This is a corrective essay on the truthfulness of Conservapedia's article on Piltdown Man. CP's article contains quite a few errors and misconceptions, some of which seem intentional based on the ideology of the site to paint evolution and evolutionists as evil and corrupt.
|Conservapedia's Text||RationalWiki's Response|
|The Piltdown Man hoax used a medieval skull combined with a lower jaw from an orangutan and teeth from a chimpanzee, which were then placed in a gravel pit in the village of Piltdown, England. The bones were stained with chromic acid and an iron solution, creating the crude appearance of an old age. The Piltdown Man was publicized as the "Missing Link" between man and ape-like species, which eluded (and still eludes) promoters of evolution.||It is the last sentence here that is problematic. Those who publicized Piltdown Man as the "Missing Link" were those who wanted England, not nations of Africa, to be the location of the evolution of man. Much of the biology world still did not acknowledge that Piltdown Man was a valid fossil, and the discovery of Raymond Dart's Taung Child a decade later proved that man's ancestry did originate in Africa. As far as the "Missing Link" eluding biologists, the evidence concludes otherwise. Earlier Homo species, including H. erectus and H. ergaster, and earlier hominids, such as Australopithecus africanus and A. afarensis, are definitely intermediate species between humans and the last common ancestor between humans and chimpanzees.|
|The Piltdown Man was one of many frauds perpetrated by promoters of the theory of evolution. This particular fraud was taught to an entire generation of students worldwide from 1912 to 1953, when it was conclusively proven to the public to be a hoax. The Piltdown Man was featured in A Civic Biology, the textbook at issue in the Scopes trial in Tennessee. Darwinists officially announced the Piltdown Man to be authentic and gave it a formal name: Eoanthropus dawsoni. This name honored the person who claimed to have found it, Charles Dawson. The British scientific establishment largely supported the validity of Piltdown Man.||It's hard to understand what these "many frauds" are, since they're not referenced.
It's also dubious that the world was taught of something embraced almost entirely by England. Again, no references given.
CP makes the correct claim that Piltdown was proven to be a hoax in 1953, but from its beginnings its origins were already questioned. From Wikipedia:
|Creationists believe that the Piltdown man was not an isolated incident of bad judgment by evolutionists and that the examples of the Nebraska Man, Java Man, Ocre Man, Neanderthals, and Flores Man can be cited. However, many evolutionists were more than happy to see Piltdown man leave the pantheon of evolutionary ancestors, as they viewed it as an anomaly which did not fit in with the rest of their research.||Nebraska Man, from Wikipedia:
"Java Man," though initially miscategorized, is nothing more than Homo erectus. At best, the argument could be made that a taxonomical error was made, but the find is not a hoax or fraud.
"Ocre Man" doesn't seem to exist. Perhaps this is a fraud of Conservapedia?
H. neanderthalensis is not a hoax. They are the best known hominid cousin, and are sometimes designated as a subspecies of H. sapiens instead.
H. floresiensis is a legitimate find in Indonesia, but its true designation in taxonomy is unclear. More finds will help clarify whether H. floresiensis is a unique hominid species that died out recently, or if it is more of a pygmy population of H. sapiensEvolutionists were happy that Piltdown Man was conclusively a hoax because dishonesty in the scientific community should never be tolerated, and because it was not a true fossil.
|The date assigned to the bones was never based on the bones at all, but rather were based on testing of older material found nearby. This is partially due to the fact that modern dating techniques, like the Fluorine Absorption test, were not yet invented (and indeed, when they were, proved essential to Piltdown man's downfall). Like similar artifacts purporting to prove evolution today, there was no independent or public scrutiny of the actual materials.||Dating techniques for fossils at the time were primitive at best. There is no reason to expect that this is part of mass fraud perpetrated by the scientific community.|
|Doubts about the veracity of the Piltdown man remains can be found as early as 1922 for instance, when evolutionist William King Gregory stated in a highly technical book that he published doubts, shared by colleagues, in 1914 about whether the jaw and teeth were associated with the braincase. That 1914 journal article said that someone at the British Museum had confided to him that "a negro skull and a broken ape jaw" had been "artificially fossilized" and "planted in the gravel bed to fool the scientists." Also in 1922, a book aimed at the popular market was depicting elaborate speculation about the daily life of Piltdown Man, giving him a tool. Yet the Piltdown Man continued to be taught children in school, as in the textbook at issue in the Scopes trial.||Doubts existed almost immediately after the public announcement of Dawson's find. Charles Dawson himself was already known to have questionable finds in his past. Given these examples of doubts, CP's insistence that evolutionists around the world promoted Piltdown, rather than those limited to England, is dubious. The textbook at issue in the Scopes Trial, listed above as A Civic Biology, contains no references to Piltdown Man.|
|In 1950 it was shown by the fluorine method of relative dating that the Piltdown mandible and cranial bones were considerably younger geologically than the Lower and Middle Pleistocene fossils said to have been found at the same site. Only then did evolutionists admit that they had been teaching a fraud.||Though it was 1953, not 1950, that Piltdown Man was proven a hoax, it was earlier than this that scientists stopped promoting Piltdown Man (most scientists never promoted the fossil as a genuine hominid fossil).|