Investigation finds 'scientific misconduct' in study claiming microplastic pollution harms fish

There is a huge market for fantasies of doom, and some scientists are doing their best to keep pace with filmmakers. Horror films feed an enduring human need to be scared.  And now that greenies have thoroughly scared us with tales of impending apocalypse as the end result of our scientific progress, scientists around the world have wised up and taken steps to give the market what it demands.

Unfortunately, the vast rewards for fabricating doom have led to some awful abuses, a few of which are starting to be documented.  Take, for example, this article published in the widely read journal Nature.  Quirin Schiermier writes:

Two Swedish scientists have been found guilty of "misconduct in research" in a paper that they published in Science and later retracted. Their highly publicized work had suggested that tiny particles of plastic in the ocean harm fish.

The misconduct ruling was made by an investigative board from Uppsala University in Sweden, where the researchers work.

Marine biologist Oona Lönnstedt and limnologist Peter Eklöv originally reported in their 2016 paper that microplastic particles have negative effects on young fish, including reducing their efforts to avoid predators.  The duo's report described a series of experiments on an island in the Baltic Sea.


Researchers Peter Eklöv (left) and Oona Lönnstedt.

The investigation involved three separate inquiries, with the first exonerating the scientists after doubts emerged and the second finding against them.  The third, conducted by the university employing the scientists, was definitive:

In its decision, announced on 7 December, the board finds Lönnstedt guilty of having intentionally fabricated data; it alleges that Lönnstedt did not conduct the experiments during the period – and to the extent – described in the Science paper.

Eklöv, who was Lönnstedt's supervisor and co-author, failed to check that the research was carried out as described, the board says. However, by the rules in force at Uppsala at the time of the work, which required that misconduct findings apply only to intentional acts, the board said that Eklöv's failure to check the research "cannot entail liability for misconduct in research" .

Both researchers, the board concluded, "are guilty of misconduct in research by violating the regulations on ethical approval for animal experimentation".

On the basis of the board's report, Åkesson rendered a decision that "Oona Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv are guilty of misconduct in research."

It was only when the new board looked into the matter again that the university fully realized the seriousness of the allegations, says Erik Lempert, chair of the board.

"That long and arduous battle has finally concluded with a reasonable outcome," says Timothy Clark, an ecologist at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, who was one of the researchers to initially raise concerns about the paper

Eklöv wrote in an e-mail to Nature that he takes full responsibility for the errors in the animal ethical permit. "But most of all I am very disappointed on my colleague to find out that she actually had fabricated data," he says. "At the same time, it is very good that the committee was able to clarify these circumstances to whether she actually was guilty."

The global warming fraud continues to generate billions in research grants for compliant scientists – with their universities raking off a customary one third to one half of the grants to pay for "overhead" – but other prophets of doom in multiple disciplines have caught on.

Mary Shelly was among the first to apply the Promethean mythology, of man undone by his ambitions to improve the human state, to the modern scientific age, in her novel Frankenstein, subtitled "The Modern Prometheus."  The many film versions and spinoffs of that particular fantasy have been joined in recent decades by the ecological horror fantasy genre.  There are so many of these movies that a market exists for lists of the Best Sci-Fi Films about Environmental Collapse.  

Fantasies of a horrific fate awaiting us are fine for movie producers.  Unfortunately, too many fantasists working in lab coats have discovered the fame and fortune that can be theirs with the right storyline.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

There is a huge market for fantasies of doom, and some scientists are doing their best to keep pace with filmmakers. Horror films feed an enduring human need to be scared.  And now that greenies have thoroughly scared us with tales of impending apocalypse as the end result of our scientific progress, scientists around the world have wised up and taken steps to give the market what it demands.

Unfortunately, the vast rewards for fabricating doom have led to some awful abuses, a few of which are starting to be documented.  Take, for example, this article published in the widely read journal Nature.  Quirin Schiermier writes:

Two Swedish scientists have been found guilty of "misconduct in research" in a paper that they published in Science and later retracted. Their highly publicized work had suggested that tiny particles of plastic in the ocean harm fish.

The misconduct ruling was made by an investigative board from Uppsala University in Sweden, where the researchers work.

Marine biologist Oona Lönnstedt and limnologist Peter Eklöv originally reported in their 2016 paper that microplastic particles have negative effects on young fish, including reducing their efforts to avoid predators.  The duo's report described a series of experiments on an island in the Baltic Sea.


Researchers Peter Eklöv (left) and Oona Lönnstedt.

The investigation involved three separate inquiries, with the first exonerating the scientists after doubts emerged and the second finding against them.  The third, conducted by the university employing the scientists, was definitive:

In its decision, announced on 7 December, the board finds Lönnstedt guilty of having intentionally fabricated data; it alleges that Lönnstedt did not conduct the experiments during the period – and to the extent – described in the Science paper.

Eklöv, who was Lönnstedt's supervisor and co-author, failed to check that the research was carried out as described, the board says. However, by the rules in force at Uppsala at the time of the work, which required that misconduct findings apply only to intentional acts, the board said that Eklöv's failure to check the research "cannot entail liability for misconduct in research" .

Both researchers, the board concluded, "are guilty of misconduct in research by violating the regulations on ethical approval for animal experimentation".

On the basis of the board's report, Åkesson rendered a decision that "Oona Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv are guilty of misconduct in research."

It was only when the new board looked into the matter again that the university fully realized the seriousness of the allegations, says Erik Lempert, chair of the board.

"That long and arduous battle has finally concluded with a reasonable outcome," says Timothy Clark, an ecologist at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, who was one of the researchers to initially raise concerns about the paper

Eklöv wrote in an e-mail to Nature that he takes full responsibility for the errors in the animal ethical permit. "But most of all I am very disappointed on my colleague to find out that she actually had fabricated data," he says. "At the same time, it is very good that the committee was able to clarify these circumstances to whether she actually was guilty."

The global warming fraud continues to generate billions in research grants for compliant scientists – with their universities raking off a customary one third to one half of the grants to pay for "overhead" – but other prophets of doom in multiple disciplines have caught on.

Mary Shelly was among the first to apply the Promethean mythology, of man undone by his ambitions to improve the human state, to the modern scientific age, in her novel Frankenstein, subtitled "The Modern Prometheus."  The many film versions and spinoffs of that particular fantasy have been joined in recent decades by the ecological horror fantasy genre.  There are so many of these movies that a market exists for lists of the Best Sci-Fi Films about Environmental Collapse.  

Fantasies of a horrific fate awaiting us are fine for movie producers.  Unfortunately, too many fantasists working in lab coats have discovered the fame and fortune that can be theirs with the right storyline.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit