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Re: Editorial: Nature versus NASA: a question of scientific correctness?

A letter from Craig Szwed



From: craig szwed <cmarsz@erols.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 03:09:50 -0400
To: publisher@naturalscience.com
Subject: naturalSCIENCE Editorial
X-Envelope-To: aburdett@heronpublishing.com


June 21, 1999

I highly commend the thrust of your editorial Nature versus NASA: a question of scientific correctness? (naturalSCIENCE, July, 1998), which I have just read.

The issue of censorship that you raise, is vital to true science. It has grieved me at times to see the degree of prejudice within the scientific community against decent, honest research. Although many in the scientific community are open-minded, there are numerous individuals and institutions that severely censor discussion of certain significant and legitimate topics of scientific inquiry, as well as the frame of reference in which those inquiries are made.

From my high school and college experiences 30 years ago, and since then through perusing journals, reading books, listening to the media, and occasionally talking with a "scientist," I have learned that within the scientific community there is often more interest in proving one's competitive mettle or self-righteousness, without regard to moral or scientific truth, than there is in doing, or publishing, good quality research. The flip side to this is that there are those who wield editorial or publication power to enforce blind adherence to certain assumptions about the nature of science and life.

Whenever a scientist, or one who claims to have the interests of science at heart, bad mouths honest attempts of researchers to understand the world around us, the result can only be harm to science as a whole. Every branch of science has had its weak moments, but if we are truly scientific, then we will respect each other's efforts to strive not only for information, but also for discussion, excellence, and truth. True science will prove itself.

Craig Szwed
B.Sc., Pennsylvania State University, 1973

Related Correspondence
Nature vs NASA: the Dangers of Publication by Press Conference: A comment from Dr. Carol A. Christian, Director, Office of Public Outreach, Space Telescope Science Institute.


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