Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scientific Hoaxes

Scientific hoaxes happen. Some scientists do indeed fake their discoveries.

A couple examples are given in this report by Discovery. Wherever you have people, you will have dishonesty, from unavoidable bias to outright chicanery.

Nebraska Man

Today, I saw a video discussion between Wendy Wright, a representative of Concerned Women for America, and Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist. In the discussion, Wendy Wright refers to the discovery of a tooth (actually two teeth) said by one scientist to belong to a primitive hominid, named hesperopithecus and known as "Nebraska Man."

The tooth turned out to belong to an extinct pig.

Ms. Wright refers to that discovery as "fraud." She says that science should not "censor out the evidence that goes against evolution."

There's only one problem with the accusation that science or scientists are fraudulent: It was science and scientists that determined that the teeth—two of them—belonged to a species of pig.

Piltdown Man

Unlike Nebrask Man, Piltdown Man was in fact a deliberate hoax. Again, however, it was scientists who believe in evolution, not those who oppose evolution, who exposed the hoax, which was in doubt from the very beginning.

Scientific Hoaxes in General

As I said, anywhere you have humans involved, especially if there are many of them, you will have dishonesty. One horrid Japanese scientist, for example (Shinichi Fujimura) set Japanese paleontology back 20 years by producing numerous artifacts that he planted himself.

I know of not one single case where a scientific hoax, an attempt to foist evolution on the public, has been exposed by those who oppose evolution. Oh, yes, there are invalid accusations made by anti-evolutionists, but not one valid exposed hoax.

Hoaxes are always exposed by legitimate scientists.

An example is archaeapteryx. Anti-evolutionists have taken numerous potshots at this important transitional fossil, but it stands as valid evidence of dinosaur to bird evolution. Recently, scientists moved it one step further from birds and closer to dinosaurs by doing intense analysis of growth patterns in archaeopteryx' bones. Again, though, this was not the revealing of a hoax, but the increase of knowledge through scientific study by scientists who are aware of the incontrovertible evidence for evolution.

Getting Off the Subject: Richard Dawkins

It's good when writing for the web, if you want to be found by search engines, to stay focused on a subject. But I don't want to mention Richard Dawkins in this post as though I agree with him.

I read Richard Dawkins very interesting book, The Blind Watchmaker. It has a terrific description of bat sonar in the first couple chapters.

If you want to be astounded by God's creation, read those chapters written by an atheist.

Dawkins makes a persuasive, powerful argument that bat sonar evolved. I don't care. The description of the incredible complexity and brilliance of bat sonar makes me believe in God all the more. I don't care how he did it. Bat sonar is the work of God.

Later in the book, however, Dawkins reasoning crumbles. He argues that the many strange occurrences that humans, and especially theist humans (believers in God), call miracles are simply coincidences. With 6 billion people on earth—now closer to 7 billion—there are going to be extremely unusual incidents, he says. Those are just chance.

My friends and I like to joke about that. I listened once to a tape by the brother of a friend of mine. This person was—and is—a backslidden believer. He taped himself making music one day, but when he went to play the tape back a horrid voice said his name and then said some things to him.

I listened to that tape. It was chilling.

Just one of those 1 in 6 billion chances, I guess. If a couple billion people tape music onto a cassette, surely at least one of them will get a spine-tingling voice saying their name and giving them a message.

That's a joke. I'm not serious.

There may be 6 billion people on earth, but I don't know them. I've only met a few thousand. But I've heard the tape, and just about every person I've ever met can tell an amazing story like that ... or a few amazing stories. I have plenty, some good and spiritual like answers to prayer, and several that are frightening.

I've been told by atheists—and one supposed believer—that I'm ignoring all the times those things didn't happen.

Um, okay. When I see a clear example of something being moved by meditation and attempted telekinesis, I need to take into account all the other attempted telekinetics? Why?

When I pray for a blind 2-year-old to be healed of an infection in his eyes, and I and the others with me have a powerful spiritual experience during the prayer, and the child is healed though he's had the infection for over a year, do I really need to take into account that there was a prayer study done on a church full of half-hearted Christians putting God to the test against Scriptural mandate?

I don't think so.

Sorry, Richard. I can't buy the "oh, well, it happened because there's 6 billion people on earth" argument.


  1. "When I pray for a blind 2-year-old to be healed of an infection in his eyes ..."

    So you seriously believe a Master of the Universe is going to listen to you talk to yourself?

    Jeebus, how can somebody as intelligent as you obviously are be so hopelessly gullible?

    I assume you are aware our entire solar system is equivalent to one grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. That's how vast the universe is. And you think your imaginary god-of-the-entire-universe is going to give a crap about some two year old ape on an insignificant planet in the middle of nowhere.

  2. Yes, I do think that the God of the universe cares about a 2-year-old person on this planet, and I think he listens to me talk to him.

    Good thing I do, too, or my nephew would be a blind adult now.

    For the non-scoffers who may read this, it's not just that we prayed for him and he got better after a year and a half of getting worse. Sometimes we pray for people and nothing happens. It's that we prayed for him, and we *knew* before we heard it that he would get better. In fact, we had an idea that he would only be mostly better immediately.

    So, mock and scoff, HA. You might as well. This is the internet, so maybe I'm a liar or prone to wild imagining. I'm not, though. It was really pretty astounding.


Feel free to comment, and I'll even let links be posted, particularly on the subject of evolution from either side. No spam, and no pointless links. The comments are moderated.