Big Science Hoaxes

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To mark April Fools’ Day, National Geographic News summarized some historic—and noteworthy, from our perspective—scientific hoaxes.

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The hoaxes named, two of which are of special interest to creationists, are:

  • Piltdown Man—this much-ballyhooed “missing link” skull, “found” in 1912, was actually an orangutan jaw, chimp teeth, and a human skull jumbled together. That didn’t keep scientists from reconstructing it, identifying it as Eoanthropus dawsoni, and presenting it as evidence of evolution until 1953. (Read more at “Big Science Hoaxes” and “The Piltdown Man Fraud.”)
  • Cardiff Giant—a fake-looking “giant” human, 10 feet (3 m) tall, unearthed in New York. The giant was actually sculpted from gypsum.
  • ArchaeoraptorNational Geographic jumped all over this “evidence” that dinosaurs evolved into birds and even presented the fake fossil (actually a composite of two creatures) at its headquarters before backing down. (Read more at “Another ‘Missing Link’ Takes Flight” and “Archaeoraptor Hoax Update—National Geographic Recants!)
  • Bigfoot—one of the most famous series of hoaxes in history, the Bigfoot legend nonetheless lives on. We’ve even covered it in News to Note—see the August 16, 2008, edition.

When it comes to Bigfoot, for instance, it’s easy for skeptics to laugh at “gullible types” who credulously accept such stories without question. Yet in the cases of Piltdown Man and Archaeoraptor, evolutionist “skeptics” revealed their willingness to believe almost anything if it fit into their anti-creation worldview. What saddens us is that some Christians probably abandoned, at least temporarily, God’s Word and the literal creation it describes, thinking Genesis had to be reinterpreted in the face of such “scientific evidence.”

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