The Dingell Hearings on Scientific Misconduct
New England Journal of Medicine. 1993 Sep 2; 329(10): 725-727.
In the 1992 Shattuck Lecture, Congressman John Dingell of Michigan woefully admits that "congressional hearings are rather blunt instruments, poorly suited to making fine distinctions of fact." One would assume that Congressman Dingell would take advantage of the prestigious forum of the Shattuck Lecture and this scholarly journal to make the fine distinctions that he is unable to make in his hearing room as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Unfortunately, this is not the case in his recently published Shattuck Lecture. My purpose here is to make some important distinctions of fact, and also to illustrate through the facts the challenges inherent in examinations of scientific misconduct -- and even of misconduct more generally. I shall focus on four specific statements in Congressman Dingell's commentary of which I have personal knowledge.