耶魯教授 致北大學生的一封信
發布時間: 2012-10-30 瀏覽次數: 1421


Prof. Sterns
是耶魯大學知名進化生物學家,本學期在北大開設Key Issues in Evolut
Principles of Evolution 兩門課程,總計40余名學生。 12月初,有一位學生交的期末論文中發現明顯剽竊,為此教授公開宣布判此人零分并致函所有同學以示告誡。然而所有論文都遞交之后,又發現兩人有嚴重剽竊行為。教授因此非常傷心,致函如下:


To my students in Beijing, Fall 2007:

While grading papers today I encountered two more cases of plagiarism.
One was sophisticated but serious. The other was so blatant that it
was almost unbelievable. That makes a total of three students who
have failed my courses because of plagiarism.


If I had not warned you and given you the opportunity honestly to
correct your essays, there would have been several more. I thank those of
you who were honest and showed me what you had copied.


Plagiarism disturbs me greatly, both because it corrodes my relationship
with you as my students, and because it tells me things about China and
Beida that neither you nor I want to hear.


It corrodes my relationship with you because I work hard to be a good
teacher, I take time to prepare good lectures, and I spend many hours
providing detailed feedback on essays. It is hard work. You cannot
imagine what it is like to correct the details of the 500th essay until
you have done it yourself. I do that to help you
learn to think more clearly, to express yourself convincingly, and to
develop your intellectual power, your ability to understand the world.
I also do it because I value you, I value your ideas, and I think the world
will be a better place when you can all think clearly and behave
intelligently. Later in life, some of you will be leaders with important
positions. I want you to be competent and honest,
for I have seen too often what terrible things can happen when
leaders are incompetent and dishonest. Leadership aside, I want all of you
to be able to create value in your lives, whatever you end up doing,
and you cannot do that if you deceive.


When a student whom I am teaching steals words and ideas from an
author without acknowledgment, I feel cheated, dragged down into the mud.
I ask myself, why should I teach people who knowingly deceive me?
Life is too short for such things. There are better things to do.


Disturbingly, plagiarism fits into a larger pattern of behavior in China.
Cxiaoneinternational intellectual property rights. Beida sees
nothing wrong in copying my textbook, for example, in complete violation
of international copyright agreements, causing me to lose income,
stealing from me quite directly. No one in China seems to care.
I can buy DVDs in stores and on the street for about one US dollar.
They cost $20-30 outside China; the artists who produced them are
losing enormous amounts of stolen income, billions of dollars each year.
China has become notorious for producing defective products that have to
be recalled because the pose health threats to consumers. A recent cartoon in
American newspaper shows the Central Committee reacting to an accusation that
they have violated human rights. The response? "Wait until they see what
we put in their toothpaste next!" Corruption is a serious problem in a boomin
economy. For example, in the mining industry, about 5000 miners die each year
and mine owners cut corners in violation of the law. The social fabric breaks
when workers die because owners are greedy. The Mandate of Heaven is lost.

讓人不安的是,剽竊已經成為整個中國行為模式的一部分。中國忽視國際知識產權。比如說,復印我的書徹頭徹尾違反了國際版權協議,使我損失了收入,對我而言近乎直接的偷竊,然而北大人卻對此安之若素。再比如,我只花大約一美元就能在街頭和店鋪買到DVD光碟,這些碟片在別國要賣上二三十美元。創作它們的藝術家因此損失的大筆收入全是被偷走的,每年幾十億。因為生產劣質商品對消費者造成潛在的健康威脅而不得不召回,中國已經是臭名昭著了。最近美國報紙上刊載的一幅漫畫描繪了中央委員會被指責侵犯人權。猜他們怎么回答?往他們牙膏里擱點東西,看他們還敢吭聲不?經濟繁榮的背后,腐敗已經成為嚴重的問題。就拿礦業來說,每年大約有五千名礦工死去,就因為礦主為了省事為了利潤而不惜違反法律 (譯注:cut corners 指貶義的抄近道,此為意譯。)

China appears to have lost her way. Confucius said, do not
do to others what you do not want them to do to you. He also said, a
gentleman is honest. Honesty and reciprocity are the basis of trust and
community. We cannot get along in a world filled with deceit and defection;
such a world becomes a Hobbesian war of all against all, nasty and brutal.
We cannot do science if we cannot trust what others publish. There is no
reason to try to replicate a result if it cannot be trusted. It
would not be worth the effort. Without replication there can be no shared
knowledge that is tested and trustworthy - that is, no science. Without
science, there can be no technology. And without technology, there can be
no steady increase in productivity, economic growth, and a better life for al
中國似乎已經迷失了她的道路。孔子說過,己所不欲勿施于人。他還說過,人而無信不知其可。(直譯是君子有信,不過一時想不起原話是怎么說的了。) 誠實互惠是信任與社群的基礎。在一個充滿欺詐和背叛的社會中,我們無法生存,這樣的世界成了霍布森(是他吧?哲概的東西快忘干凈了)式的每個人與每個人為敵的戰爭,險惡而野蠻。若是我們不能相信別人發表的東西,我們就沒法做科研。誰都沒有理由去企圖重復一個不可信的結果,不值得費那功夫;而沒有重復就不會有經過驗證而可信靠、可共享的知識,也就沒有科學。沒有科學就不會有技術,沒有技術就不會有生產力的穩步發展,經濟水平的持續增長,也就不會給所有人都帶來更美好的生活。
The penalties for plagiarism that you will encounter later in life are very
serious. If you do it as a graduate student, you can be expelled from
university, and you will not get your degree. If you do it as a faculty
member, you can lose your job. I know you may not believe that, for
the sociology professor at Beida who translated an entire book into Chinese
and published it with his name on it only lost his administrative positions
but kept his professorship and salary. But things are not like that elsewhere
When plagiarism is detected in the United States, it can end the
career of the person who did it. That is also true in Europe.
在你們今后的人生里,剽竊將會遇到極為嚴厲的懲罰。身為研究生如果剽竊,就會直接開除,沒有學位。身為教員如果剽竊,就會丟掉飯碗。我知道你們可能不信,因為北大那位把整本書翻成中文就署上自己名字出版的社會學家 (這是誰啊...) 僅僅丟了行政職務,卻仍然保有教授之位和薪水。然而事情在別處并非如此。在美國如果發現有人剽竊,此人的職業生涯可以就此毀于一旦。歐洲亦然。

The fact that I have encountered this much plagiarism at Beida tells me
something about the behavior of other professors and administrators here.
They must tolerate a lot of it, and when they detect it, they cover it up
without serious punishment, probably because they do not want to lose face.
If they did punish it, it would not be this frequent.

I have greatly enjoyed teaching some of you. I have encountered young minds
here that are as good as any in the world. Many of you are brave, most
of you work very hard, most of you are honest, and some of you are brilliant.
But I am leaving with very mixed feelings. It is quite sad that so many
promising young Chinese think it is necessary to cheat to succeed. They
damage themselves even more than the people from whom they steal and the
people whom they deceive with stolen words.

Sincerely, Steve Stearns