Lying in the Time of Crisis

Abstract

Beginning with an examination of the recent Nature News centered on Harvard-Lancet-Mehra et al. COVID-19 research scandal, I put forth suggestions--for further debate--to safeguard the integrity of science in a time of crisis. In particular, I identify a subtle form of lying published as Nature news. Subsequently, drawing on Scarry's book "Thinking in an Emergency", I argue that slow reasoning and quick action (called for by crises) are not mutually incompatible; thinking can be transformed into conscious-reflex action by way of practice (e.g. firefighters, emergency room physicians). More importantly, I call upon cognitive scientists, with their expertise in reasoning, intuition, habits, and actions, among others, to take a proactive role in crafting crisis preparedness programs for universities and science publishers so that we all can continue to rely on science for truth and facts.

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