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History of man unravels in huge fraud?

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What? My smelling salts! Oh wait. No, just Piltdown man’s back in town. The usual stuff. More paleontologists than important fossils, so …

This time from The Guardian:

“History of modern man unravels as German scholar is exposed as fraud”

Yesterday his university in Frankfurt announced the professor had been forced to retire because of numerous “falsehoods and manipulations”. According to experts, his deceptions may mean an entire tranche of the history of man’s development will have to be rewritten.

“Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago,” said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. “Prof Protsch’s work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish.” More.

Hmmm. We’d heard that the evidence that supported co-existence/intermarriage was based on a broader array of data. See also: Neanderthal symbols found in Gibraltar cave

If it all really depended on this one prof Protsch’s work, things are even worse than we are being told. Read this story before it suddenly sinks out of sight, amid a flurry of pom poms waved for “science.”

For example,

Another of the professor’s sensational finds, “Binshof-Speyer” woman, lived in 1,300 BC and not 21,300 years ago, as he had claimed, while “Paderborn-Sande man” (dated at 27,400 BC) only died a couple of hundred years ago, in 1750.

Trust News, the story gets way wilder as it goes on. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Bogus titles of nobility?

But note:

Yesterday the university admitted that it should have discovered the professor’s fabrications far earlier. But it pointed out that, like all public servants in Germany, the high-profile anthropologist was virtually impossible to sack, and had also proved difficult to pin down.

Sure. Nobody does fact-checking any more. Bummer. For now, don’t believe any of them.

See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents

Added:  For now, consider this – the further we get from physics and chemistry and the closer to human existence, the more the MAINSTREAM comes to depend on hype and scambo. In physics, we have the Large Hadron Collider detecting the Higgs boson (not where it was anticipated, but maybe that makes the discovery all the more authentic). We also have the multiverse crackpots, but they are not running the show, much as they’d like to. By sharp contrast, what do we hear about human evolution nowadays that is not just hype, nonsense, and scandal? Okay, a little glimmer of useful fact. No ways nearly enough for all the pom pom waving that goes on. –  O’Leary for News

Added further: Thanks to Learned Hand below for pointing out that the linked story hales from 2005. (This is what comes of running around all day on unrelated matters.)

That said: It wasn’t easy to tell that the story wasn’t fresh because current human evolution theory is full of scandals and unexplainable findings. What about Bill Nye’s skulls in 2014? Or the Dmanisi findings that upended the discipline in 2013? There is a ridiculous level of uncertainty about the whole field. Okay, the 2015 scandal will be fresher. Darwin’s followers are surely welcome to that triumph. –  O’Leary for News

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16 Replies to “History of man unravels in huge fraud?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Jus Wonderin: Is it now outdated to think that history proper depends on testimony and record, and that in a given setting pre-history begins where credible record fades out? KF

  2. 2
    Learned Hand says:

    Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.”

    This “news” is literally a decade old.

  3. 3
    News says:

    kairosfocus, maybe. How about, it’s a discussion we need to have.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Learned Hand at 2: And it made no difference, did it.

  5. 5
    Mark Frank says:

    News at 4. You must admit it is rather misleading to describe a 10 year old story as News.

  6. 6
    Learned Hand says:

    I’m not really up on the paleontology news (which appears to make two of us), but that seems about right–it didn’t make much of a difference. You know, it’s just possible that the scientific understanding of “the history of man” relies on a little more than one professor’s work.

    Seems like you found a convenient headline and dressed it up for all it was worth. The more I read UD, the more the news desk seems like propaganda: all about attacking the enemy, with nothing at all about the actual progress being made on the scientific theory of Intelligent Design (or empirical proof that it can actually, you know, detect design).

    Is it possible that ID isn’t making progress? And that science isn’t falling apart at the seams?

  7. 7
    Timaeus says:

    Learned Hand:

    ID has never claimed that science is falling apart at the seams. ID leaders themselves are trained in science and respect it. ID has claimed only that certain allegedly established scientific “truths” are debatable.

    ID per se hasn’t claimed that biology is false science or even that evolution is a false theory. (For example, Behe accepts evolution.) It has claimed only that the Darwinian formulation of evolution is highly implausible.

  8. 8
    kohoutek says:

    Hmmm. Interesting that ID “has never claimed that science is falling apart at the seams,” or that “evolution is a false theory.” That certainly is news. The ten-year mark on this article seems appropriate in this light.

    Because, you know what else is almost ten years old?

    “To William Dembski, all the debate in this country over evolution won’t matter in a decade. The theory of evolution put forth by Charles Darwin 150 years ago will be ‘dead.’ The mathematician turned Darwin critic says there is much to be learned about how life evolved on this planet. And he believes the model of evolution accepted by the scientific community won’t be able to supply the answers. ‘I see this all disintegrating very quickly,’ he said.” April 2, 2006, DYLAN T. LOVAN, Associated Press

    Maybe we should be having that conversation, too.

