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The Greatest Scientific Hoaxes?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the april-fools-one-of-the-best-holidays dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 496

Ponca City, We love you writes "The New Scientist has an amusing story about the seven greatest scientific hoaxes of all time. Of course, there have been serious cases of scientific fraud, such as the stem cell researchers recently found guilty of falsifying data, and the South Korean cloning fraud, but the hoaxes selected point more to human gullibility than malevolence and include the Piltdown Man (constructed from a medieval human cranium); a ten-foot "petrified man" dug up on a small farm in Cardiff; fossils 'found' in Wurzburg, Germany depicting comets, moons and suns, Alan Sokal's paper loaded with nonsensical jargon that was accepted by the journal Social Text; the claim of the Upas tree on the island of Java so poisonous that it killed everything within a 15-mile radius; and Johann Heinrich Cohausen's claim of an elixir produced by collecting the breath of young women in bottles that produced immortality. Our favorite: BBC's broadcast in 1957 about the spaghetti tree in Switzerland that showed a family harvesting pasta that hung from the branches of the tree. After watching the program, hundreds of people phoned in asking how they could grow their own tree but, alas, the program turned out to be an April Fools' Day joke." What massive scientific hoaxes/jokes have other people witnessed?

cancel ×

496 comments

E-Meter? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532863)

What massive scientific hoaxes/jokes have other people witnessed?

E-meter [wikipedia.org] comes to mind.

Biggest scientific hoax of them all... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533101)

Global Warming. On wait, it's "Global Climate Change" now.

Re:Biggest scientific hoax of them all... (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533171)

While we're at it, Atlanta Nights [wikipedia.org]

Mod abuse alert - parent up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533653)

This is mod abuse, pure and simple.

Re:E-Meter? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533213)

[This comment removed due to a copyright violation of the Church of Scientology.]

Re:E-Meter? (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533629)

This would be worth mod points. I needed a good chuckle.

That's a fraud, not a hoax. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533245)

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

you mis-spelled "polygraph" (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533451)

E-meter [wikipedia.org] comes to mind.

You mis-spelled Polygraph [wikipedia.org] . Slightly more important, given that, unlike E-meters, polygraphs are used in criminal investigations and employment decisions (namely, government security services) and police and prosecutors often try to get the results admitted in court as evidence.

Remember Ashley Todd, who claimed she was mugged and had a "B" cut into her face by an imaginary black dude? Cops gave her a polygraph test, but refused to release the results. Hmm, like maybe a "she's telling the truth" result, that would very publicly demonstrate what a piece of useless crap polygraphs are?

Re:you mis-spelled "polygraph" (0)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533551)

polygraphs are used in criminal investigations and employment decisions (namely, government security services) and police and prosecutors often try to get the results admitted in court as evidence.

Doesn't make them any less of a fraud

Pride Breeds Ignorance (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532891)

I saw a discovery channel special on the Piltdown Man, it was quite interesting. They had a very romantic story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle striking back at the scientific community by way of this hoax as he wished to point out just how clueless they often were [bbc.co.uk] .

Hilariously enough, it bit L. Ron Hubbard in the ass too [wikipedia.org] :

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard met less fortunate timing, listing Piltdown Man as one of the ancestors of humanity in his book Scientology: A History of Man, and describing him as having "enormous" teeth and being "quite careless as to whom and what he bit." Piltdown Man would be exposed as a hoax just months after the publication of Hubbard's book.

I am not a historian but I find it hilarious that British, German and French scientists were rejecting claims of early human fossils in Indonesia or Africa on the grounds that their pride in being the origin of life. Instead they were pointing at anything and everything they could find on their own soil as the beginning of life. What made the Piltdown Man such a great hoax is that because of the mounting tension between European super powers leading up to World War I the British were grasping for anything to prove that humans originated in the UK (which, of course, is far from true). And here was this convenient find, an anomaly in the fossil record--but who cared? The British now had evidence of early humans on UK soil with large cranial regions (which they associated with intelligence). Prime minister, we must not allow an origins of our species gap!

All this stupid pride of who stood on the birthplace of humanity blinded so many intelligent people. If I recall correctly the Piltdown Man fragments were hilariously rudimentary painted lower jawbone of an orangutan combined with the skull of a fully developed, modern man. Let this be a lesson to anyone who lets emotions, national pride & religion get in the way of science.

