英《自然》杂志向叶诗文道歉背后 海归饶毅抗议

篇者的话

任何族裔都得在这个世界上用正当的方式争取自己的权益,只有这样,你这个族裔才能得到其他族裔的尊重。为叶诗文抱不平不是最主要的原因。受辱了不吭声是软蛋。有用没用做了总比没做强。

《自然》的主要读者群体是科研人员,在争议文章出现在《自然》网站后,大量中国科研人员发出了抗议的声音。北京大学教授饶毅向《自然》总编辑发出了公开信抗议。

英国《自然》杂志6日就有关叶诗文的争议文章宣布道歉,说明那些带着偏见看待中国奥运选手的质疑是经不起科学推敲的,其他一些发表了类似言论的人士,似乎也应该有这种在相关争议中尊重事实的“自然”态度。

《自然》杂志作为全球顶级的学术杂志,要说声“道歉”是很不容易的。就在7月份,《自然》刚刚结束了一场官司,因为一名学者指控《自然》关于他学术不端的报道是诽谤,结果《自然》耗费了150万英镑和3年多时间,硬是赢下了这场诉讼。当然,《自然》获胜的原因是确实有该学者不端行为的证据在手。

此次《自然》向读者和叶诗文道歉,也是因为这篇引发争议的文章缺乏事实根据。该文在叶诗文的奥运药检记录完全清白的情况下,完全是从对中国游泳选手的偏见出发,硬要把她和兴奋剂扯到一起。结果在招致抗议后,《自然》承认文章中存在错误,并随之道歉。

在此次事件中,也应该赞扬一些中国科研人员不惧权威的精神。《自然》的主要读者群体是科研人员,在争议文章出现在《自然》网站后,大量中国科研人员发出了抗议的声音。北京大学教授饶毅向《自然》总编辑发出了公开信,在加州大学伯克利分校留学的王立铭更是在网上发起签名行动,号召中国学者,如果《自然》不道歉就予以抵制,截至6日已经收集到了约1500个签名。

以《自然》在科学界的地位,敢于号召抵制是需要相当勇气的。这是大量科研人员梦寐以求的发表论文的刊物,在许多高校,只要能在《自然》上发表论文就可以申请评教授。因此在王立铭的签名号召发起后,网上也有不少人质疑行动的有效性。但结果显示,即便是权威的顶级刊物,也会在事实的面前低头。

王立铭告诉新华社记者:“西方人对中国人常有两个负面偏见,一是我们能力差做不到,二是做到了就是靠欺骗。因此像这次关于叶诗文的争议中,我们就应该从事实出发,有理有据地指出他们的问题。”

他说:“许多中国学者都非常有担当地参与了此次签名,我们为这次能让《自然》承认相关文章中的科学错误而感到骄傲。”

《自然》在发现相关错误后随即道歉,仍然表现出了大家风范,用中国的古话说就是“君子之过也,如日月之食焉。过也,人皆见之;更也,人皆仰之。”我们也希望有些仍在质疑叶诗文的人士,如美国游泳教练员协会主席约翰·莱昂纳多,能够在叶诗文药检结果清白的事实面前有这种“自然”的态度。

===

过去两天内网上由加州大学伯克利分校王立铭网上牵头签名抗议《自然》杂志带着偏见看待中国奥运选手的质疑做法,有约1500名学生学者签名。提交抗议信后,英《自然》杂志向读者及叶诗文道歉。

抗议信全文见附件:

“An open protest against Nature-Final-version”

 

