Friday, March 15, 2013

Solid Plan: Study on Ethics Is Badly, Even Laughably, Plagiarized

RetractionWatch, a website dedicated to covering journal retractions, plagiarism, and all other types of skullduggery and chicanery, recently published a plagiarism incident involving a study about morality. Ironic? Undoubtedly. But the reason we can all enjoy a good chuckle over it is because it was abysmally executed, resembling a botched carryover job eerily reminiscent of the Chinese-English translation of Revenge of the Sith. Observe, for instance, the opening sentence of both papers:

The original Nosek et al abstract:
Moral dilemmas pitting concerns about actions against concerns about consequences have been used by philosophers and psychologists to gauge “universal” moral intuitions.
Compared against the plagiarized version:
Ethical enigma kernelling concerns about actions against concerns about consequences have been dealt by philosophers and psychologists to measure “universal” moral intuitions.
Note the quotation marks around "universal", suggesting that there are no real universal moral standards, and that we should instead get used to living in a fluffy, wishy-washy moral universe where nothing is really good or bad, just different - which, in my opinion, is merely a way to shut out the voice of conscience, and exonerate people like your roommate who ate the last of the hotpockets in the freezer without even asking. No wonder society is on the decline.

Anyhow, things went downhill from there, with an almost word-for-word lifting in the results section, and the convoluted title: Political Dogma Stroll’s Non-Political Moral Decision-Making Processes – A Quantitative Analysis of Ideological Decision-Making of Liberals and Conservatives in the Western Europe.

I don't know what a "Political Dogma Stroll" is, but dibs on the band name.

Thanks to Jay Van Bavel, who once hit two home runs in slow-pitch softball - going the other way

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