Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Knoepfler: NY Times Piece on Stem Cells Not Up to Snuff

We asked Paul Knoepfler, a UC Davis stem cell scientist, if he would care to comment additionally on our item Monday concerning the critical remarks about stem cell research, particularly in California, by Nicholas Wade of the New York Times.

Knoepfler had sharply criticized the article in a piece on his blog, which we differed with on Monday.

Here is what Knoepfler sent along to the California Stem Cell Report.
“David, I disagree with your take on Wade's article. In my opinion the bottom line of what Wade is arguing in his NYT article can be summed up as follows:

“'Scientists, funding agencies, and research rarely succeed. When they do succeed, it is a result of luck. Most often scientists fail spectacularly, in which case they create an illusion that their work is actually making progress when it isn't, or they commit fraud. NIH, NSF, and CIRM have different approaches to funding research, but none are or will be successful overall.'

“To support these arguments, Wade presents no data and no quotes. Apparently readers are supposed to simply rely upon his wisdom.

“The 'icing on the cake' for me is that Wade, despite serving up a veritable Las Vegas buffet of negativity, provides absolutely no proposed solutions to the problems he perceives. He also shares no keen insight into what the future holds, except presumably research, in his opinion, continuing to waste massive amounts of taxpayer money. Where are his prognostications for 2011?

“Contrast Wade's article with the piece by Gina Kolata in the same special section of the NYT. Ms. Kolata's piece is clear, well written, balanced, includes quotes from scientific leaders, and makes predictions. My opinion is that Wade's piece was thrown together at the last minute without editing as a counterpiece to Ms. Kolata's.

“The end result is a confusing article that disparages science and misinforms readers. As someone who has read loads of Wade's previous articles and enjoyed them, I found this one disappointing and disturbing.”
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1 comment:

  1. Of the text: “Contrast Wade's article with the piece by Gina Kolata in the same special section of the NYT. Ms. Kolata's piece is clear, well written, balanced, includes quotes from scientific leaders, and makes predictions. My opinion is that Wade's piece was thrown together at the last minute without editing as a counterpiece to Ms. Kolata's.

    please note previous commentary on Kolata's writings which suggest work that is neither factually correct or unbiased.


    Gina Kolata: past and present

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