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Part XVIII: The Harvard Case (I) (3193 查看)

March 17, 2013 06:36PM
【Note: The PDF file is more reader-friendly. Click the title to open it.】


Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature
──An Open Letter to Nature (Part XVIII) & to Harvard University Press


Xin Ge, Ph. D.

Columbia, SC, USA




Fang’s Plagiarism History: The Harvard Case (I)

According to what he told Dr. Liu Huajie in 2000, Fang Zhouzi, the Ph. D. from Michigan State University, gave up his scientist career for this reason:

“We call molecular biological experiments ‘bench work,’ you don’t need a brain to do the work, one day is more than enough to plan a whole year’s experiments, and anyone can do it, which makes a person who likes to think suffer.”[1]

Also according to that interview, the thing Fang liked to “think” about was “to reflect on the history, methods, and thoughts of biological sciences.”[2] Indeed, Fang wrote several articles in the area of philosophy of biology around 2000, and he also had a few books published during that period. And then, about 10 years later, his frock of philosopher was stripped off. The following is one of the stories.


Major players: Dr. Ernst Mayr, the victim; This Is Biology, the book; and Fang Zhouzi, the thief


The Story

Among Fang’s articles on the philosophy of biology, What Is Life must be the most popular one ─ in a time span of about a half year, it appeared in 3 books and 1 journal: first in his Fangzhou Online, published in June, 2000, by Beijing Institute of Technology Press (pp.72-80); then in New Chapter of Evolution Theory, published in December, 2000, by Hunan Education Press (pp.1-9); again in Inquiry into Life: The Controversies in Gene Age, published in January, 2001, by Tianjin Education Press (pp.3-11); and finally in the 1st issue of Journal of Zhangzhou Technical Institute in 2001 (pp.40-43). Moreover, in 2005, Fang used the article for the 5th time in his new book, Searching for the Logic of Life, published by Shanghia Jiaotong University Press (pp.186-191).

What Is Life contains four sections and 5,360 Chinese characters. The first section contains 6 paragraphs, 59 sentences, and 2,125 characters, and it is the core of the article. In early 2011, I found that the first section of the article was based entirely on the first chapter of Dr. Mayr’s 1997 book, This Is Biology: Fang duplicated the theme and the structure of Dr. Mayr’s article, lifted the words and examples in Dr. Mayr’s article, and took almost all of Dr. Mayr’s ideas expressed in that chapter as his own. Of course, Fang didn’t acknowledge the fact: he didn’t mention Dr. Mayr’s name and didn’t cite Dr. Mayr’s book in that article. And since I made the public allegation against him that he plagiarized Dr. Ernst Mayr in early 2011[3], Fang has never responded yet, which means, according to Fang’s own rules, admitting guilt[4].


A stolen article published at least five times: The covers of the plunders
From left: Fangzhou Online; New Chapter of Evolution Theory; Inquiry into Life; Journal of Zhangzhou Technical Institute; and Searching for the Logic of Life – The Development of Biological Thought. All four books and the journal contain Fang’s What Is Life, which was stolen from Dr. Ernst Mayr’s book, This Is Biology.



The publishers of Fang’s fraudulent books
From left: Mr. Su Qing, the president of Beijing Institute of Technology Press; Mr. Huang Chufang, the president of Hunan Education Press; Mr. Hu Zhentai, the president of Tianjin Education Press; and Mr. Han Jianmin, the president of Shanghai Jiaotong University Press.


Admittedly, Fang did “attribute” Dr. Mayr’s influence on him in the “Recommended Books” section of the New Chapter of Evolution Theory:

“Among the contemporary evolutionary theorists, those who have relatively larger influence on me are Earnst Mayr, John Maynard Smith and Edward O. Wison.”[5]

And Fang did “recommend” Mayr’s This Is Biology to his readers. But, in the entire article of What Is Life, not just the first section, Fang didn’t mention Dr. Mayr’s name one single time. Ironically, in another article in New Chapter of Evolution Theory, Reductionism and Holism, Fang cited Dr. Mayr several times to criticize and laugh at his opinions[6]. Therefore, it is fair to say that Fang’s omission of Dr. Mayr’s name in his What Is Life was intentional.

