Scientific Frauds

Ten frauds of science, including the infamous peppered moths – the faked ur-example of natural selection. Here’s my favorite:

In the early 18th century Dr. Johann Beringer of the University of Würzburg devoted his research to the discovery of fossils that seemed to indicate prehistoric life. Beringer, however, believed that these fossils were “capricious fabrications of God,” used to test man’s faith. His belief seemed confirmed when at one site he discovered fossils of birds, beetles, moons, and stars. Little did he know that two mean-spirited colleagues had planted the fake fossils. Perhaps trying to get caught, they even planted tablets inscribed with the Hebrew and Arabic words for God. Beringer published a book, Lithographia Wirceburgensis, in 1726 describing his findings and his theory. But then he made another discovery: a similar buried tablet inscribed with his own name. He immediately began trying to buy back all the available copies of his book, but it was too late. Because of the hoax, his book became a bestseller.

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