Human Exceptionalism

Ian Wilmut May Lose Science Prize

I have been hearing from some folk that my post on Wilmut taking false credit as the cloner of Dolly is much ado about nothing. It was his lab, this thinking goes, so who cares who actually came up with the concept and did the actual work?

Well, apparently some scientists do. Wilmut received a presitious science award from a German science foundation and was given a substantial money prize for successfully cloning Dolly. Apparently, the award did not also include Keith Campbell, who Wilmut now says did most of the actual cloning work. Wilmut’s admission has led the prize awarders to consider rescinding the honor and demanding their money back.

I think this Wilmut contretemps is a symptomatic of a more abiding problem with the politicization of science in general and of a certain loosening of standards about who should receive credit for advances the science community itself.

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