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Darnok

Science is not always about progress and discoveries...

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That was a hundred years ago. Today's hoaxes are far more subtle .... and there are many more.

 

Edited by Green Baron

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True. Sometimes a rivalry is a driving factor - like in the case of Mr.'s Cope and Marsh of "Bone Wars" fame. Methods used by those two to one-up each other involved hasty excavations with the use of dynamite and hiring armed thugs to sabotage rival's digs. Good thing today's scientific rivalry involves less violence and more scathing publications in papers :D

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I remember a laboratory for carbon-dating that allways dated what was expected (how convenient). They got a lot of stuff to date this way. Took a few years and a few redatations to realize that something was wrong with the datations of that laboratory.

Imagine the mess when museums, universities, institutions had to browse through their stuff and sort out all those dates from that laboratory and rewrite publications based on those false dates.

 

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Darnok, I respectfully suggest you were never taught the purpose of "science".

There's no magical process that keeps liars from becoming scientists. The special thing about science is just that those lies are always found out! The scientific method is the best way humanity has discovered to uncover fraud, but does little to prevent it.

And that's the whole point. Seriously, this was precisely why the scientific method was invented 400 years ago. It doesn't create inspiration; it doesn't make discoveries come faster or easier; no, what it does is save everybody time by efficiently discovering cases of fraud, wishful thinking, and innocent mistakes.

The so-called corporate and government "scientists" whose results are kept secret rather than being peer-reviewed are not doing science. They're doing research, but science MEANS independent peers replicate your experiment to verify whether your results were real.

It's just human nature that some people will always try to beat the system. So when a scientist is caught committing fraud, that's a SUCCESS for science, not a failure or an embarrassment!

Edited by Beowolf

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People sometimes do things for fame and fortune. I'm shocked - shocked I tell you.

Scientists are no different to other people. Being more knowledgeable about a field of study does not automatically make you a better person. I know a lot of scientists. A lot of them are lovely people. Many of them have outsize egos. Some are furiously competititive (even beyond the normal level of academic competition for scarce funding), some are collaborative to a fault. Some of them are bullies, some of them have pet harebrained projects, some of them are eccentric, some of them are entitled, some of them are otherworldly. Some of them are bewildered that anybody with a degree wouldn't choose to become an academic, a few are tremendously business savvy. 

They are all human. Being a scientist does not make you immune to human frailties. 

Edited by KSK

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I am actually old enough to have been living in England in the early fifties and watched a TV program on a twelve inch black and white TV that first exposed the Piltdown man hoax on the BBC.  As far as I know, the only interest in the subject since then has been trying to pin down exactly Who Dunnit!

 

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