Thursday, January 19, 2006

Scientific Fraud, Literary Deceits and Oprah

More news today about fraud in a cancer study is added to the larger revelations about the stem cell debacle in South Korea. Oprah picks a book which turns out to be riddled with fake assertions but claims to be a memoir. She calls a TV show to defend the author and her pick by arguing, in effect, that even its not all true, its still an inspiring story. Then just a few days later she picks another book, Night by Elie Weisel, which has been contested for its accuracy for decades. In fact, the publisher once marketed it as fiction but now its back again as non-fiction. Its all a matter of viewpoint, of perspective, of taste. I hear again the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger about the "dictatorship of relativity." The cool shrug that usually accompanies the word, "whatever," has become the icon of this age.