Exposing PseudoAstronomy

July 4, 2014

Podcast Episode 114: Ethics in Science, with Special Guest Interview, Dr. Jeffrey Robbins

Ethics in science
Are not there just for show. They
Need to be followed.

This was very much a spur-of-the-news-cycle episode after it was revealed that Facebook deliberately tried to change peoples’ emotions without telling them; and so, I decided it’s time to do an Ethics in Science episode.

Yup, that’s what this is, boring ol’ ethics. But, they are important. They guide what we can (should) and can’t (or shouldn’t) do in science. How we operate. What research we can do. And why scientists in general are considered to be more trustworthy than people in many other professions.

This episode focuses on ethics in science in general, and I have brought my dad in to discuss ethics at institutions, particularly with respect to human tests. I then bring it back to focus on the ethics of scientists versus those of pseudoscientists, or the purveyors of pseudoscience.

In other news … TAM!!!! Anyone going? Wanna meetup? Let me know. And, I have the 8:40AM slot for the Sunday Morning Paper Presentations, where I’ll be talking more about the Cydonia analysis, but with the twist of focusing on lessons in general for skeptics.



  1. I’ll be at TAM again. Hopefully I won’t space out (so to speak) your meetup of PseudoAstonomians yet again!

    Comment by Torsten Pihl — July 7, 2014 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Torsten. It’s looking like no one else is interested, so I think there won’t be a formal meetup, just a passing “hi” and chat during down-times.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 9, 2014 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  2. Astronomers and planetary scientists do have to consider ethics … whenever they get involved in citizen science projects such as Vesta Mappers, Galaxy Zoo, etc. I know the Zooniverse has a code of ethics (though for some reason they are incredibly shy about publishing it); how about the citizen science projects you are involved with, astrostu?

    Comment by Jean Tate — July 9, 2014 @ 5:52 am | Reply

    • I did mention this briefly in the “General” science ethics (and my dad listed them at the beginning of the interview part). CosmoQuest doesn’t have a formal code of ethics that I know of, but they do do education research, and that has to get IRB approval at Pamela Gay’s institution (since that’s where it’s done).

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 9, 2014 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

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