Academic Integrity in China and New Threads (xys.org)

Links:

A blog dedicated to Fang Zhouzi and New Threads. Fang got his Ph.D. in biology from Michigan State Univ., worked as a postdoc in Rochester Univ. and then Salk Institute, but quit the research in late 1990s and focused on fighting with false science in China.

A recent series of attacks on earthquake prediction, translated into English by a Hong Kong journalist.

If you read Chinese, you can always go to xys.org to read more about fraud busting stories. This web site is blocked in mainland China, yet still thousands of science workers managed to read it, write to accuse others, and write to defend for themselves. 

 

My opinions are varied.

Of course I support the effort of Fang and his fellows to oppose the unethical practices of science workers, and others, in mainland China. I don’t see anything wrong in this effort since I had stayed in China for a long time and I experienced how inferior its academia is. That may be why I used to be a fan of Fang, and hoped to contribute.

But I have some reservations of Dr. Fang and his web site. I see that, although some Chinese, like Fang, have upgraded their scientific knowledge to an unprecedented level, they still have a long way to go in regard to the scientific attitudes. It is understandable that they are angry of the frauds in China (so am I), yet sometimes they are too eager to tell people what is “right” and “scientific”, and easily get out of their knowledge scope in their criticism. This is dangerous, because it gives the readers wrong perceptions of what the science is and what the scientists do, and easily evokes lay people’s antagonism, sometimes even other science workers’. And sometimes these people go too far away, and criticize things like culture and religion. Even though Dr. Fang most of the times refrains from too harsh criticism of these liberal arts stuff, his followers do not, and I see clearly that at least some of his followers speak for him loudly and harshly, with foul words and problematic analogies. That is something I really feel disgusting of.

I do hope these people can focus on what they can excel, literally, busting the frauds, with infallible reasoning and in a gentlemanlike way. Violence always leads to violence; that’s why you need to treat your enemy with respect, not to say that a lot of them who don’t totally agree with Dr. Fang are not his enemies. And the variety of the minds should be respected.

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