Fame above Science

Needless to say, ethics in science is a big deal.  When scientists claim a conclusion has been reached, there is a lot of power of persuasion behind that claim.  So when it was reported that vaccines and autism were somehow linked, the number of people who took that science and made it part of their beliefs was quite large.  There have been entire movements that try to persuade against infant vaccines.  Only now, we find out that the data was altered to support the desired finding, and the primary author was paid by an accident attorney looking to make some money.

It's turned out that the peer review process, despite it's reputation, doesn't always cut the muster.  Bad science ends up published and even worse, ends up in the mainstream media, which may or may not take findings out of context.  It seems like the only thing more prevalent on late night news than local crime is all of the new medical findings that should be a huge concern to the general population.

Having already been sternly lectured about the importance of ethics in scientific research when I started grad school, and then to still have face the ethics/plagiarism issue when working with other students, I really don't know how this can be fixed.  If you can't convey to a twenty-something the importance of ethics, how do you do it for a grown adult?

The obvious solution, which involves everyone acting in a way they know to be ethical, really isn't practical, but I feel any other possible solution is incredibly pessimistic and displays a feeling of mistrust to fellow scientists.  So for now, man up I say.  Do better science, not for fame or tenure, but for the fact that people listen and take to heart the conclusions we reach.