I recently saw this article about Professor Reiner Protsch. He taught at a German university for the last 30 years. And it turns out that his status as an expert in dating various anthropological finds is not only suspect, he has been shown to be a complete fraud. Indeed many of his “facts” were manufactured.
According to Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax, “Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago.”
It seems that in spite of “peer review” the scientific community is really vulnerable to people manufacturing “evidence” to fill in the gaps for conclusions they have already made. This is true even when their experts don’t even know how to run a carbon dating machine. And it can go on for decades. The key is that the lies have to fit in with what the scientific community wants to believe. If your lies are inside the box they probably won’t be questioned. In fact it was only when a huge amount of money was at stake that someone started doing some fact checking. Others have been challenging the “sacred cow” of peer review as being unreliable.
After I stopped laughing (because I have met more than my share of arrogant, table-pounding scientists), I realized that this is actually a sad situation for everyone. It is horrible when the truth is handled this way. It should lead the rest of us to be skeptical of what we are told, even by the “experts.” And while peer review is important, and the concept is admirable, we can’t even assume that 30 years of peer review in the “hard sciences” is fool proof. Many well intended scientists like to speak as if their pronouncements are beyond questioning, that they are the only source of pure knowledge. I would like to think that this will chasten the scientific community into a place of greater humility, but I am not holding my breath.
This is the conversation that came to mind when I read the article:
Skeptic: Do you believe in evolution?
Evolutionist: Not really. It is a fact. I believe in evolution the same way I believe in gravity. Anyone that even questions evolution is clearly a blind religious zealot with no regard for the facts.
Skeptic: Why do you say it is a “fact?”
Evolutionist: Besides the obvious reality that the vast majority of scientists believe it, there is all the evidence. It is incontrovertible. Let me give you some examples….
Skeptic: So since you believe in evolution because of the evidence, if the evidence changed, or it was found to be incorrect or falsified, then obviously you would change your position that evolution is a fact.
Evolutionist: Well… not exactly. I might change what I believe about how evolution happened, but not THAT it happened. It is undeniable that all living creatures descended from common ancestors.
Skeptic: Why do you say that it is “undeniable that all living creatures descended from common ancestors” by evolution?
Evolutionist: Because of the evidence.
Skeptic: So if you learned that the much of evidence that lead you to believe that “all living creatures descended from common ancestors” turned out to be totally incorrect, or worse an intentional lie, you would still believe it anyway? You wouldn’t be willing to rethink your conclusion? You would just rearrange some of the details? Is there any finding that would urge you to rethink your position?
Evolutionist: Why do you hate science?