A young minister gets an idea for a new slant on a New Testament story. Heís never heard of it before, so he assumes no one else has either. He does no research at all, writes it up and uses it for his next sermon. Several members of the congregation have heard the ministerís approach before and know itís been shot down by biblical scholars. But they donít tell him. Thereís no point in discouraging the guy. He made a good point using bad data, but no one was hurt. No harm, no foul.
A young researcher gets an idea for a new slant on particle physics. Heís never heard of it before, but he knows he canít assume itís new. He does his homework and canít find any reference to his idea. In the lab, he does some preliminary experiments and they look good. Then he spends weeks going through every experiment he can think of to disprove his hypothesis. He knows other scientists will do their best to shoot holes in it and he doesnít want to look like an ignorant fool. In the end, it still looks good, so he writes it up and submits it to a peer-reviewed journal. Two months later, they send it back. The young researcher has made a mistake. His hypothesis is invalid. The concept of ďno harm, no foulĒ never occurred to the review committee.