Hoary Crapola From A Towering Giant
October 31, 2009
David Hubel has an opinion piece in the current issue of Neuron that is a total complete pile of hoary bullshit whiny-ass moaning and groaning about the “good old days” and how today’s PIs don’t perform “the real science”. Here is but a small sample of the steaming pile of tedious glurge:
I have no illusions that biological science is likely to return overnight to the system that prevailed a generation ago, but I believe a start could be made in that direction. If I were 40 years younger and a group leader and found myself imprisoned in an office most of the time, I would adopt a 5-year plan to change my scientific style. I would choose a project to share with one partner, put aside a lab bench that I could call my own, and submit a research proposal to fund that project. I would encourage any postdocs in my lab to do the same, with their own funding and independent projects. I would give advice gently and sparingly, realizing that strongly worded advice from a senior person can be hard to ignore and that in science making one’s own mistakes can be an important part of learning. I would limit my committee assignments to one or two and encourage my more senior postdocs to do the same. (I vividly remember asking George Wald, of visual-pigment fame, how he managed to avoid all the wasted time on committees. He answered: “It’s simple: I accept all committee assignments, and never show up for a meeting.”) I would make it a rule that a name on a paper means that one has actually sat at the bench twisting the dials. I would continue to teach because I enjoy teaching and think I do it well. One has to learn to teach and to develop one’s teaching style, and for that reason I would give everyone in my group the chance to try it. [emphasis added]
Yeah, only knob-twiddling counts as real science. What a fucking joke. You’d think a scientist as distinguished as Hubel would have taken a scientific approach to his naked assertions, and presented some motherfucking evidence that science practiced as he lionizes actually works better than the current model. It is also disconcerting that Neuron wasted page space on this kind of completely unsupported blithering.