The Marc Hauser Counter-Offensive Begins

Harvard Crimson: Who Will Speak For Marc Hauser?
Harvard Crimson: Who Will Speak For Marc Hauser?

The Crimson piece, written by Bert Vaux, a former professor of linguistics at Harvard and Jeffrey Watumull, a graduate student in linguistics at the University of Cambridge and a member of Hauser’s lab, basically trashes the media for telling only one side of the story, and for lacing those stories with "innuendo" and "gossip."

Vaux and Watumull defend the research methodology Hauser used in experiments he did with monkeys, seeking to determine if they recognized certain sound patterns. And, the writers say Gerry Altmann, the editor of the journal Cognition, who speculated that Hauser fabricated data, spoke out in a manner that was "exceedingly improper." (Hauser did retract a 2002 paper published in Cognition, and apologized, vaguely, for "mistakes" made.)

The Crimson piece concludes:

In our experience, Marc Hauser is the consummate scientist—the most disinterested, the most rational, the most ethical. We are proud to be his colleagues. However, we are less than proud of those in the cognitive sciences reacting publicly to Hauser's case with irresponsible impatience (disrespect for due process), unjustified slurs, and half-baked conjectures. All are interested in the truth, but as scientists we ought to consider the case reasonably and measuredly, with objectivity and fairness.

This program aired on September 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Rachel Zimmerman

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



More from WBUR

Listen Live