What was He Thinking?

This morning NPR’s Morning Edition aired a story entitled “Movie Marketers Turn to Subtle, Sophisticated Tactics.” During the story, Jack Horner, a well know paleontologist, stated that the discovery date he provided to the press concerning a particular dinosaur fossil was incorrect. Not, mind you, a mistaken date, but rather an intentionally incorrect date chosen to tie into the release of one of the Jurassic Park movies. I simply do not understand how one of “America’s best-known paleontologists” can believe that it was ethically acceptable for him to alter a datum at the request of a research sponsor simply because the datum was being presented to the general press instead of to a peer-reviewed journal.

Update: 2005-05-12
See “Adventures in Ethics and Science” for an excellent discussion of this issue.

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