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No. 66: Nov-Dec 1989

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Was burt stitched up?

Sir Cyril Burt was, until a few years ago, the Grand Old Man of British Psychology. But then a scandal erupted. Burt was charged with manufacturing data and even faking the existence of research assistants. A devastating biography by L. Hearnshaw seemed to ruin Burt's reputation for good. With all the attendant publicity, the label "scientific fraud" stuck in everyone's mind.

But, hold on, another book, one with a completely different conclusion, has hit the bookstores. This book, The Burt Affair, is by R.B. Joynson. Joynson demonstrates in great detail that Hernshaw's biography is seriously deficient in places. If Joynson is correct, Hearnshaw and Burt's other enemies are guilty of selective reporting. The case for fraud was fraud itself!

(Blinkhorn, Steve; "Was Burt Stitched Up?" Nature, 340:439, 1989.)

From Science Frontiers #66, NOV-DEC 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss