The Marc Hauser Counter-Offensive Begins

Harvard Crimson: Who Will Speak For Marc Hauser?

The Harvard Crimson today offers a defense, of sorts, of Marc Hauser, the Harvard psychology professor accused of scientific misconduct.

The Crimson piece, written by Bert Vaux, a former professor of linguistics at Harvard and Jeffrey Watumull, a graduate student in linguistics at the University of Cambridge and a member of Hauser’s lab, basically trashes the media for telling only one side of the story, and for lacing those stories with “innuendo” and “gossip.”

Vaux and Watumull defend the research methodology Hauser used in experiments he did with monkeys, seeking to determine if they recognized certain sound patterns. And, the writers say Gerry Altmann, the editor of the journal Cognition, who speculated that Hauser fabricated data, spoke out in a manner that was “exceedingly improper.” (Hauser did retract a 2002 paper published in Cognition, and apologized, vaguely, for “mistakes” made.)

The Crimson piece concludes:

In our experience, Marc Hauser is the consummate scientist—the most disinterested, the most rational, the most ethical. We are proud to be his colleagues. However, we are less than proud of those in the cognitive sciences reacting publicly to Hauser’s case with irresponsible impatience (disrespect for due process), unjustified slurs, and half-baked conjectures. All are interested in the truth, but as scientists we ought to consider the case reasonably and measuredly, with objectivity and fairness.

Daily Rounds: Hauser Scandal Aftermath; Health Costs Hurt Colleges; Clinical Trial Conundrum; White House Recharges; Cold Virus and Obesity?

Harvard misconduct case casts shadow over other research – The Boston Globe Marc Hauser’s colleagues grapple with the aftermath of his alleged academic misdeeds. (Boston Globe)

Contributing Columnist – A Health Care Plan for Colleges – Op-Ed – As states pay more for Medicaid, they pay less for higher education. (The New York Times)

Target Cancer – New Drugs Stir Debate on Rules of Clinical Trials – Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Harmon writes movingly about a painful dilemma in cancer trials. (The New York Times)

Looking to Midterms, White House Recharges Health-Care Push – “…hoping that a slate of consumer-friendly provisions will boost public support before midterm elections. Starting Thursday, insurers officially must adhere to about a half-dozen key changes under the law, including eliminating co-payments for preventive services and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until their 26th birthday.” (Wall Street Journal)

Cold strain linked to obesity in children – A small University of California-San Diego study finds children who had been infected with “adenovirus 36” are more likely to be obese. (USA Today)