Piltdown Day: 11-21-1953
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
21-11-2016, 12:16 PM
Piltdown Day: 11-21-1953
On this day in 1953, the Piltdown Man was revealed to be a hoax.

PBS article

Quote:"Piltdown Man Hoax Is Exposed," announced the New York Times on November 21, 1953. "Part of the skull of the Piltdown man, one of the most famous fossil skulls in the world, has been declared a hoax by authorities at the British Natural History Museum," the article said.

The Piltdown fossils, including a portion of the skull, a jawbone, and a few teeth, were found in 1911 and 1912. This "Piltdown Man" was believed by many to be "the earliest Englishman," and in fact, the missing link between apes and humans. But in 1953, the jawbone was found to be that of a modern ape -- orangutan, most likely -- that had been treated with chemicals to make it look as though it had been lying in the ground for hundreds of centuries. The cap of the skull was still thought to be a genuine fossil, but far more recent than originally believed.

"This declaration . . . has been made after twenty years of rumors and uneasy speculation among European paleontologists about the authenticity of the bones," the New York Times stated. The London Star headlines shouted, "The Biggest Scientific Hoax of the Century!"

Although often trumpeted by the ignorant, this event was not a defeat for science. It was confirmation of the scientific method and a cautionary tale. It also sharpened the attention of the scientific community, allowing later hoaxes to be quickly exposed.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Fatbaldhobbit's post
21-11-2016, 12:28 PM
RE: Piltdown Day: 11-21-1953
It was the opposite of a defeat. It was a triumph of science, applying new methods to check old assumptions (Piltdown Man was suspect from the beginning because it didn't fit in with the rest of the emerging picture about human origins... they just couldn't prove it false until later). It's why science is stronger than religion by a mile.

Although they're annoying, the "ignorant" people who bring up the Piltdown Man hoax actually do us a favor by allowing us to highlight the difference in the way scientists think versus the way they do.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like RocketSurgeon76's post
21-11-2016, 12:46 PM
RE: Piltdown Day: 11-21-1953
(21-11-2016 12:28 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  It was the opposite of a defeat. It was a triumph of science, applying new methods to check old assumptions (Piltdown Man was suspect from the beginning because it didn't fit in with the rest of the emerging picture about human origins... they just couldn't prove it false until later). It's why science is stronger than religion by a mile.

Although they're annoying, the "ignorant" people who bring up the Piltdown Man hoax actually do us a favor by allowing us to highlight the difference in the way scientists think versus the way they do.

Indeed, it illustrates the strength of science in that the hoax was uncovered by scientists and that science is about the search for knowledge.........no matter how inconvenient that knowledge may be.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Silly Deity's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: