The more serious issue is that this predetermined-conclusions thing happens all the time. (Or, as they say on the Internet, All. The. Time.) I’ve worked on many projects, often for pay, with organizations where I have a pretty clear sense ahead to time of what they’re looking for. I always give the straight story of what I’ve found, but these organizations are free to select and use just the findings of mine that they like.
Once I started reading the Applied Statistics blog, for my previous post, I just had to read one more item and guess what: I found this one, which is motivated by an article by the economist blogger Mark Thoma. thoma points out an ad by the Chamber of Commerce that blatantly says they are looking an economist to write a “study” to support what the Chamber wants to appear to be true. Reading the full post is highly recommended (click on “scienceblogs.com” above, after “via”).