The science side of humanities was rocked this month by the exposure of three hoaxers. I won’t publish their conclusions or anything, because that’s not really the point of this post, but you can find their nonsense here. The whole impetuous for their shenanigans was bullshit, from start to finish, in my opinion.
What basically happened was these three found out about a study they didn’t like. In an effort to undermine the field that study came out of, as well as undermine the humanities in general, these hoaxers put out 20 fake papers to academic journals to see if their nonsense could make the cut. Sadly, four were published. It happens sometimes.
On the other hand, it did get me thinking. For the whole course of human history, before science as we know it today was discovered, anecdotal evidence and hearsay was how we generally found some semblance of fact about the world and each other. The world was flat because that’s what our own eyes saw, the stars were the lights of some heaven because we couldn’t see more than those tiny pinpricks in the blackness. Deformities had to be a curse and queerness was from an evil spirit, instead of illness and genetics, respectively.
Science didn’t exactly change the impulse to start with what we thought our own eyes saw and fit the facts to it. I’m sure, in the vastness of the universe, that other species on distant worlds have the same issue. Or that we won’t conquer our problem with false conclusions in even the far future.
Perhaps some alien version of anti-vaxxer exists, based on a lie or false premise perpetrated by a researcher. That someone discovers a long-standing accepted fact is upended once others give a hard, long look at said fact and finds there was something very wrong in the data or the researcher. Whether the fact is because of a nefarious mind or an accident.
A little idea for an enterprising author that might amount to a big plot.
Science in the pursuit of Fiction.