There is one nice angle about John Maddox and his "courage to stand up science": In the mid- to end-eighties he launched an "investigation" into the Gallo/Montagnier/HIV disaster. When Gallo told Maddox things that shed serious doubt on Gallo's version of events, Maddox choose not to publish his findings.
While John Maddox choose not to pursue any leads he had, Abraham Karpas continued to turn up unpleasant facts about Gallo's research. And he would write them to Nature (I guess to "correct science"), where Maddox resided. And what courage did Maddox have? Karpas described it as "writing for Nature's wastebasket". His research into Gallo's research ended up being published in the New Scientist and Scientific American, but not in Nature.
(John Crewdson, "Science Fictions", page 340)
So much for Maddox's "courage to stand up for science".
And so much for science being "self-correcting". It seems to me that personal biases and the mechanisms of the academic institutions strongly obstruct any corrections.
This whole "self-correcting science" meme seems like something told to little children, so they stop asking annoying questions.
(In Crewdson's book at the beginning of chapter 17 there is a nice side story involving Margot O'Toole turning up troubling "inconstancies" in the work of David Baltimore, after being a postdoc on one of his studies. His answer? Not to worry, these problems don't matter and the scientific process was "self-correcting" anyway – so she should let the matter rest.)
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