. Both Newton and Leibniz developed calculus. It is now clear that Newton had developed calculus years earlier than Leibniz but there was a huge dispute over this. There was a huge row on who had developed it first and there were scientist supporting both contenders.

It is interesting that most of the articles that appeared in favor of Newton were originally written by Newton himself but published in the Name of his friends.

Leibniz later filed an appeal on Royal society where Newton was president (big mistake). Newton formed an impartial committee which was entirely composed of Newton's friends. This committee accused Leibniz of Plagiarism.
Afaceinthematrix
Bikerman wrote:
saratdear wrote:
Indi wrote:
....But to deliberately cause deception, you have to be dishonest...


Does that mean I can deceive someone indeliberately?

Of course. If you genuinely believe X and you tell others that X is true, then it turns out that X is wrong, you have misled people unknowingly.


True. Although most of us acknowledge that there is some sort of moral difference between knowingly saying false information and trying to say correct information and accidentally saying something false.

iman wrote:

Also, Fermat made a lot of conjectures, and a lot of his theorems are just special cases of better theorems, but I don't think he's dishonest


So then you actually believe that he had a "simple and elegant" proof for his last theorem even though all the evidence points to him not having it? It's funny that many people agree that he probably didn't prove in but then disagree that he was dishonest.

_AVG_ wrote:
According to me it doesn't matter who develops a theory/equation/formula/proof etc. as long as the item in question exists. For example, personally, I do not care whether Einstein developed Relativity or not as long as it exists and makes sense today.


I sort of hinted that at the beginning although if it was my work, I'd still want the credit! Plus, there's often money involved and I definitely want the money to be mine!

Bikerman wrote:
On the 'Fermat' issue, here's a Horizon video on the matter.

http://bikerman.co.uk/images/video/horizon/1997-Fermat.flv


Interesting documentary... I watched it and learned a few new things. To me it seems that there should be a few more names associated with Wile's in the final result because he used many results from other mathematicians but for some reason, we only tend to talk about Wiles... But that is how it usually turns out...
saratdear
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

True. Although most of us acknowledge that there is some sort of moral difference between knowingly saying false information and trying to say correct information and accidentally saying something false.

Thank you, that was what I was hinting at when I talked about indeliberate deception...'deceive' is a strong word for your ignorance, right?

iman wrote:
I'm not sure if he's considered a scientist, but I'd say Pythagoras. He stole the theorem from his students, and there's even evidence that the Indians already discovered the same thing years before Pythagoras.

Out of context here, but when I hear about Pythagoras I think about his supposed stubbornness to accept irrational numbers which culminated in the death of his student Hippasus.
Klaw 2
i think the scientist who wrote an atricle about how autism is caused by vaccination is one of them, he bassically killed kids who weren't vaccinated and died because of it...
It soon turned out to be false, the amount of subjects was too small, weren't picked at random (one was flown in from the states to britain) and there wasn't a control group.

btw his phd is stripped taken from him he isn't allowed to practice medicine anymore.
Indi
Klaw 2 wrote:
i think the scientist who wrote an atricle about how autism is caused by vaccination is one of them, he bassically killed kids who weren't vaccinated and died because of it...
It soon turned out to be false, the amount of subjects was too small, weren't picked at random (one was flown in from the states to britain) and there wasn't a control group.

btw his phd is stripped taken from him he isn't allowed to practice medicine anymore.

(Andrew Wakefield

But, for the record, i don't think he ever had a PhD. i think he had an MD, but if he did, as far as i know he still has it. He was stripped of his medical licence in the UK.

Incidentally, no criminal charges have been filed against him yet (as opposed to all the academic charges)... but that may be coming.)
Ankhanu
Indi wrote:
Klaw 2 wrote:
i think the scientist who wrote an atricle about how autism is caused by vaccination is one of them, he bassically killed kids who weren't vaccinated and died because of it...
It soon turned out to be false, the amount of subjects was too small, weren't picked at random (one was flown in from the states to britain) and there wasn't a control group.

btw his phd is stripped taken from him he isn't allowed to practice medicine anymore.

