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Top 10 Science Hoaxes


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 18, 2002
Interesting Grauniad article - some controversial picks ;) :

1. Piltdown man

2. Tasaday tribe

3. Crop circles

4. A twin-based IQ study

5. Bell Labs

6. Roswell alien autopsy film

7. The lying stones (lügensteine) of Würzburg

8. Free energy - lumps in cold fusion and energy from water.

9. Vernalisation

10. Krypton producing elements 116 and 118


Anyone got any better ones?

I thought that those two crop circle fakers it refers to actually turned out to be lying?:confused:
I wouldn't put in Crop Circles and the Roswell fim as scientific hoaxes...the Roswell film is IMO a blatant attempt to cash in on the Roswell legend and no-one with any scientific credentials and no serious paranormal investigators/UFOlogists were taken in.

Crop Circles aren't really a scientific hoax either, IMO the simple circles could be a the result of a of natural but unusual meteorlogical effect. Terence Meaden's plasma vortex explanation never really found its way into the scientific orthodoxy.
Some are hoaxes, but they're aimed at people who like weird shit. What the complex ones that are now appearing are...they're not really hoaxes, more an art form.

For a possibly genuine hoax, or fraud I'd nominate Kammerer's work on the midwife toad, which was supposed to show that acquired characteristics could be inherited, but was actually the result of injecting ink under the toads skin.

If remember Kammerer denied fraud (must read Koestler's book again) and claimed that his work had been sabotaged to discredit him.



Jima, you're right I remember it being suggested that if the two old boys who claimed to have made the circles weren't lying, they were not the only circlemakers.
Prince Charles' disappearing video? (oops)
Or mabe the Patterson Bigfoot film although there are conflicting views as to it's authenticity.
What about the chap at Bell labs who did all the work on Fullerenes as super conductors. Took in everyone and was being touted as the greatest young material scientist in the USA until someone spotted he was publishing two papers a week.

I could also site a thousand medical trials where the experiment, funded by the drug company, found out that the drug had beneficial effects….. surprise.

Would these two come under hoaxes or fraud?