  9. 9

    Hey all,

    I’ve been following the ID debate off and on for several years now and recently became interested again after someone recommended the recent Metaxas piece for WSJ in addition to this ENV post:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92411.html

    I also starting reading last summer’s ENV posts about the PNAS paper that vindicated Behe to a large degree for his book “Edge of Evolution.”

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....87901.html

    I was wondering if there is a list or collection of some sort of all the research that has implications for the first adaptive rule?

    http://www.lehigh.edu/bio/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf

    Looks to me like much of the focus on irreducibility is better spent on demonstrating the problems of multi-step mutational pathways.

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    Jeffrey, I’ve been following UD since its inception in April 2005. If I’m not being banned, I like to point out their logical inconsistancies, today’s post being an example of this.

    The only word that can accurately describe UD’s progress is, ‘degradation’. I know that sounds oxymoronic but all you need do is click on the various past year’s posts and note the loss of the ‘heavy weight’ contributors of the movement, versus the remainder. Like Alzheimers, this appears ‘progressively degenerative’.

    New’s post today is just another laughable example of this degeneration. Any vague attempt at science has long since been abandoned. We are left with kairosfocus (who, you will notice through the years was promoted from humble contributor to, editorial staff as the ‘heavyweights’ dissipated),and News, and, well….

    This post about one man, whose academic disingenuousness, was discovered by other academics, in what can only be described as, academic rigour, simply shows me that academic self regulation is working well.

    Just as ‘Piltdown Man’ was exposed as a hoax by the academic community, so another academic fraud is exposed by his peers; well done the Enlightenment Scholastic tradition!

  11. 11
    humbled says:

    The only degeneration that exists on UD is our critics attempts at refuting our arguments.

    As for one of your cherished icons, Piltdown Man, well..bet it was the ID community that pressured the powers that be to come clean. If not, you science terrorists would still be pushing him.

  12. 12
    rvb8 says:

    humbled, Piltdown was ‘discovered’ in 1912 and exposed in 1953 by English anatomists le Gros Clark and Oakley, of the ‘science terrorist’ community. ID wasn’t even a ‘glint in the milkman’s eye’ yet. ID and Dembsky weren’t around. I suppose Paley’s ideas were around, but he talked about ‘the watchmaker’ not the IDer.

  13. 13
    hrun0815 says:

    As for one of your cherished icons, Piltdown Man, well..bet it was the ID community that pressured the powers that be to come clean. If not, you science terrorists would still be pushing him.

    Sometimes it is hard to see if a comment is supposed to be serious or parody.

  14. 14
    Learned Hand says:

    That said: It wasn’t easy to tell that the story wasn’t fresh …

    I thought it was pretty easy to tell–the Guardian story is dated. 2-19-05.

    Also, if you googled the elements of the story–which one might do in order to find out whether it is significant, as opposed to simply declaring it to be so–you immediately find other sources that are hardly fresh.

    because current human evolution theory is full of scandals and unexplainable findings. What about Bill Nye’s skulls in 2014? Or the Dmanisi findings that upended the discipline in 2013? There is a ridiculous level of uncertainty about the whole field. Okay, the 2015 scandal will be fresher. Darwin’s followers are surely welcome to that triumph.

    You have a very low bar for “scandal.” And, to be fair, a pressing need to meet your apparent quota for articles announcing the seriously imminent, any day now, like it could be tomorrow, triumph of intelligent design.

    Maybe then we’ll get some news pieces about ID accomplishing something.

  15. 15
    KRock says:

    Who cares how long ago it was, its the fraudulent behavior of a Neo Darwinist at his best! This type of behavior is no doubt, still on going today. No wonder a new review shows that people in the United States do not trust scientists. Than again, honesty was never suited for Neo Darwinism evolution, so we shouldn’t be to hard these scientists…

  16. 16
    Timaeus says:

    kohoutek (8):

    Your response above fails to distinguish between evolution as a process and the Darwinian explanation for evolution. ID is critical of the Darwinian explanation. ID has no position on the process itself. Thus, all ID proponents are more or less anti-Darwinian, but not all ID proponents are anti-evolution.

    The difference between ID and creationism is (among other things) that creationism is opposed to evolution per se, whereas ID is opposed to evolution only so far as it is packaged with the idea of directionlessness, lack of planning or intelligence, etc. Directed or guided or front-loaded evolution would not be intrinsically opposed to the idea of design in nature.

    The fact that individual ID proponents, even many ID leaders, personally reject evolution makes no difference at all to the truth of the above statements. My point to Learned Hand was that, whatever individual ID proponents may hold about the reality of evolution, ID as a theoretical position is not opposed to the idea of an evolutionary process. It’s merely skeptical of the power of blind search to create anything radically novel in the living world.

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