(Andrew Wakefield

But, for the record, i don't think he ever had a PhD. i think he had an MD, but if he did, as far as i know he still has it. He was stripped of his medical licence in the UK.

Incidentally, no criminal charges have been filed against him yet (as opposed to all the academic charges)... but that may be coming.)


IIRC from a recent phone interview on CBC Radio, Wakefield is still practicing in the USA. And, yeah, he's an MD, not PhD.

EDIT - here's the page with a link to a recording of the interview http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/01/27/letters/ It's the first part of the segment.
Indi
Ankhanu wrote:
Indi wrote:
Klaw 2 wrote:
i think the scientist who wrote an atricle about how autism is caused by vaccination is one of them, he bassically killed kids who weren't vaccinated and died because of it...
It soon turned out to be false, the amount of subjects was too small, weren't picked at random (one was flown in from the states to britain) and there wasn't a control group.

btw his phd is stripped taken from him he isn't allowed to practice medicine anymore.

(Andrew Wakefield

But, for the record, i don't think he ever had a PhD. i think he had an MD, but if he did, as far as i know he still has it. He was stripped of his medical licence in the UK.

Incidentally, no criminal charges have been filed against him yet (as opposed to all the academic charges)... but that may be coming.)


IIRC from a recent phone interview on CBC Radio, Wakefield is still practicing in the USA. And, yeah, he's an MD, not PhD.

EDIT - here's the page with a link to a recording of the interview http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/01/27/letters/ It's the first part of the segment.

A minor technicality, but he isn't practising in the US (or anywhere) - he only had a medical licence in the UK, and that's gone now. i don't see it likely that he'll get one anywhere else.

What he's doing is "research", not medicine (and, really, not actual research - hence the quotes). Basically he's being funded by the Hollywood suckers that bought into his bullshit (McCarthy, Carrey, Maher, etc.) to oversee more "research" into vaccines, basically providing a facade of intellectualism for the movement. So long as he doesn't actually practise medicine, there's nothing illegal about that - you don't need a medical licence to do medical research so long as you have actual doctors overseeing it when there are actual patients involved (but, to my knowledge, what Wakefield is doing now isn't really much in the way of clinical research anyway - he's just scouring old data for correlative evidence, pressuring other groups to run clinical trials, and making media). In fact, he could even do it back in the UK, except that to their credit, morons are fewer, farther between, and less well-funded than they are in the US, so he's staying close to his fan base.
sudip786
newton also have stolen the idea from raphson nd credit goes to newton.similarly caucy have stolen the idea from his student of his analytic solution bt he never creditd to his student
spinout
Have anyone come up with a "simple and elegant" yet??
spinout
I read the simon Singh (?) book some years ago and remember nothing... But I remember it was a big work trying to cover parts of solutions.

Hm, I think Fermat had an idea of proofing the theorem on one page showing that n+1 have a "no go" over a limit. And therefore proofing that it was not true under the limit... And that would fit on a page... Smile

Addition 29/1 2014:
I have looked at fermats last theorem for a day and I think his solution was this:
1. Show Tha smallest difference in factorizing is 2^n-1 and that occurs only when Y = x+1
2. Show tha closest Z always is Y+1
3. Show tha closest case is X^n+Y^n<= Z^n I.E. X=2*n-1
4. Show when the case 2^n-1=2*n-1 I.e. 2^n=2*n works for n = 1 and n= 2, and NOT for n >= 3 in x^n+y^n=z^n.
And that folks are how Fermat was going to proof his last theorem!

Addition 12/2 2014:
Step 1 and 2 - well the arguing would be here... if any. This math is the most tricky for the human (or my brain... hehe)
codersfriend
James Watson(with Francis Crick), who contributed the double helix model of the DNA was believed to have 'stolen' the idea of Rosalind Franklin and took credit for the work.
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