Asimov, Issac. "Self-Correction," SciQuest, February, 1982, p. 32.

 

Asimov, Issac. "Self-Correction," SciQuest, February, 1982, p. 32.

Asimov has it that the publicity given science's scandals may reflect credit on science. After all,
there is tremendous temptation to cheat, to be "there" first, and "scientists resist the pressure
marvelously well." Then, when cheating does happen, the "mere fact that it is so publicized is a
tribute to scientists." "Single cases of scientific corruption, however, will be talked about for
years and inspire articles and books by the score. It's really a compliment." Then, "Science is
self- correcting in a way that no other field of intellectual endeavor can match." And, "it is
scientists themselves who catch the frauds; no one else is equipped to do so." Finally, "the
punishment is absolute. Anyone who proves to have violated the ethics of scientific endeavor is
ruined for life. There is no second chance, no vestige of status. He or she must drop out, forever
disgraced."

Asimov has said these things in other places but these comments were written at a time when he
ought to know better. He is clearly playing the role of the sage. He has inverted the facts of
contemporary and historical fraud and turned the cases into praise for scientists.