The fact is, Fang has been pretending that he is Mayr’s direct descendant in China. In May of 2001, Fang bragged that he had read “all the biological philosophy works by Ernst Mayr.”[7] Of course he was lying, just like he had lied about having read through the Twenty-Four Histories in 1990[8], and having read “all the historical works of Guo Moruo” in 1999[9].

The most outrageous thing happened four months after Dr. Mayr’s death in February, 2005. In the Preface to Searching for the Logic of Life – The Development of Biological Thought, Fang wrote:

“I wrote this book off and on for more than two years. During the process, I read, in addition to the original papers, some English monographs, and 10 major references are listed in the appendix. Among them, the most important ones are the biology history works by Ernst Mayr, one of the founders of modern synthetic theory of evolution. They are the ‘required readings’ for anyone who is interested in the development of biological thought. Some opinions in this book, especially the opinion about ‘population thinking,’ were derived from Mayr. While I was finishing the book, the news that 101-years-old Mayr passed away just came. I dedicate this book to commemorate the grandfather of modern biology.”[10]

Among the 10 references listed in the appendix, there were two books written by Dr. Mayr: The Growth of Biological Thought and One Long Argument. Yes, after having stolen Mayr’s articles over and over while he was alive, Fang was still trying to benefit from his fame when he was dead by pretending to be his legitimate and genuine representative, and at the same time, stealing from him for another time.

The Evidence

The fact is, the first chapter’s title of This Is Biology was “What Is the Meaning of ‘Life’?” Therefore, it is understandable that Dr. Mayr, the author of the monumental The Growth of Biological Thought, discussed mainly the development of thoughts on life, from Aristotle to mechanicism, to physicalism, to vitalism, and to organicism, in that chapter. However, the title of Fang’s article was What Is Life, which should have a much broader scope, and is supposedly to offer some viewpoints from some special aspects, like Aristotle who pondered the question from the angle of soul; Erwin Schrödinger who pondered the question from the perspective of a physicist; and Carl Sagan who tried to define life “cosmologically,” from physiology to thermodynamics. Yet Fang, trained in biochemistry, had neither the training nor knowledge in the development of biological thoughts, wrote his first section of What Is Life in the same train of thought as Dr. Mayr’s. How could that happen?


The page images of Fang’s What Is Life (section 1) in New Chapter of Evolution Theory
The entire article is 9 pages long, and the first section is in the first 4 pages. The portions highlighted in yellow are translated from the first chapter (What Is the Meaning of "Life"?) of Dr. Mayr’s This Is Biology.


The fact is, in What Is Life, Fang started copying Dr. Mayr’s “What Is the Meaning of ‘Life’?” from his tenth sentence, and continued the copying all the way till the last paragraph of the section. Except for a few extrapolations and extension of Dr. Mayr’s ideas, which were expressed in less than 400 Chinese characters, Fang basically offered nothing new to the philosophy of biology in these two thousand-plus Chinese characters. In other words, in the first section of Fang’s What Is Life, more than 80% of Fang’s words were derived by translating Dr. Mayr’s article, directly or indirectly. Here are some evidences which will definitely quench Fang’s “courage” of “standing up for himself”:

1. According to Ann Thomson of The European University Institute, de La Mettrie’s L'homme Machine was published in 1747[11]. According to Wikipedia, it was 1748[12]. However, both Dr. Mayr and Fang said the year was 1749 (See: sentence II-18 in the table below). The funny thing is, Fang obviously wrote sentence IV-2, “In fact, in the next year after the publication of L'homme Machine, an anonymous author published Man Not A Machine to oppose it,” based on Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s Problems of Life, and on the very first page of that book, it says L'homme Machine was published in 1748[13], but Fang chose to copy Dr. Mayr.

2. The name of Emil du Bois-Reymond was written by Dr. Mayr as “duBois-Reymond” (p.106, 127) or “E. Dubois” (p.621) in his The Growth of Biological Thought (Harvard University Press, 1982), but was written as “DuBois-Reymond” in This Is Biology. And Fang also wrote it as “DuBois-Reymond” (sentence III-5).

