Diederik Stapel was a professor of social psychology at Tilburg University. He has published many articles and papers and received a Career Trajectory Award, which celebrates scientific contributions made in the early-to-mid stages of a research career. He is now suspended from his duties at Tilburg University, his Career Trajectory Award has been detracted, and his papers and articles are being pored over for false data.

An increasing amount of fake data is being found in his "research," some of which promotes the idea that meat eaters were physiologically different than vegetarians and vegans. He went so far as to create a fake student who collected nonexistent data for him.

Stapel also appeared frequently on TV. I can see why a professor like Stapel — who says that people who eat meat are simply trying to boost their ego and status and elevate themselves above others — would make an interesting TV segment, but it looks like his glory days are over. Currently, all of his published works are being combed over for fake data and his professional reputation is in shambles. Stapel went from trying to get his research published in a peer-reviewed medical journal to unemployment.

It makes me wonder why a man who had so much going for him would risk it all. One recent study from Stapel and research partner Roos Vonk stated that meat eaters were selfish, egotistical and less social. Vonk has strongly defended the research, saying that it is insulting that anyone would question if it was biased. (Vonk is a vegetarian.) But now that Stapel's research is under scrutiny, she has apologized saying, "It goes to show that even psychologists can be completely wrong about people."

It is easy to imagine embracing research that validates your personal position. I think that we are all guilty of this sometimes. We pass by any information that is contrary to our beloved ideals, and embrace without question any supporting evidence.

All in all, I think this unfortunate incident reminds me that you can’t be blown left and right by every new study that's released. Sometimes there can be deceit, inefficient methods, or missing data that can twist the results.

Dutch anti-meat professor and researcher found guilty of creating fake data
A career of deceit catches up to a professor of social psychology.