The other shoe drops at Harvard

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Carolyn Johnson, "Embattled Harvard psychology professor resigns", 7/19/2011:

Marc Hauser, a well-known Harvard psychology professor who has been on leave since an internal investigation found him guilty of eight counts of scientific misconduct, is leaving the university.

“Marc Hauser has resigned his position as a faculty member, effective August 1, 2011,” Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal wrote in an e-mail statement today.

Hauser will be devoting himself to good works:

“While on leave over the past year, I have begun doing some extremely interesting and rewarding work focusing on the educational needs of at-risk teenagers. I have also been offered some exciting opportunities in the private sector,” Hauser wrote in a resignation letter to the dean, dated July 7. “While I may return to teaching and research in the years to come, I look forward to focusing my energies in the coming year on these new and interesting challenges.”

Johnson quotes Steve Pinker in personal support of Hauser:

“I’m deeply saddened by the whole events of the last year,” Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard, said today. “Marc is a scientist of enormous creativity, energy, and talent.”

And she quotes Michael Tomasello in support of the view that the intellectual background remains uncertain:

Another researcher in the field, Michael Tomasello, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said today that Hauser’s departure was not unexpected. “Once they didn’t let him teach –- and there are severe restrictions in his ability to do research — you come to office and what do you do all day?” he said. “People in the field, we’re just wondering — this doesn’t change anything. We’re still where we were before about the [other] studies.”

Previous LL coverage of the scandal:

"Monkey Business", 8/11/2010
"More on the monkey business at Harvard", 8/14/2010
"More details on the Marc Hauser case", 8/19/2010
"Hauser: more facts and more questions", 8/21/2010
"Altmann: Hauser apparently fabricated data", 8/28/2010


  1. Maureen said,

    July 20, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    If you can't trust somebody's studies, how can you trust him with kids? I mean, sure, let him make reparations through work, but not fiduciary work.

  2. Hermann Burchard said,

    July 20, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    In an LL guest blog by Tecumseh Fitch,
    "Fitchifying biology, memes and historical linguistics", 11/15/2007

    he surprised me with this phrase:

    Given my association with the infamous paper by Chomsky and Marc Hauser in Science in 2002, [. . .]

    That 2002 Science paper by Hauser, Chomsky, Fitch had surprised me when it appeared five months after I had sent to C.F. v. Weizsaecker an early draft of my own paper [Symbolic Languages and Natural Structures, etc. Found Sci June 2005] on the occasion of his 90th birthday. He replied with a kind note that his age would prevent him from reading my draft but he would pass it on to someone (to whom I have no idea). (It didn't appear until 2005 in part because the publisher of the journal (Kluwer) had just been acquired by Springer, and because it was a bit long and I rewrote and shortened it.)

    I had discovered the Tecumseh Fitch LL guest log by accident, upon googling "meme" which appeared on LL in, to me, unfamiliar contexts.

    So, curious about his use of the adjective "infamous," I sent him an email mentioning my 2005 paper in Found Sci., i.a. saying:

    I mention this triple author paper at the end of the introduction — am hesitating slightly to recommend that part for your reading. […] Of course, I was quite amused to see you referring to the paper in your LL blog — especially with the adjective you used, infamous. There are all kinds of reasons which I can imagine, […]

    He did not reply, sadly, so I am left guessing still.

  3. Michael Drake said,

    July 21, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    "If you can't trust somebody's studies, how can you trust him with kids?"

    That's a joke, right?

  4. Bill Benzon said,

    July 22, 2011 @ 5:13 am

    John Wilkins with a moderate and compassionate view of Hauser:

  5. Tim Martin said,

    July 22, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    “Marc is a scientist of enormous creativity, energy, and talent.”

    …and dishonesty.

  6. Sili said,

    July 22, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

    Isn't that what "creativity" means?

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