3. It is very difficult, for me at least, to understand why Dr. Mayr attributed Friedrich Miescher’s failure to realize “the significance of his own discovery” of nucleic acid solely to “his physicalist bias.” With all due respect, I dare to think that any people at that time probably would do the same thing as Miescher did, because of the knowledge and the state of the art at the time, plus the prevalent belief that proteins were the most important bio-molecules. To fully realize the significance of nucleic acid discovery, one needs the knowledge of nucleus fusion during fertilization; chromosome’s duplication and segregation during mitosis and meiosis, respectively; the material nature of chromatin; and the localization of genes on chromosomes. Even after all those, Oswald Avery’s transformation experiments, exactly three quarters of a century after Miescher’s discovery of DNA, still failed to convince most scientists that DNA is the genetic material[14]. On the other hand, Miescher did realize the (potential) significance of his discovery when he wrote in 1874:

f we were to assume at all that a single substance, as an enzyme or in any other way, for instance as a chemical impulse, could be the specific cause of fer¬tilization, we would without a doubt first and foremost have to consider Nuclein. Nuclein-bodies were consistently found to be the main components [of spermatozoa].”[15]

In addition, according to Dr. Mayr’s way of narration, it seemed that Miescher formulated his fertilization theory first, and found DNA later:

“The weakness of a purely physicalist interpretation was particularly obvious in explanations of fertilization. When F. Miescher (a student of His and Ludwig) discovered nucleic acid in 1869, he thought that the function of the spermatozoon was the purely mechanical one of getting cell division going; as a consequence of his physicalist bias, Miescher completely missed the significance of his own discovery.” (p.7)

The truth is, when Miescher discovered DNA in 1869, he was only 25 years old, and was a student of biochemistry. It would be several years later that he started working on fertilization[16]. And according to [www.encyclopedia.com], “Miescher’s interpretation of fertilization vacillated between the extreme physicalist reductionism of his uncle and the chemical theory that his own work suggested.”[17] Therefore, it is safe to say that Mayr’s opinion was unique. However, Fang had the exact same opinion about Miescher as Dr. Mayr:

“The achievement was undoubtedly great, but this too simplistic thinking made physicalists missed important discoveries. For example, in the views of Swiss physiologist F. Miescher, the function of the spermatozoon was the purely mechanical one of getting cell division going, as a consequence, when he discovered nucleic acids, people of his time, including himself, completely missed the significance in genetics of his own discovery.” (Sentences III-6 and III-7).

4. According to Dr. Mayr, Erwin Schrodinger held “vitalistic beliefs”:

“Before turning to the organicist paradigm which replaced both vitalism and physicalism, we might note in passing a rather peculiar twentieth-century phenomenon — the development of vitalistic beliefs among physicists. Niels Bohr was apparently the first to suggest that special laws not found in inanimate nature might operate in organisms. He thought of these laws as analogous to the laws of physics except for their being restricted to organisms. Erwin Schrodinger and other physicists supported similar ideas.” (p.15)

This opinion, like the last one, was also very unique, and it is doubtful that it has been concurred with by any scholars[18]. As a matter of fact, Dr. Ludwig von Bertalanffy thought that Erwin Schrödinger was close to organicism[19]; and Dr. Ed Regis even believed that Schrödinger was against vitalism[20]. However, Fang parroted Dr. Mayr:

“Ironically, after losing ground in biologists, vitalistic beliefs found supporters among a number of physicists, including the great physicists Bohr and Schrodinger. They believed that in organisms there existed unknown laws of physics, which only functioned in organisms.” (Sentences V-12 and V-13).

When Fang’s article first appeared in his Fangzhou Online, the above paragraph read like this:

“Ironically, after losing ground in biologists, some physicists, including great physicists Bohr and Schrodinger, tried to revive vitalism. Bohr believed that in organisms there existed unknown laws similar to the laws of physics, but only functioning in organisms. Schrodinger, who had written the physicalist classic What Is Life, later held the same view as Bohr.”[21]

Obviously, when he was copying Dr. Mayr’s book, Fang even didn’t know in where Schrodinger expressed his “vitalistic beliefs.”









Notes

[1] Fang’s original Chinese: “我们将分子生物学实验称为‘实验台工作’,并不需要动什么脑筋,花一天时间就能把一年要做的实验全都想好,而且换个人来做也没什么太大的区别,对于喜欢思考的人来说,是很痛苦的一件事。” Liu Huajie. Biochemist, Poet, Netizen. In Fangzhou Online, BIT Press, 2000. pp.1-12. 刘华杰:《生物化学家•诗人•网民》,《方舟在线》1-12页).

