Regarding Michael Hoffman’s March 30 Big in Japan column titled “The truth is, we have gotten too used to lying” [which concerns the media frenzy over the suspicion that Dr. Haruko Obokata manipulated data in her research papers describing a new, simple method for producing pluripotent cells]: I am surprised and rather shocked at the turn of events. First we thought here is a superstar. Later, when things started going wrong, some people thought it could be propaganda. And now we have all this mudslinging.
We tend to go hyper and over the moon, then come crashing down! I think this is a typical problem of the world we live in, as my English teacher Suvro Chatterjee used to tell us in junior high school years ago.
Most of the super science these days is too difficult to follow and often seems like science fiction. [Obokata’s story] sounded too simple when it came out. As Hoffman has pointed out, we have become too accustomed to people making up stories to make what they have sound even grander.
I hope this mess gets cleared up sooner than later and that we know the truth as soon as possible. The media should have been more subdued instead of initially praising the research results the way they did. Hyperventilating later serves no purpose.
Right or wrong, the common person just wants to know the truth without exaggeration.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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