I don't see why everything published needs to be the absolute truth (which of course nothing can be).
If they had published six years ago, the whole community would have been able to validate and confirm in those six years,
instead of just their own lab. Someone in a different lab might have had a better idea and the thing could be validated in two years instead of six.
As long as results are transparently and reproducibly shared, knowledge is knowledge and there's no reason to hide it.
Agreed, but there's no doubt some ego and prestige at stake for a) not wanting to look stupid for making an elementary mistake, and b) being the one to upend currently accepted wisdom. There's probably a balance to be struck between these, but sometimes it might just take 6 years.
To turn this into a criticism of other fields is kind of ridiculous. You can easily find many examples of people in hard sciences rushing to publish - some to the point of having very significant consequences. Andrew Wakefield and vaccines and autism spring to mind. Cold fusion is another example.
>This shows how scientific standards and diligence can vary from field to field.
No they vary from person to person, journal to journal, school to school, lab to lab. Some fields might tend to do better than others, but why turn this into a field v. field issue?
Listen to what he actually said. He knows his sample size was small, he knows he couldn't make any absolute conclusions at the beginning. He simply found something unexpected and reported on it.
I would challenge you to read his papers, go to youtube and watch a presentation of his and see what he actually says, not repeat accusations from others against him. I think you will be surprised that he doesn't believe/teach most of what people accuse him of.
Edit: Merck caught lying about their measles vaccines. (an actual lawsuit from 2 virologists, the court papers are linked in the article)
Very cool that this has been observed but I actually think this kind of thing is inevitable given the way viruses work and their rapid rate of mutation. We've known for many years that viruses like influenza use different parts of a cell to reproduce different parts of the virion. They can also mix up their genomes when multiple virions infect the same cell. Furthermore we know that this can lead to genomes to support each other, for example a genome that is great at infecting cells but poor at reproducing will end being reproduced by the machinery of a different genome. It's not hard to imagine this going the next step and not even requiring every part of the genome to be present in a cell.
Viruses are the most fascinating part of biology. An inevitability caused by a security flaw in the way genetics works.
I am also a fan of Yong, but "Upends what we know about virues" is a bit sensational. The article interesting for sure, but lately it seems that every book or study "turns Darwin on his head" or puts us in a "post-Pasteur era". I"m not even going to think about Cacner headlines. All overstatement of interesting science findings.
v.To stand, set, or turn on one end: upend an oblong box.
v.To invalidate, destroy, or change completely; overthrow: upended a popular legend.
v.To win victory over; defeat.
Before I read the article, I thought this was a trite comment, but instead it's an apt analogy. It really is a distributed system of components whose byproducts can propagate between/through cell firewall.