[2] ibid. Fang’s original Chinese: “我最想做的,是对生物学的历史、方法和思想做点思考。”

[3] Yi Ming. Chronicle and Demonstration of Fang Zhouzi’s Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement. (亦明:《方舟子抄袭剽窃年谱》).

[4] On Sept. 11, 2004, Fang wrote: “The last strategy of all the imposters when their frauds are brought to light is to play dumb, remain silent, and pretend nothing has happened.”(Fang’s original Chinese: “装聋作哑其实是一切造假者在事情败露后的最后一招。Fang Zhouzi. What kind of crime playing dumb is? XYS20040911. 方舟子:《装聋作哑是何罪》, XYS20040911.) On April 19, 2006, Fang wrote: “According to established precedents, if a researcher is unwilling to provide original data to prove his innocent after being accused of fabrication, then his action is equivalent to admitting guilt by default.” (Original Chinese: “按惯例,一个研究人员一旦被怀疑造假却不愿意出示原始数据澄清自己,那就等于默认了造假。”(Fang Zhouzi. How a Fraud Case Involving an Academician Should Be Handled? Beijing Science and Technology News, April 19, 2006. 方舟子:《院士被指控造假应该怎么处理?》,2006年4月19日《北京科技报》).

[5] Fang’s original Chinese: “当代进化论理论家中,对我影响较大的为迈尔(Earnst Mayr)、梅格纳•史密斯(John Maynard Smith)和爱德华•威尔逊(Edward O. Wison)。” Fang Zhouzi. New Chapter of Evolution Theory. Hunan Education Press, 2000. p.275. 方舟子:《进化新篇章》,湖南教育出版社2000年版275页。

[6] ibid, pp.14-15. For example, Fang blamed Dr. Mayr for taking the risk of falling evolutionary biology into the camp of humanities when he claimed that “There is more difference between physics and evolutionary biology-both of which are branches of science-than between evolutionary biology (one of the sciences) and history (one of the humanities).” Fang also laughed at Dr. Mayr by saying he worried too much when he declared the autonomy of biology because he was afraid that biology would be annexed by physics, etc. (Original Chinese: “当迈尔说道:“在物理学和进化生物学──二者都是科学的分支──之间,要比进化生物学(科学之一种)和历史学(人文学之一种)之间有更多的不同。”他的用意固然是要反对以物理学为基础的科学哲学对生物学的偏见,强调科学各分支的多样性,但是将历史学拉为同盟军,却冒着将进化生物学归入人文学的危险。如果生物学,特别是进化生物学,象历史学那样以叙述为主,那么我们又如何能树立生物学研究的客观标准?(p.14) 迈尔由于担心生物学被物理学兼并,而对分子生物学抱着敌意,宣布进化生物学脱离分子生物学而“自主”,乃至认为分子还原法将会对进化生物学的进一步发展起误导和削弱作用。这种担心,完全是多余的。分子生物学已与进化生物学紧密结合在一起,解决了种系发生树的客观标准、发育与进化的关系等重大难题,为进化生物学提供了强大的工具和增添了无比丰富的内容。(pp.14-15).

[7] Fang’s original Chinese: “我读过恩斯特•迈尔的所有生物哲学的著作.”(Fang Zhouzi. What “Modern Biology?” ─A Reply to Yan Qingshan’s It Would Have Been the Same without Darwin. XYS20010509. 方舟子:《哪门子的“现代生物学”?──答颜青山〈没有达尔文也一样!〉》, XYS20010509).

[8] In a letter written in 1990, Fang wrote: “My biggest wish right now is to read through the Twenty-Four Histories one more time.” (Fang’s original Chinese: “我现在最大的愿望是再读一遍二十四史。” Fang Zhouzi. Excerpts of Letters during 1989-1990. New Threads, November, 1998. 方舟子:《凄风苦雨学彷徨 ——1989-1990书信摘录》,《新语丝》1998年11期). Note: The whole set of Twenty Four Histories contains 3,213 volumes and about 40 million ancient Chinese characters, which are equivalent to more than 100 million modern Chinese characters.


