An ironic revelation

Andrew Gelman, How Academic Fraudsters Get Away With It:

In recent reporting in the Chronicle, Stephanie M. Lee describes how “a famous study about a clever way to prompt honest behavior was retracted due to an ironic revelation: It relied on fraudulent data.” The author of the retracted study also wrote a book titled, appropriately, Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules in Work and in Life.

Examples of this particular irony are more numerous than might be expected. The disgraced primatologist March Hauser wrote a book originally called Evilicious: Why We Evolved a Taste for Being Bad. The psychologist Dan Ariely, who was forced to retract an article containing faked data, and who has promoted a company making fishy claims about insurance algorithms, wrote a book called The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially to Ourselves. He even participated in a radio show called Everybody Lies, and That’s Not Always A Bad Thing, in which he gave this amazing-in-retrospect quote to the ever-credulous hosts at National Public Radio: “What separates honest people from not-honest people is not necessarily character, it’s opportunity. (…) The surprising thing for a rational economist would be: why don’t we cheat more?”

What’s going on?