Letter - Don't Use Nazi Data

I have just finished reading Alan C. Nixon's article "If The Data's Good, Use It - Regardless Of The Source," in the November 14 issue of The Scientist, page 9. (In the run-in title, data is correctly treated as plural.) I do not wish to argue that the data generated from experiments performed in concentration camps must not be used, but I do wish to argue strongly that Dr. Nixon's argumentation totally conflates the issue. Nixon starts with statements that such data should be used because t

Carl Gans
Jan 22, 1989

I have just finished reading Alan C. Nixon's article "If The Data's Good, Use It - Regardless Of The Source," in the November 14 issue of The Scientist, page 9. (In the run-in title, data is correctly treated as plural.)

I do not wish to argue that the data generated from experiments performed in concentration camps must not be used, but I do wish to argue strongly that Dr. Nixon's argumentation totally conflates the issue. Nixon starts with statements that such data should be used because they might occasionally save lives and make other "experiments" unnecessary. This argument is certainly worthy of discussion.

However, Dr. Nixon also confuses the fundamental basis for most objection to these particular experiments. Unless I am mistaken, the objection does not reflect a general distaste for the Nazi government per se or in parallel for the government of Japan, which generated another major block of...

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