Twenty-Four Histories


[9] In 1999, after having been panned by Professor Fu Jie of Fudan University for his ignorance in Ming History and his pretending to be Guo Moruo’s protégé, Fang claimed that he had read all the historical works written by Guo Moruo: “Although I have read through all of the historical works by Guo Moruo…….” (Original Chinese: “我虽然通读过郭沫若的史学著作……”. Fang Zhouzi. Bai Shouyi’s Works Are Right Here, Don’t You Think No One Knows. XYS19990411. 方舟子:《寿彝〈学步〉分明在,莫道人间总不知》, XYS19990411). Note: Guo Moruo’s historical works contain 8 volumes, nearly 3 million Chinese characters.


The historical works written by Guo Moruo


[10] Fang’s original Chinese: “本书断断续续写了两年多,在写作过程中,除了阅读原始文献,也参考了一些英文专著,附录中列的是主要的10本。尤其是现代综合进化论的奠基者之一恩斯特•迈尔(Ernst Mayr)的生物学史著作,更是任何对生物学思想的发展史感兴趣的人所必读的。本书中的一些观点,特别是关于‘群体思维‘的观点,也源于迈尔。在本书正文完成之时,恰好传来了迈尔以101岁高龄病逝的消息。我就把这本书做为对这位现代生物学的老祖父的一个纪念吧。” (Fang Zhouzi. Preface to Searching for the Logic of Life. Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 2005. 方舟子:《〈寻找生命的逻辑:生物学观念的发展〉前言》,上海交通大学出版社2005年版).

[11] Thomson, A. Introduction to La Mettrie: Machine Man and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press, 1996. p. ix.

[12] See: [en.wikipedia.org].

[13] Bertalanffy wrote: “In 1748, the Chevalier Julien de la Mettrie set up the homme machine against the bête machine of Desartes.” “Just one year after La Mettrie's Homme Machine, a polemic pamphlet with the title ‘Man Not a Machine’ was printed in London. The story goes that the author was none other than La Mettrie himself.” (See: Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Problems of Life: An Evaluation of Modern Biological Thought. John Willy & Sons, Inc., 1949. pp.1 & 4.)

[14] Morange, M., and Cobb, M. A History of Molecular Biology. Harvard University Press, 2000. pp.30-36. Magner, L. N. A History of the Life Sciences. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 2002. pp.425, 428-430.

[15] The English translation is from: Dahm, R. 2010. From discovering to understanding. EMBO Reports 11:153–160. There is a slightly different translation in: Daintith, J. Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists. (3rd Ed.) CRC Press, 2010. p.527.

[16] Dahm, R. 2005. Friedrich Miescher and the discovery of DNA. Developmental Biology 278:274–288. Dahm, R. 2010. From discovering to understanding. EMBO Reports 11:153–160.

[17] "Miescher, Johann Friedrich II." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. (March 17, 2013). [www.encyclopedia.com].

[18] See: Ceccarelli. L. Shaping Science with Rhetoric: The Cases of Dobzhansky, Schrodinger, and Wilson. University of Chicago Press, 2001. pp.76-77.

[19] See: Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Problems of Life: An Evaluation of Modern Biological Thought. John Willy & Sons, Inc., 1949. p.183.

[20] Dr. Ed Regis wrote: “Erwin Schrödinger wanted to challenge the notion that at the core of life was some impalpable excrescence that lay beyond the grasp of science. That was vitalism, which had been a perennial view of life down the centuries.” (Regis, E. What Is Life?: Investigating the Nature of Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology. Oxford University Press, 2009. p.27.

[21] Fang’s original Chinese: “具有讽刺意味的是,在活力主义已在生物学家当中失去市场之后,却有一批物理学家试图复活活力主义,包括伟大的物理学家波尔和薛定谔。波尔认为在生物体中存在着特殊的未知定律,这类定律与物理定律相似,但只在生物体中起作用。曾经写出了《生命是什么》这样的物理主义经典著作的薛定谔,后来也持与波尔相同的观点。” (Fang Zhouzi. Fangzhou Online. BIT Press, 2000. p.75. 方舟子:《方舟在线》,北京理工大学出版社2000年版75页).



被编辑2次。最后被亦明编辑于08/05/2013 07:19AM。
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