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Korean clone research again 
23rd-Dec-2005 10:10 pm
Dilbert
Today, the Spiegel has another article about the Korean clone researcher Hwang Woo Suk:
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,392166,00.html

The whole affair has not only the ethical aspects discussed here:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/rsqubf/38644.html

But it turned out the whole matter was a big scam. Quotes from the Spiegel article:

"Hwang has been in his home country in the center of a personal cult that is difficult to comprehend for Europeans. 'Now it turns out that they pinned their hopes on a swindler,' Schöler said in a talk with Spiegel Online."

"Some experts explain his behavior with the South Korean culture of trying to get maxium success in minimum time."
Comments 
24th-Dec-2005 05:20 am (UTC)
Their characteristic national pride is why the majority of Koreans in Korea embraced and defended this liar to their embarrassment. You can also see how UBF's insistent croaking about how big it is and how many nations it has "pioneered" might stoke the national pride of some Koreans enough that they completely overlook the red flags that should be raised by UBF's teachings, practices and history. This gives me another clue as to why UBF is so obsessed with numbers.

As for this Hwang individual, it's not as if this hasn't happened in other cultures. It's the temptation of undeserved recognition. Jayson Blair is an example that comes to mind. Hwang is a veterinarian. I don't think veterinarian rates as a very "honorable" profession in Korea, and he probably desperately wanted some honor and recognition. It's just that in Korea, that honor and recognition is magnified beyond reasonable limits by that blinding national pride again. Hwang got addicted to it at a level that someone like Jayson Blair probably couldn't begin to imagine.

This is also a clue as to why UBF's culture is so heavily based on shame and guilt or honor and recognition ("living before men"), all instead of grace. The leaders obviously have not allowed any ethical considerations or commands of Christ to stop them in their quest for honor and recognition in their little frog ponds.
24th-Dec-2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
You can also see how UBF's insistent croaking about how big it is and how many nations it has "pioneered" might stoke the national pride of some Koreans enough that they completely overlook the red flags that should be raised by UBF's teachings, practices and history.

In fact, to many UBF Koreans, Mr. Samuel Lee is their national hero because he succeeded in making many western college students to obey him absolutely and to respect UBF Koreans. Mr. Lee knew this very well and whenever it was necessary he appealed UBF Koreans to their national pride to make them absolutely devote themselves to Mr. Lee himself. This can be seen again in his 2001 New Year's address.

Conclusion: I only thank God. I only praise God. Korea is a small hermit country in the corner of Asia. It has been ruled by China. And for 35 years it was under Japanese occupation. When we look back on 1,500 years of Korean history, it was nothing but the succession of political intrigue and bloodshed. But God raised UBF. For the last 40 years, we experienced “Koinonia,” spiritual order, true brotherhood in Jesus Christ and absolute obedience to the world mission. God has been indeed showering his blessing upon South Korea, especially upon UBF people. So I only praise God in my soul. Even the rebels are very cute because of God’s grace upon UBF for the last 40 years.

Notice that how he skillfully appeals UBF Koreans to national pride and then use it to strengthen "spritual order" or his authority and then finally promotes "absolute obedience" to world mission or to himself. So in conclusion he is asserting that he is a national hero who rescued a small country in the corner of Asia and conquered many rich western countries. He is also asserting that in this way he was able to bring God's blessing on the entire South Koreans through his organization giving no credit to many South Koreans who worked so hard to improve their national condition. His scenario is very similar to Dr. Hwang's. UBF Koreans are blinded by his appeal to their national pride.
24th-Dec-2005 06:13 pm (UTC) - because he was greedy and selfish
I'm wouldn't hang this on Koreans in general. Hwang is a very intelligent man who in a complete moral relapse, caused others harm in order to get himself some fame and fortune. Just one example, the Korean stock index dropped because Hwang's fraud caused losses in the bioengineering stocks on the Korean stock exchange. Hwang garnered science awards, cash and grants, and worldwide fame. He established the World Stem Cell Hub with himself as the almighty leader. His ultimate plan seemed to be to get medical schools around the world to give money to his group, intimating that any medical school that did not get on his project would be forever left behind in stem sell research, the supposed future of medicine. But the truth was the man and his project were a big fraud. This is clearly the marks of a greedy and selfish man. Doesn't take much to make the same connections with EE Chang Woo.

There was a very similar incident in the USA many years ago where two scientists in possibly Utah claimed to have conducted cold fusion in their laboratory. After a couple months it became clear that the two were just blowing smoke. They were not able to parlay their claims into awards or financial gain. I think in the case of Dr. Hwang he did a much better job of covering his fraud for a longer period of time. No oversight.

In the academic world there is a forum to address these kinds of behavior, but in the Christian as well as other religious worlds, there are no forums to address misbehavior and fraud.
26th-Dec-2005 11:41 am (UTC) - Re: because he was greedy and selfish
Though cold fusion flop you are mentioning was a bit different from this recent scandal, there are examples from the western world as well - scientists who faked their experiments wanting to become famous. An old example is Haeckel's attempt to prove his "biogenetic law" with faked drawings of embryos. However, the new dimension in Hwang's case is how he has been adored as a "hero" in Korea, and how his subordinates were pushed and forced to support his fake science by donating their own egg cells or faking photos. It's not only the problem of one man, but the problem of a society.
26th-Dec-2005 11:43 am (UTC)
Today, the Spiegel reports that the extent of the fake is even larger as reported. The results were not faked partially, but probably completely.
26th-Dec-2005 03:01 pm (UTC) - Nationalistic to the end
Hwang is quoted here and elsewhere:

“I emphasize that patient-specific stem cells belong to South Korea and you are going to see this.”

To the end, he's still speaking the nationalistic language that propelled him to cult hero status in Korea.

It also sounds like UBF-speak, e.g. "History will prove...," "Hundred years from now Dr. Samuel Lee will be shining like a star..."
27th-Dec-2005 05:41 pm (UTC) - National pride out of control
This story reveals the dimensions of how far out of control this adoration of this "national hero" spun. A quote from the story:

Hwang was once called the pride of South Korea for bringing the country to the forefront of stem cell and cloning research. Publishers aiming to cash in on his fame put out 16 books on him -- 10 of which were children's books.
29th-Dec-2005 01:16 pm (UTC) - It wouldn't be a Korean scandal ...
... if a bribe wasn't involved. According to the Chosun Ilbo, associates of Hwang tried to give a key witness $30,000.

I have no doubt that Lee/Barry/Jun of UBF also have a history of trying to use bribes to influence and manipulate people.
29th-Dec-2005 11:10 pm (UTC) - Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed
"I have no doubt that Lee/Barry/Jun of UBF also have a history of trying to use bribes to influence and manipulate people."

It is already upsetting to know the things they try to cover up with lies and deceptions. I have no doubt they have a history of bribes too.

But, I am reminded of Jesus' words in Luke 12:2, "Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known." http://bible1.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=lu+12:2&version=rsv&context=1&showtools=1

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