Re:Pride Breeds Ignorance (4, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533219)

Funny that you should mention Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (though I thought he was only suspected as being behind the hoax). If he was behind it, it would be quite ironic - while he made some members of the scientific community out to be fools, he was made a fool in an equally amusing spiritual hoax (he was quite a spiritualist).

The Cottingly Fairies [wikipedia.org] ranks up there as one of the longest running hoaxes (with some still claiming today that they were real), and ACD was a believer to the extent that he published a book on the subject, called, "The Coming of the Fairies".

Cold fusion (3, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532901)

It's such a great hoax that there are still people who believe it! :-)

Re:Cold fusion (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533175)

While we are talking about power, how about Steorn?

Re:Cold fusion (2, Informative)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533307)

While cold fusion may not work there's nothing in the Wikipedia article, at least, to indicate that it was a hoax. Perhaps Pons & Fleischmann could have been more rigorous in their methodology and waiting for other labs to reproduce their results certainly would have been a good idea. there doesn't seem to have be any malice on their part to perpetuate a hoax. Sloppy science or perhaps not accounting for all the possible ways energy could be leaking into the system certainly, but it does not appear to be a hoax.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cold fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533475)

I've one even better. The Female G-Spot. As we all know here at slashdot, women do not exist (beyond the ones that James Tobias Kirk sex'd up). If women are not real, there could never be a magical pleasure button to find!

Intelligent Design? (5, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532903)

But, then again, I guess its not actually science...

Re:Intelligent Design? (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533041)

No, it isn't science, it's philosophy and as such isn't a hoax.

Re:Intelligent Design? (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533161)

No, it's fiction attempted by some to be passed as fact. Therefore a hoax.

Re:Intelligent Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533173)

Philosophy is a form of science, so no, ID definitely is *not* philosophy. More like idiocy.

Re:Intelligent Design? (3, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533395)

Philosophy is a form of science, so no, ID definitely is *not* philosophy. More like idiocy.

I hate to be seeming to defend ID, but a philosophical stance need not be provable, so ID can be a valid philosophy.

Of course a philosophical idea can also be a load of rancid donkey bollocks too...

Re:Intelligent Design? (2, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533371)

No, it isn't science, it's philosophy and as such isn't a hoax.

It pretends to be science, so it pretends to be a hoax, which means it isn't really one, so it is true.
Don't dare to dispute me, I remember my Mathematical Logic classes!

P.T. Barnum and the Cardiff Giant. (4, Interesting)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532919)

Barnum tried to buy the Cardiff Giant off its owners, but they wouldn't sell. So he had one of his own carved, and traveled around exhibiting it. Barnum was showing a fake fake.

Thiotimoline (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532921)

Odd that NS didn't mention the hoax that started the story, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 [wikipedia.org] where it was revealed (incorrectly of course) that Sir Walter Herschel had found evidence of life on the moon.

My favorite wasn't really a hoax; it was a humorous science fiction story by Isaac Asimov who was a grad student studying biology when he wrote about thiotimoline [wikipedia.org] , a substance that, when added to water, dissolves before it reaches the water.

The story of the genesis of this spoof was one of Asimov's favorite personal anecdotes, one he retold a number of times in print. In the spring of 1947, Asimov was engaged in doctoral research in biochemistry and, as part of his experimental procedure, he needed to dissolve catechol in water. As he observed the crystals dissolve as soon as they hit the water's surface, it occurred to him that if catechol were any more soluble, then it would dissolve before it encountered the water.

By that time Asimov had been writing professionally for nine years and was shortly to face the challenge of writing up his research as a doctoral dissertation. He feared that the experience of writing readable prose for publication might have impaired his ability to write the prose typical of academic discourse, and decided to practice with a spoof article (including charts, graphs, tables, and citations of fake articles in nonexistent journals) describing experiments on a compound, thiotimoline, that was so soluble that it dissolved in water up to 1.12 seconds before the water was added.

Asimov wrote the article on 8 June 1947, but he was uncertain as to whether the resulting work of fiction was publishable. He finally offered it to John W. Campbell, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, his preferred publication outlet. Campbell was delighted with the piece, and accepted it for publication, agreeing to Asimov's request that it appear under a pseudonym in deference to Asimov's concern that he might alienate potential doctoral examiners at Columbia University if he were revealed as the author.

Some months later Asimov was shocked to see the piece appear in the March 1948 issue of Astounding under his own name. In later years Campbell insisted that this was an oversight, though Asimov maintained a suspicion that Campbell had acted deliberately out of greater worldliness, for, in Asimov's words, "The Columbia Chemistry Department proved far less stuffy than I had feared" and his examiners effectively delivered their favorable verdict on his dissertation by good-naturedly asking him a final question about thiotimoline. In Opus 100 (1969) Asimov called the thiotimoline article "an utter success", and noted that the New York Public Library "was pestered for days by eager youngsters trying to find the nonexistent journals so they could read more on the subject".

Other Massive Hoaxes... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25532931)

Global Warming

Re:Other Massive Hoaxes... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533329)

It really is sad to see how libertarians get so blinded by their dogma that they will even reject science when it disagrees with their preconceived notions.

Human caused global warming (1, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532937)

Yes, I did go there.

http://www.globalclimatescam.com/?p=229 [globalclimatescam.com]

Re:Human caused global warming (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533207)

Stop being so honest ...

In 20 years everyone here is going to talk about how they were one of the people who doubted Global Warming and everyone else was against them, even though today they are just mindless puppets with a hand up their ass.

Re:Human caused global warming (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533415)

all 5000000 of the survivors?

Re:Human caused global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533461)

Stop being so honest ...

In 20 years everyone here is going to talk about how they were one of the people who doubted Global Warming and everyone else was against them, even though today they are just mindless puppets with a hand up their ass.

Oh wow. Greenland might be green again. Big fucking deal. It's been *much* warmer in the past. We'll survive.

Re:Human caused global warming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533437)

Your username pretty much sums up why you can safely be ignored.

Duke Nukem Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25532957)

Nuff said.

Definitely... (3, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532965)

...missing option in FA:
  • CowboyNeal

Why...this is no poll? Dammit.

What about the Lemming's film (5, Interesting)

stevew (4845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532981)

This from Wikipedia -

"The myth of lemming mass suicide is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. In 1955, Carl Barks drew an Uncle Scrooge adventure comic with the title "The Lemming with the Locket". This comic, which was inspired by a 1954 National Geographic article, showed massive numbers of lemmings jumping over Norwegian cliffs. Even more influential was the 1958 Disney film White Wilderness in which footage was shown that seems to show the mass suicide of lemmings. The film won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature."

I think this one deserves honorable mention at least!

Re:What about the Lemming's film (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533251)

The film makers chased the poor creatures off the cliff. Then again, THAT might be a film maker's hoax.

Re:What about the Lemming's film (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533253)

massive numbers of lemmings jumping over Norwegian cliffs.

That's so sad. Why didn't somebody put little parachutes on them or have a couple of them stand at the edge of the cliff and redirect them backwards? Unfeeling Norwegian bastards.....

Re:What about the Lemming's film (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533283)

+1 on that.

Especially since the lemmings were arctic lemmings, collected by schoolkids in Northern Manitoba, and the 'cliff' was south of Calgary , Alberta. Nowhere near the Arctic or even Norway. Plus, they had a little turntable that flung the lemmings off the cliff.

And people still think Lemmings are prone to mass suicide.

Re:What about the Lemming's film (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533647)

+1 on that.

Especially since the lemmings were arctic lemmings, collected by schoolkids in Northern Manitoba, and the 'cliff' was south of Calgary , Alberta.

head smashed in lemming jump? [head-smashed-in.com]

Audiophile cables (5, Informative)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25532995)

Denon's $500 ethernet cables, those $9000 "vacuum chamber" cables, etc.

Oh, this is science, not technology.
Still, they use edge cases of science to make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ off of rich fanboys.
In practice, the cable I mentioned are hoaxes.

Re:Audiophile cables (4, Informative)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533511)

Time again to post a link to Roger Russell's excellent site [roger-russell.com] debunking "audiophile" speaker wire once and for all. The "cable elevators" about 2/3 down the page (just below the $8,900 / pair speaker cables) are a personal favorite of mine. ;-)

Re:Audiophile cables (5, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533601)

A while back, my roommate at the time and I considered making an audiophile cable company ourselves, on the theory that if you can't convince audiophiles that they're wrong (and I've certainly done my part to try), you can at least make money off of them. Setup is simple enough; make a little box to put a sine wave through a cable for 72 hours as a "break-in" procedure, or cryo-treat cables by pouring liquid N2 (easier to get then you'd think) over them and letting the N2 boil off. (Care has to be taken that the cables don't shatter from heating up too fast, though I never got far enough into the plan to try it.)

I eventually dropped the plan after deciding that I wasn't quite that evil, but before that, my roommate had a discussion with one of his coworkers at the retail shop he worked at (don't remember the exact exchange, but it went like this):

Roommate: I'm setting up a cryo-treatment and burn-in service. Should make lots of money off stupid people.
Coworker: What does cryo-treatment do?
R: Absolutely nothing, but people pay for it thinking it does.
C: Sounds interesting. I might buy a few cables from you to try it out.

So my roommate had flatly stated that it's just a big ripoff, and the guy still wanted it.

The most dangerous one ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533003)

... proof given by empirical research (rather than evidence, as an explanation, if necessary).

CC.

Windows (2, Funny)

viljun (1267170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533007)

har har

Obviously (2, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533009)

Man landing on the moon. Duh.

Scientology (1, Informative)

franksands (938435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533013)

oh, since this is a Religious hoax it doesn't count? It's got "science" in the name and they pretend to explain the world in a pseudo-scientific method.

Spaghetti Tree kills me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533027)

That people would actually think the spaghetti tree was real, on april first, kills me.

But then, the flying spaghetti monster is real, so, who knows.

My favorite (or least favorite) (5, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533039)

The fraudulent research showing that high dose chemo followed by marrow transplants was an effective treatment for breast cancer. It was an experimental procedure, so insurance companies wouldn't cover it. But this study showed it worked, and it got some play in the media, and Congress actually passed a law requiring that insurance companies cover it.

Then it turns out that the researchers left out negative results which, when compiled with the rest of the data, showed a slightly WORSE outcome for this procedure. It seems that the researchers believed that the procedure SHOULD work, and since it was so important to get insurance companies to cover it, they simply modified the data to get the results they wanted.

Of course, insurance companies stopped paying for it, and the procedure isn't used, and Congress has moved onto other things. But I still need to ask: how many women had months or years removed from their life because 2 "scientists" thought they knew better than the data?

What!? (4, Funny)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533047)

No Fermat's Last Theorem?

This list is incomplete. I would provide a proof but this comment box is too small to hold it.

Re:What!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533407)

hah. How is this insightful, it's supposed to be a joke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermat_last_theorem

Re:What!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533443)

You can type beyond the comment box bounds you know...

Re:What!? (2, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533545)

Fermat's last theorem was proved by Wiles [wikipedia.org] in 1994.

Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533049)

Global Warming.

Stem Cell Research (2, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533053)

Of course, there have been serious cases of scientific fraud, such as the stem cell researchers recently found guilty of falsifying data

Unless I'm mistaken, the fraud committed in this instance was that the photos taken were adjusted in photoshop to make them clearer (i'm not sure if they were brightened or darkened), which had no affect on the actual data or conclusions of the study. Please point me in the right direction if I'm wrong.

Re:Stem Cell Research (2, Informative)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533233)

okay, here's your direction [sciencemag.org]

Re:Stem Cell Research (2, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533425)

I think we're referring to different cases [newscientist.com] .

Spaghetti tree (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533085)

Laugh at the silly people all you want, but this happened to me as a kid. Some local new station ran a story on the "donut harvest," showing people picking donuts from plants ("These raw donuts will now be sent to a plant to be glazed"). When you're a small kid and don't know anything about how donuts or other pastries are made it seems logical enough. And is spaghetti really all that different from a lot of kelp and other seaweeds that come from nature? I can see where someone who knew nothing about pasta (this is Britain, after all) could be taken in by such a story.

Re:Donut harvest (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533179)

Really?

Where?

Homer J.

Re:Spaghetti tree (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533507)

Been there are well. My primary school teacher was running a classroom team pop quiz, picking students at random, asking a question and awarding points if the answer is correct.

Teacher. "Where do we buy apples and oranges from?"

Me: "The supermarket?"

Classroom is filled with laughter ...

Teacher: After calming the classroom down, "No, the greengrocer. No points."

It still happens now. When students were asked "Where does milk come from?", many would answer, "the supermarket."

War of the Worlds (1)

Twitch42 (91037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533093)

Hard to beat a visit by space aliens.

Re:War of the Worlds (1)

Twitch42 (91037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533183)

I should note that I know it wasn't an intentional hoax. I was following the human gullibility line, but looking into it again, I guess the panic it caused was over-hyped. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Project Alpha (3, Informative)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533105)

Well, some of these hoaxes, like the hilarious Sokal hoax, weren't really scientific hoaxes moreso than exposing the idiocy of certain groups.

So, if you want to go down that route (and I see no reason not too!) then you MUST bring up the venerable James Randi.

Project Alpha humiliated a bunch of paranormal researchers and parapsychologists because of how easily fooled they were.

Banachek has a good article on his website:

http://www.banachek.org/nonflash/project_alpha.htm [banachek.org]

The most interesting thing is that some people were such True Believers in the supposed "powers" of Banachek and Edwards that they continued to believe in them even after revealing it was all just an exposé. The most important thing was that it reveals that while many scientists in this area just didn't properly account for outright fraud; I would guess it is because most experiments do not have to worry about participants purposefully trying to mess with the results.

idle.slashdot.com (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533117)

Please someone tell me it's a hoax.

I didn't think anything.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533123)

was a bigger hoax than Global Warming.

The level of CO2 has been going steadily up. The world's temperature went up in the 1990s, then went flat in the early 2000s, and has been falling steeply for the last four years. So whatever drives the climate, it's certainly not just CO2 concentration.

But you wouldn't think that to look at all the world's media and politicians. Even all the world's academics have to put a bit in their papers about global warming if they want to keep their grants...

Re:I didn't think anything.... (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533337)

>I didn't think anything....was a bigger hoax than Global Warming.

Pfffft. 'Chemtrails'. Try that one out.

Re:I didn't think anything.... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533381)

Congratulations, you successfully managed to disprove a mainstream scientific theory admitted by an overwhelmingly large scientific consensus.

To achieve this feat you have :

(x) invoked facts that are just not true without providing any way to back them up
(x) jumped to a one-line conclusion based on these distorted facts
( ) implied there was a conspiracy among the scientific community
(x) implied there was a perverse effect in the way the "system" works that explains the consensus
( ) misinterpreted the theory so that a cherry-picked anectode could disprove it

Re:I didn't think anything.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533627)

I have a way to solve the conflict over global warming here in the US: let the government buy out all current beachfront property in the US that is 10 feet or less above sea level, to be given free to people who don't believe in global warming, with the stipulation that they must live on it and can live nowhere else. No matter what it is a win-win for everyone.

What about (1)

OfficialReverendStev (988479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533181)

...global warming? *ducks*

Evolution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533185)

It was thought up by Charles Darwin and it goes something like this: In the beginning we were all fish, okay, swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So retard fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its... mutant fish hands, and it had butt-sex with a squirrel or something, and made this retard fish-squirrel, and then that had a retard baby which was a monkey-fish-frog, and then this monkey-fish-frog had butt-sex with that monkey; that monkey had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey and that made you. So there you go. You're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt-sex with a fish-squirrel!! Congratulations!

Re:Evolution (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533317)

Mod parent Insightful, or Funny or something, because... damn! Good laughs.

Re:Evolution (0)

drakaan (688386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533463)

It's rare that I wish I had mod points to spend on an AC post, but that was funny as hell. You owe me a keyboard.

well (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533189)

My ex mother in law thought I only did my Ph.D to get out of paying maintenance, does that count?

(I paid it anyway btw).

The James Ossuary... (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533193)

There are still people who wish it weren't a hoax. It's an interesting tale in the ways people will ignore evidence of the contrary when it comes to something they want to believe. The signs were obvious - found in a shop with stone cutting tools, yet ignored for years afterward...

EVOLUTION (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533203)

You know evolution is a hoax because of how viciously and violently its supporters (among whom you can count Hitler, Mao, Stalin and pretty much every mass murdering atheists of history) react when shown its falsity using actual honest to goodness science.

Here we go. (-1, Redundant)

He Who Waits (1102491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533205)

Mention of anthropogenic global warming in five... four... three...

Not too hard... (2, Informative)

Vexler (127353) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533227)

Judging from this recent /. article [slashdot.org] , perhaps one shouldn't be surprised that we are this gullible.

Does homeopathy count? (4, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533239)

The memory of water was a famous hoax, at least in France, 15-20 years ago, although I'm not sure it's exactly an hoax. Another famous hoax was when a government-appointed researcher declared in 1986 that the radioactive cloud coming from Chernobyl had stopped at the eastern French borders, and thus the official policy was to not take any of the precautions that other countries took regarding grown food or the prevention of cancer. Isn't spoon bending a hoax as well?

Madison Priest and his magic box (4, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533257)

Who can forget this guy who claimed to be able to boost the speed of data transmission across plain copper wires by 1000x, even 4x faster than fiber? [jacksonville.com] He'd "prove" his invention by apparently streaming perfect, full-motion video across ordinary modem lines, and received millions in funding. Later, it was found out that he was simply using VCR playback on a very long cable. :-)

Global warming (2, Insightful)

josyan (1395151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533261)

Not scientifically proved...

Lots of them (1, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533273)

Let's see. First of all, evolution of course. That means that astronomy, nuclear physics, geology, paleontology and archaeology are wrong too, which (among others) invalidates Quantum Theory and General Relativity.
Special Relativity may be correct since the Bible doesn't say anything about the speed of light.

Carlos Castaneda & Dan Millman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533277)

Don't know how they missed this one. Maybe they don't consider Cultural Studies sufficiently scientific. The beautiful part is that the end result is still useful reading.

Near as my rough research can tell, Castaneda's material itself is about 40-70% realistic, because he seems to have borrowed from other legitimate papers. If you go above the level of the specific plants used (de-emphasized in the later books), there are some fascinating ideas there.

Then Dan Millman cribbed his entire plot structure from Castaneda! However, he changed traditions. Instead of Old Mexican, Millman went for unsourced Buddhist (and other) parables. Millman had Castaneda to study from, and so hid under the category of "autobiographical fiction", and didn't try to swindle a degree out of it. So he ended up being about 80% authentic, to which I'd impose a 10% penalty for deliberately obscuring the source of some famous source texts.

Re:Carlos Castaneda & Dan Millman (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533309)

Blecch. That's me. Somehow ended up AC.

Anthropogenic Global Warming (4, Insightful)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533281)

Could be the biggest one of all. That or alchemy (dead) and astrology (still alive).

Color TV! (4, Interesting)

ninjeratu (794457) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533293)

One of the greatest April's Fool jokes of all time must be the one Swedish state television ran in 1962: Place a nylon stocking over your black and white TV screen and get color reception! http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipedia/Instant_Color_TV/ [museumofhoaxes.com]

Greatest Science Hoax ever... (1)

Abuzar (732558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533315)

Unquestionably, the greatest science hoax ever is this one [tinyurl.com] .

Goat Glands (4, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533321)

Nothing beats the perpetual search for...ahem...male enhancement.

The scientific pioneer was a guy around the Great Depression who made a mint selling an operation in which he would implant goat testicles into his patients, many of whom claimed dramatic improvement.

In the process he managed to revolutionize modern radio and advertising.

Linky linky: John Brinkley [wikipedia.org]

in some 3rd world countries ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533389)

this is taught in school http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism [wikipedia.org] .

human cloning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533403)

People have successfully cloned sheep, cows, dogs, cats and monkeys. They are NOT particularly different from humans folks, at least in reproductive terms. IMO, the cloning thing happened, and the hoax is that it was a hoax, some of the powers that be deciding the civilian world wasn't quite ready for it to be real.

How about (2, Interesting)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533413)

Anything mentioned on the new Fox show Fringe. [fox.com]

HeadOn (3, Funny)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533447)

HeadOn [wikipedia.org]

I almost died laughing when I woman I work with bought some at lunch.

I stopped laughing when she put in charge of operations during our busiest time of year.

With apologies to Brian Greene... (1)

FibreOptix (1028122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533455)

String Theory

Huemul Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533457)

Hi. I don't even have an account on Slashdot so I'm posting AC. This is from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :
"The Huemul Project (Spanish: Proyecto Huemul) was a secret project proposed by the German scientist of Austrian origin Ronald Richter to the government of Argentina during the first presidency of Juan Domingo Perón. In 1948, Richter convinced Perón that he could produce nuclear fusion energy before any other country based in a lithium-deuterium nuclear reaction and deliver it in milk-bottle type/size containers." ... Perón wasted lots of money on it. It was later found that it was all a hoax by Richter.
"Today, the Huemul island with the ruins of the historic facilities, can be visited by tourists. It is reached by boat from the port of Bariloche."

Al Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533493)

Where's global warming on the list?

Global Warming. (0, Redundant)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533529)

As this one is still going on and not yet accepted on /. as a hoax, I'll be modded down and pilloried for this.

Just saying [douglassreport.com] .

Cold Fusion (1)

extract (889530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533587)

Why didn't they mention cold fusion among the 7 biggest scientific hoaxes?

Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533595)

...and the claim that it's an Operating System.

I find it hard to believe (3, Informative)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533621)

That nobody has mentioned the Museum of Hoaxes [museumofhoaxes.com] , which documents all these and more. Much, much more.

The Hitler Diaries (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25533643)

While I'm suprised the word Nazi hasn't even come up yet.

bjd
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