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Scientific Frauds

By Richard Gunther


  One of ‘The Simpsons’ episodes featured a ‘fossilised angel’, which turned out to be a deliberate advertising stunt, much to the disappointment of many of the inhabitants of Springfield. Cartoon or not, the principle was clear – the cartoon people of Springfield, and real people of today want to believe things, and it doesn’t take much ‘evidence’ to convince them if they already want to follow a certain line.


   Take Piltdown man for example. Remains of a human skull together with most of the jaw of an ape, filed and stained to look old, were discovered between 1908-1912 in the Piltdown gravels near London. This deliberate fraud was placed where it could be discovered, and the conclusion was drawn by scientists who were needing and looking for evidence of a missing link. They found what they wanted, and it was years before someone pointed out the deception.


   The Piltdown affair raises many moral questions and shows clearly that the belief system of a whole generation can be turned around by a handful of intelligent men deceived by their own preconceptions.


   The fact is, not a single fossil has been found which has been indisputably accepted as a missing link. All so-called missing link fossils to date have been classified as either fully human or primate. Never an in-between, or intermediary.


   A more recent fraud foisted on the gullible public was the peppered moth. This moth can be found in many current school textbooks and many encyclopaedias, yet it represents a case of deliberate scientific deception.


   The moth comes in two shades, dark and light. During the Industrial Revolution the population of moths, it was claimed, changed (evolved) from dark to light due to the soot on the trees. Dark moths resting on tree trunks were harder to see, so the birds ate the lighter moths.  H.B.Kettlewell, one of the scientists involved in the study said “(Darwin) would have witnessed the consummation and confirmation of his life’s work”, yet what happened was simply a shift in gene frequency. The moths were still peppered moths, regardless of whether they were light or dark. In fact, the study proved that moths don’t change their genes, so no real change had occurred.


   However, the fraud and false claims were published, and have been taught for many years, despite their total lack of evidence.


   Recent studies have shown that the scientists actually glued dead moths to trees because the moths don’t normally rest on the tree trunks, or come out in the day time.


   Another outstanding scientific fraud was authored by Ernst Haekel. In 1868 he proposed that the human embryo in the womb goes through the steps of evolution, from fish to mammal before it is born. To back up this claim Mr. Ernst drew embryos from many widely different creatures, in order to illustrate their similarities. However, studies of embryos since then have shown that all the drawings were deliberately distorted in order to fit Mr. Ernst’s theory. Since then, despite 80 years of embryonic study, and a total denial of the veracity of Mr. Ernst’s deception, the theory is still taught in schools, and published by such ‘authorities’ as the World Book Encyclopaedia 2001.


   Horse evolution is also presented today in many textbooks (i.e. Readers Digest and the WBE) yet even leading evolutionists have discarded the diagram commonly presented. No sequence of horse fossils has ever been found. The whole series of skeletons was collected from a wide area and placed in the order which fitted the assumptions of the scientists who put the series together.


   The so-called ‘first horse’ or Eohippus has now been accepted as more of a hyrax, or rock badger, (or coney) which is still alive today and all the other skeletons match large and small horses also living today. No evidence for horse evolution has ever been found, yet the fraud continues to be presented as if it is fully backed up by evidence.


   This year (2001) a leading Japanese archaeologist, nicknamed ‘god’s hands’ because of his uncanny ability to find relics wherever he searched, has been exposed as a fraud. Mr. Shinichi Fujimura was secretly photographed by a newspaper as he sneaked into a site and buried the things he intended to ‘discover’ later in the day.


   And in Britain this year, a museum which has been displaying a prized dinosaur skeleton for the last 116 years has realised that its exhibit is in fact a fake, made from “a motley collection of bones, plaster and paint”.


   Can we trust scientists? I would like to think so, but these are just a handful of the hundreds of frauds and deceptions presented to the public by supposedly expert and reliable people. Many of the frauds are not deliberate, but merely an extension of preconceptions, innocent lies so to speak, but many are not. Many are made because of the original mindset in which the scientist is trained, many are deliberate hoaxes, perhaps motivated by a need for recognition, fame or book sales.


But the bottom line is a need for truth rather than deception. Students in schools need to be told that the evidence for evolution is flimsy or non-existent, and ‘authorities’ such as David Attenborough and David Bellamy, leading exponents of their own assumptions, ought to admit that they do not really know what happened in the past. If there is no real evidence, they ought to say so, instead of smothering the lack of evidence with a sickly coating of scientific dogma. The best they can do is present guesses, not facts, and the public ought to be permitted to make up its own mind – not have someone else’s theories pushed at them without recourse to any alternative explanation.


   The truth may hurt but, as the doctor would say, the best medicine is the right medicine. A world that depends on fraud and deception is heading for disaster.

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