Dear Philip Campbell, Ph.D. and Editor-in-Chief of Nature,

We are a group of contributors, subscribers, and readers of Nature residing in more than
20 countries and territories around the world. Many of us work in academic and
industrial research settings. We are concerned about a news article that was published in
Nature a few days ago, titled “Why great Olympic feats raise suspicions”. It is disturbing
to see an article with serious scientific flaws and thinly veiled cultural, or even racial,
bias to appear in Nature, one of the most respected scientific journals in the world. With
all due respect, we hereby protest against Nature, until Nature retracts this article and
apologizes to Ye Shiwen who may have been offended.
With its reputation, we expect Nature to not only maintain the most rigorous
scientific standard on its research articles, but also set a high bar for its news reports.
Unfortunately, this news article, authored by Mr. Ewen Callaway, did not come close to
the basic journalistic standard and ethics expected of the general news media, not to
mention the scientific rigor expected of Nature. With inappropriate wording, Callaway
questioned China’s 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen, who recently won gold medals in
both women’s 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley (200 and 400 IM) in London
Olympics. Callaway hastily concluded that Ye’s record-breaking performance was
“anomalous”, a statement that was only based on selected/biased and even falsified fact,
before he went on to get opinions how difficult it was to catch cheaters. By putting these
together, the article gives the impression that it was likely that Ye cheated and that the
reason that she was not caught by drug test was only because that it was not technically
possible to catch all cheaters with the currently available methdology. While the general
news media have only been talking about suspicions, Callaway used Nature to give
scientific credibility to the idea, that it was more likely than not that Ye did cheat. The
Callaway article has therefore put the credibility of Nature on the line.
To support his first conclusion, Callaway questioned the recent “incredible”
improvement in Ye’s performance. In doing so, he conveniently overlooked the fact that
it is not uncommon for an elite and very young swimmer to increase his/her performance
in a relatively short time window. An Australian swimmer and Olympics gold medalist,
Ian Thorpe, said in defense of Ye that he improved his 400-meter performance by 5
seconds around the same age as Ye. UK’s Adrian Moorhouse, a Seoul Olympics gold
medalist, also testified openly that he “improved four seconds” at the age of 17. Both
examples only take a few clicks of the mouse to find out on the Internet. Evidently,
Callaway was using cherry-picked evidence to doubt Ye’s improvement. Meanwhile we
would also like to point out that Callaway also made factual mistakes that exaggerated
the misleading effect of this article: Ye’s performance was in fact 7 seconds faster than
her performance in Shanghai World Championships more than a year ago, in July 2011
(NOT a few weeks ago, in July 2012), and only 5 seconds faster than her personal best
record.
The other piece of evidence that Callaway cited to support his conclusion, that Ye swam
faster than US swimmer Ryan Lochte in the last 50 meters of the men’s 400 IM in
London, also lacks merit. Winning the 400 IM gold medal, Lochte did not (and didn’t
have to) perform the best in the final 50 meters. In fact, he only ranked 5th among 8
swimmers for the last 50 meters only, at 29”10, which was significantly slower than
Japan’s Yuya Horihata (27”87) and three other swimmers competing in the same event
(Ye’s was 28”93). It could be that Lochte was way ahead of his competitors in the first
three splits so he did not have to strike too hard in the final 50 meters, or that he had used
up all his energy and had to slow down. Nevertheless, one cannot only look at the final
50 meters of Ye and Lochte and conclude that Ye swam faster than a men’s champion
(and thus “anomalous”). In fact, Ye’s record-breaking performance in women’s 400 IM
(4’28”43) was still much slower than Lochte’s in men’s 400 IM (4’5”18). In addition,
even if one only looks at the final 50 meters, women have indeed outperformed men in
the past. For example, in last year’s World Championships in Shanghai, British swimmer
Rebecca Adlington won a gold medal in women’s 800-meter freestyle. In that event her
performance in the final 50 meters (28”91) was faster than that of both Ye and Lochte in
London. Again, Callaway made a reckless conclusion based on inappropriately selected
fact.
Furthermore, we would like to point out that Callaway failed the basic moral standard for
journalists. To question the recent “anomalous” performance of Ye, he strategically put
the suggestion that “some swimming experts wondered whether Ye’s win was aided by
performance-enhancing drugs”, a negative comment, in front of “she has never tested
positive for a banned substance and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday
declared that her post-race test was clean”, without quoting the reply from the player
herself, or testimonies from other parties we have listed above. Such careful phrasing
made a good impression for the general readers that this player was likely to have doped
and did not face the charge. Biased and directed propaganda as such is found all over the
article. For example, the original subtitle of this article, “Performance profiling could
help to catch cheaters in sports”, put side-by-side with Ye’s picture, implicitly linked Ye
with the image of “cheaters”. Callaway further implied that Ye might have doped
“during training” and escaped the more rigorous tests during Olympics. Neglecting the
fact that Ye (and many other Olympic medalists) were regularly spot-checked by
unannounced flight inspection year-round, such a statement is purely speculative and
disrespectful to Ye and all innocent professional athletes. Following this logic, any
athlete can be accused for “doping” without evidence presented. And ironically, those
being accused can hardly prove themselves innocent: even if they pass all rigorous drug
tests, they may (according to Callaway) still have doped at a different time, or doped
drugs that cannot be detected by current tests.
Although Callaway claimed that he was attempting to discuss “science”, instead of
“racial and political undertones”, readers readily detect the innuendo of racism and
cultural and even racial bias. Callaway’s casual treatment of facts might reflect his own
bias: when it is about a Chinese athlete, then he could use quick and dirty data to jump to
conclusions. Yes, as scientists we may all agree that there are caveats in the current drug
testing methods, and better methodologies are always needed to promote the anti-doping
effort. But why did such a proposal emerge to single out the stunning performance from
this 16-year-old gifted swimmer “from China”? Was it appropriate to imply that Ye was
found drug-clean only because the drug detection method was not advanced enough? We
are forced to seriously doubt the real motive and the “racial and political undertones”
that Callaway tried to disclaim in the opening of the article. Backed up by the
advancement of training and supporting systems, athletes worldwide are continuously
improving their performance. World records constantly fade, including in London
Olympics. Shall we call these athletes “anomalous” and link them with doping and
cheating every time they go beyond their limits and become “Citius, Altius, Fortius”?
For more than a century Nature has published numerous major breakthroughs that greatly
advanced human knowledge. Reading Nature has helped us to keep updated with science
and technology. And many of us have chosen Nature to publish our best work. However,
Callaway’s article, scientifically flawed, racially directed, and culturally biased, was
more suitable for tabloids than Nature. It has tainted Nature’s reputation in the scientific
community.
Lately Nature has made a few changes in this news article, including replacing the
offending subtitle of “catch cheater” and correcting a few factual errors. We appreciate
the self-correction from Nature, and encourage Nature to take further actions to set the
record straight. We urge Nature to retract this article and publicly apologize to Ye
and all athletes who may have been offended immediately. Until appropriate
actions are taken by Nature, we will not:
1> submit papers to Nature;
2> review papers for Nature;
3> advertise in Nature for job openings and products;
4> subscribe to Nature for individual or lab uses;
and we will prefer purchasing products and services that do not advertise in
Nature.
Sincerely,
Liming Wang, PhD
Bowes Research Fellow
University of California, Berkeley
On behalf of 1,060 co-signers
As of 3:20pm, 08/05/2012 (Pacific Daylight Time)
More signatures are being collected and will be sent to Nature soon.

 

 

Posted by on 7 八月, 2012. Filed under 留学, 首页. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注

*

您可以使用这些 HTML 标签和属性: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *