Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Among the points made on Hirhurim

against R Shternbuch's position is that science is a neutral methodology. But on the other hand, R Shternbuch does have a point about having to trust the practitioners, who may not be neutral. Consider the following story, via WoldNetDaily.
Anthropologist resigns in 'dating disaster'
Panel says professor of human origins made up data, plagiarized works
A flamboyant anthropology professor, whose work had been cited as evidence Neanderthal man once lived in Northern Europe, has resigned after a German university panel ruled he fabricated data and plagiarized the works of his colleagues.

Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a Frankfurt university panel ruled, lied about the age of human skulls, dating them tens of thousands of years old, even though they were much younger, reports Deutsche Welle.

"The commission finds that Prof. Protsch has forged and manipulated scientific facts over the past 30 years," the university said of the widely recognized expert in carbon data in a prepared statement.


Among their findings was an age of only 3,300 years for the female "Bischof-Speyer" skeleton, found with unusually good teeth in Northern Germany, that Protsch dated to 21,300 years.

Another dating error was identified for a skull found near Paderborn, Germany, that Protsch dated at 27,400 years old. It was believed to be the oldest human remain found in the region until the Oxford investigations indicated it belonged to an elderly man who died in 1750.


Chris Stringer, a Stone Age specialist and head of human origins at London's Natural History Museum, said: "What was considered a major piece of evidence showing that the Neanderthals once lived in northern Europe has fallen by the wayside. We are having to rewrite prehistory."

"Anthropology now has to revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 B.C.," added Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the University of Greifswald.

Frankfurt University's president, Rudolf Steinberg, apologized for the university's failure to curb Protsch's misconduct for decades. "A lot of people looked the other way," he said.
Read the whole thing.

Now, presumably there is other research showing the existence of early humans, not by Protsch. But that people looked the other way when he falsified data, and the fact that he did, does partially serve R Shternbuch's point. And the fact that they have to revise the picture, and rewrite prehistory, because now the context has now changed, shows how much theories rely on other theories, which may at some point be flawed.

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