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Scientist Quits Effort To Live-Blog Stem Cell Generation

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the hard-to-perform-for-an-audience dept.

Biotech 17

According to reader sciencehabit (1205606), Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee, the embryologist who has been live-blogging his attempt to reproduce a new kind of stem cells, has given up, writing on this Research Gate page, "I don't think STAP cells exist and it will be a waste of manpower and research funding to carry on with this experiment any further." From the linked article: "Though he is giving up, he hopes others will continue to investigate whether the new approach – which has dogged by controversy and claims of research misconduct — can really lead to stem cells."

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Sad To Hear. (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46668943)

Even if he's mistaken, there's one less researcher out there trying to figure out how to grow my replacement parts.

Re:Sad To Hear. (5, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#46668959)

No, what he's given up on is trying to replicate dubious results allegedly obtained by others. In other words, by giving up he has significantly contributed to stem cell research.

Re:Sad To Hear. (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46669253)

By going this far, he has contributed. By giving up, he hasn't contributed further, but he is now of course free to make bigger contributions with new experiments.

Re:Sad To Hear. (1)

FunkyLich (2533348) | about 4 months ago | (#46672361)

Considering also the parent post, it would be wiser on his part to quit and leave the dubious still dubious and get on with proper research, rather than step on who knows who might be interested in or is behind the marketing of the dubious results and who could later undermine his proper research. Spoiling somebody's elaborate plan to profit by scientific fallacies, could lead to grudges just because the said fallacy now has been scientifically proven and the profit plan, however elaborate and next-to-perfect, is dead forever.

Claims? Try Busted for... (2)

Shinobi (19308) | about 4 months ago | (#46669077)

Several images have been shown to be edited/duplicated, one of the main authors has recommended that the papers should be pulled etc...

"Wakayama told NHK he is no longer sure the STAP cells were actually created. He was in charge of important experiments to check the pluripotency of the cells.

He said a change in a specific gene is key proof that the cells are created. He said team members were told before they released the papers that the gene had changed.

Last week, RIKEN disclosed detailed procedures for making STAP cells after outside experts failed to replicate the results outlined in the Nature article.
  Wakayama pointed out that in the newly released procedures, RIKEN says this change didn't take place.

He said he reviewed test data submitted to the team's internal meetings and found multiple serious problems, such as questionable images."

Give the man a medal (3, Insightful)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 4 months ago | (#46669111)

People (science deniers) are always talking about how scientists are only interested in their grants and saying what the popular opinion is to get more grants. The truth is that you can't make a name for yourself in science (and thus get money) by supporting the popular opinion. You only win a Nobel Prize by challenging the status quo and messing up everyone's preconceived notions.

This guy is a hero despite not being able to do what he wanted because he looked at the data and said "Wait, what? This is BS."
"This is BS." is how you get things done in science.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46669265)

This guy is a hero despite not being able to do what he wanted because he looked at the data and said "Wait, what? This is BS."

There are plenty of readers on Slashdot who will tell you that without even having to look at the data.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 4 months ago | (#46669401)

Yes and there are plenty who will tell us "global warming doesn't exist and even if if existed (which it does not) it wouldn't be caused by humans anyway. Besides the climate have been warmer previously and some change isn't that bad.". There even have been people promoting the most well documented placebo in the world - homeopathy.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46669643)

Yes and there are plenty who will tell us "global warming doesn't exist and even if if existed (which it does not) it wouldn't be caused by humans anyway. Besides the climate have been warmer previously and some change isn't that bad."

And there are plenty of people who will trot out their favorite non sequitur whenever they can.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#46669919)

What he means is that "some guy on the internet" is not a valid source.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46671801)

It's not about sources. The original post is saying the claim is self-evident.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 4 months ago | (#46670327)

How doesn't my example(s) follow from the parent post? That plenty (pseduo-)anonymous sources makes claim about scientific topics on the Internet doesn't mean that one should assign those claims too much weight.

Now that I (hopefully) explained why this isn't a non sequitur I'll go to your other claim/implication that this example is a "favorite" that I "trot". As this is the first time I written something like this the first and second claim falls.

Unlike your claims my ones are factual (as I have personally read plenty of examples of the same on this very site) and are relevant to this topic in general and the post I replied to in particular.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46671753)

Because it's an idiom for saying that the claim was self-evidently false.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 4 months ago | (#46674563)

But it isn't?!? The statement was and is true.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46676731)

The statement was and is true.

The story is about how a researcher can't replicate the results of an extraordinary scientific claim. The original poster was saying in effect that it was self-evident that it wouldn't be possible to replicate the scientific claim.

Re:Give the man a medal (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46669583)

People (science deniers) are always talking about how scientists are only interested in their grants and saying what the popular opinion is to get more grants.

So there are three unscientific fallacies present in this sentence. There's the construction of a straw man and connotative labeling of that straw man with "science deniers". Then there's the assumption that coming up with one anecdote actually demolishes that straw man.

The truth is that you can't make a name for yourself in science (and thus get money) by supporting the popular opinion. You only win a Nobel Prize by challenging the status quo and messing up everyone's preconceived notions.

The more common way IMHO is to simply do something new. Glancing through the list of Nobel prizes in physics, I getting on average around one Nobel prize per year (some years they give out more than one prize) awarded for doing new things rather than challenging the status quo.

Re:Give the man a medal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46673619)

The problem is that the replication of this particular study is an aberration. That is why it is so notable. If every science news story posted here received the same effort at replication, it would become clear that the vast majority (70-90%) of claims being made are questionable at best. If over 50% of scientific claims are going to be wrong, that brings up why we should be funding these people to do experiments rather than just come up with ideas then flip a coin (much cheaper).

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