Thursday, December 29, 2005

Always Hwang, never right.

[photo: Tai and Snuppy. Though they remain at the center of a controversy that has torn apart the scientific community and done serious harm to Korea's national reputation, it's clear these dogs don't understand a damn thing about it.]

Marmot, who has been a great source of info throughout the Hwang scandal, is reporting that the remaining cells of Dr. Hwang Woo-suk have been found by Seoul National University (SNU) to not match their donors. In other words, they also are fake. The May 2005 study that appeared in Science was a complete sham.

Sperwer quickly responds that, as Porky the Pig says, be-be-be-be-be-be, That's all, folks! Hwang is through.

But me, I just don't know. I've seen the Fall of the Berlin Wall bring promises of world peace and the end of history, Bush's 2004 election bringing "a mandate," Bill Clinton and the Democrats' congressional beating in 1994 bring the end of his presidency, etc., etc.

In other words, until someone is in the grave, I am cautious about counting them out permanently. Dr. Hwang still has some things on his side.

Spcifically, the 2004 study has yet to be disproven, though it certain deserves copious amounts of supsicion.

And Snuppy,
apparently, may still be legit.

So if 2004 was legit and so was Snuppy, or even just Snuppy, Hwang's shady ethics are countered by actual success in difficult cloning tasks.

What would that mean? His academic career is over, over, over, over. Over easy, overies, 오버, overblown, over.

But if he has really accomplished those past successes, I think some corp, may Evil GloboCorp Consolidated, Ltd., is going to snatch him up, pay him millions (of dollars, not those fruity, worth-nothing won), and have him develop patentable processes for them.

And that, of course, muddies the ethical debate about cloning even further.

Meanwhile, Korea is NOT off the hook in terms of cleaning up its own scientific house. The lessons still need to be learned and solutions that stick need to be sought. The nation's credibility is at stake.


  1. You're very naive to argue against none else but only one people in this "yet-to-be proved" stem cell scam, where Dr. Hwang "happened to be" in the center. Just wait and watch how this will turn around to be. And even if it's proved to be in your favor, you gotta know that the story should not end there yet. Sure thing, the end of the story must be dirty dirty dirty and very dirty, but not because of the one you are now pointing your finger at. You got me?

  2. hastle, are your comments directed at me or at Darin (or both)?

    I agree with you that this is not over yet, that Dr. Hwang should not be the sole focus, and in the end it might look very different from how we see it.

    My only point was that I don't think Dr. Hwang is going to be hawking 1000-won goods on the subway anytime soon (i.e., I don't think he is necessarily going to be destroyed by this such that he must leave his profession and end up penniless; I think ten years from now we might end up seeing a very well-to-do Dr. Hwang).

    And Darin, I think Dr. Schatten, based on stuff I found (that hasn't been reported in the press) show that he did deserve the scrutiny he has been getting. The only reason I don't take some of my stuff to the press is that I don't want the focus to fall away from Dr. Hwang and his ethical wrongdoing, because I don't want anyone to be able to distract from the need for Korea to clean house.

  3. Darin asks:
    What is it exactly that you do that allows you to get stuff not in the press, just out of curiosity?

    I have eerie powers.

    I do my own work on news programs, and I would certainly never hold back on something if it were part of the story. Not even this. That's ethically wrong: purporting to present all the facts as you know them, but actually not doing so.

    But I also have connections with other news programs (consulting, for example) and I could directly or indirectly pass this along.

    I do agree that now would not be the time to try and make accusations against anyone, as it will be nothing more then an attempt to say, "oh yeah, well, look at this!" the famed "shift the blame and attention to someone else while we run out the back door" defense, something that the Korean side has been accused of (and I believe rightfully so) on more then one occasion.

    I agree with your last paragraph except for the "something that the Korean side has been accused of," but this is on a slightly different point: there is no ONE single "Korean side" with which to say "the Korean side." Even if it seems that many or most were at one time on the bandwagon, there were always people who were not. At first their numbers were small and their voices ignored, but that is no longer the case. At any rate, there are probably at least three or four main "sides" to this in Korea.

  4. Darin wrote:
    From my personal experiences, he's not everyone, but he's the overwhelming majority.

    Hmm... where to begin.

    First of all, Darin, I want to say that when I talk about apologists for the Japanese right-wing, I am most definitely NOT including you among them.

    You have stated you're just trying to figure things out and you're just stating what you've heard. Unlike a few others claiming to seek truth, you really seem to be asking questions out of a genuine interest in knowing an issue better, not in promoting an agenda.

    Anyway, no offense to you, but most of your personal experience about these issues, from what I've read from you, is of people on the Internet.

    In the real world, Katz is an extremist and a close-minded bigot. He (she?) even attacked me a few times for being anti-Korean. I try to avoid engaging in forums where he/she is a dominant person for much the same reason I avoid forums where a masturbating flute is the dominant commentator: they are both recalcitrant in their outlook and they work hard to push their agenda.

    Both use the "shift the blame" as a tactic, but you are right that knee-jerk jingoists in Korea do use that.

    I should point out that they don't have a monopoly on shifting blame at all. The Imperial Japanese justification of its rule in Korea was bolstered by this:

    "America may acquire the Philippine Islands, Asiatic territory 6,000 miles away from her shores, but when Japan takes control of Korea, a country smaller in territory than the Philippines and only 100 miles away from her island borders, the action is denounced. . . . But in fact we, being Asiatics, are far more capable of dealing with other Asiatics in their best interests than are Americans or Europeans. For example, in bringing order out of chaos in Korea we killed far fewer people than the Americans killed in suppressing the independence movement in the Philippines...."

  5. Oh, my comments are directed at anyone who's darin' to tell the truth with only a handful of facts uncovered..:-)

    What I want to say, however, is that the kind of "investigative journalism" that appears now in every newsstand at every corner in Korean society just make me puke...I just wonder if they even deserve the name.

  6. Hastle,
    I'm willing to give Darin the benefit of the doubt. He's formulating his beliefs based on what he's heard and read, but it doesn't look like he's married to them.

    Frankly, with the way the press likes to sensationalize, I can't blame him for thinking, based on two people chopping off their pinky finger, that whack-jobs might be a common thing here in Korea.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.