I’ve just re-read a book about Piltdown Man, the second-biggest scientific hoax in history (the biggest being Man-made Global Warming, by a long shot). For those of you too young to have heard of Piltdown Man, it was supposedly a “missing link” ape-man fossil discovered in England in 1912. Scientists were overjoyed–this was just the kind of missing link they were looking for and fully expected to find. Into the textbooks it went; but by the mid-1950s it was conclusively proved to be a hoax. Some mischievous soul took a modern cranium from a medieval graveyard, an orang-utan jaw, filed down the ape teeth to make them look more human, stained the bones, and planted other fossils around the site to make it look convincing.
How can you write a whole book about the Piltdown hoax and conclude with words like this? “…We are in no doubt about the reality of the transformation which has brought Man from a simian status to his sapiens form and capability.” But when one of your prime exhibits is revealed to be a big fat phoney, I’d say that opens up some room for doubt–wouldn’t you?
Creating fantasy is fun, and can be put to constructive uses. It’s when you start believing in your own fantasies, that you created, that you get in trouble. The fact that the Piltdown Hoax (the perpetrator has never been identified) made fools of the whole scientific establishment never shakes the author’s faith in the Darwinist fantasy.
What would we think of some Tolkien enthusiast who said, “We are in no doubt of the existence of Dragons, Hobbits, and Ents”? But Tolkien never tried to pass off his fantasies as reality.
If only they’d tried a little harder with the Cardiff Giant, they probably could’ve gotten him into the science textbooks, too.