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4 science charlatans whom no one could expose for a long time
4 science charlatans whom no one could expose for a long time

Where there is money, there will be impostor specialists and various truth gurus. In science, this happens more often than we would like, and all kinds of falsifications are now and then presented as a new word in science. Sooner or later, of course, the truth triumphs, and yesterday's discoverers fall into the list of charlatans.

Diederik Stapel: a visionary from psychology

One of the loudest scientific scandals of our time is associated with one of the most high-profile scientific names in the field of psychological research - the Dutchman Diederik Stapel. In 2011, a series of his high-profile experiments were questioned. The slipway not only could not prove that he had conducted them, and show the raw data on the participants, but also - to walk like that - said that almost all of his famous studies since 2002 were falsified. Moreover, many scientists have relied on these studies, they managed to enter textbooks and tried to orient themselves on them when organizing the social policy of the authorities of different cities around the world.

So, for example, in one of the "studies" it was concluded that a person begins to behave more decently from the mere thought that he will have to go where he will have to observe etiquette, and in another - that the power makes people stricter and more lenient towards others to yourself. Even if this is true, it turns out that it has yet to be proven. But it may well turn out that such ideas are just very tempting for us, so we want to believe in them.

Stapel had some data at hand for everything in the world, so that he was even nicknamed the Master of Data

In addition to falsifying the research itself, Stapel generously shared all sorts of fictitious data with psychologists around the world so that they could make their analysis and conclusion. It turns out that a lot of scientific works were based on numbers sucked out of the finger. This cancels all the seemingly forward movement of psychology that has been observed in the field of the study of collective interactions. We will have to re-conduct - now for real - a lot of experiments, spend money on reissuing textbooks, and specific individual psychologists - to rewrite their scientific works and re-confirm their diplomas.

Shinichi Fujimura: Stone Age Master

The amateur archaeologist Fujimura seemed to have a real nose for various antiquities. Taking him to excavations for Japanese professionals from science was like a good sniffer dog: nothing will pass him by. Thus, Fujimura contributed to the amazing discoveries in the Neolithic region of the Japanese islands, over and over again excavating or showing other archaeologists various kinds of artifacts in the ground. Some he discovered in his own expeditions, without scientists. He was even nicknamed "divine hands" because he was so lucky. Many of his discoveries have been included in the latest Japanese history textbooks.

For a quarter of a century, Mr. Fujimura kept the public and the scientific community in constant admiration, until some savvy journalists posted a photo of an archeology star personally burying artifacts in the ground the day before their official - and very joyful - find. Fujimura did not even bother to deny, he was so stunned at how he was caught. For a long time, a special commission with Japanese meticulousness examined the artifacts found by the wonder amateur, and found several real ones. Hundreds were fakes. Textbooks had to be rewritten at public expense.

Due to the revealed deception, the shadow of suspicion fell on one of the scientists, who several times collaborated with the forger, Professor Mitsuo Kagawa. According to Japanese custom, he immediately committed suicide, but in a suicide note insisted that he was innocent. As a matter of fact, no one in the scientific world blamed him - these were only speculations of journalists.

Fujimura admits to his many years of deception

Alexander Eliseev: what do we know about the gypsy gods

In the nineteenth century, when gypsy studies was a young science and was just beginning its path, the scientific world was shaken by a tremendous value find: the notes of a wandering doctor Kunavin. They contained 123 folk tales, 80 legends, 62 songs and more than 120 various small works of gypsy poetry. From them it was more than clear that the gypsies still worship Indian gods, only their names have changed slightly over the centuries. The texts were also interesting in terms of studying the main cross-cutting plots, language, worldview of the Roma. Considering how meager the luggage of gypsy studies was at that time - it was replenished, perhaps, three or four times!

However, nobody could find Kunavin himself. The notebook with his notes was presented to the Russian Geographical Society by the doctor and traveler Alexander Vasilyevich Eliseev, known for a number of his own valuable notes about Muslim countries. He had already managed to create a name for himself in scientific circles, so that his discovery was taken with due seriousness.

Nobody expected tricks and fakes from Alexander Vasilyevich Eliseev, a real researcher

Alexander Vasilyevich said that Kunavin treated gypsies in all parts of the world for free and gave this occupation thirty-five years, having entered into complete confidence in this people. However, he either did not know, or simply did not think that a number of serious works on the topic of the Roma - their language and folklore, had already been published, and almost everything that was described in the Kunavin notebook contradicted what had already been discovered. Starting with the fact that the gypsies did not speak the same dialect in any part of the world. Pronunciation of the word differed, a set of borrowings from the surrounding peoples, idiomatic expressions … Very quickly, scientists came to the conclusion that Eliseev presented an outright fake from some of his romantic movements of the soul, but his work - after all, it was released by a once respected member of the Russian Geographical Society - no, no, yes they are still citing. In this respect, the "Kunavinskaya Notebook" is constantly compared with the "Veles Book" or "Zelenogorsk Manuscript", a falsification of the 19th century Czech Slavophile Vaclav Hanka.

George Salmanazar: Professor Nothing

However, Shalmanazar, an eighteenth-century adventurer, went further than that: he did not invent folklore, ancient or new, for the existing people. He came up with it right away with the people. Although he started out as just a Japanese: he said that he had studied Latin well and decided to serve in some European army. However, about a year later, he emerges in England as a native of the mysterious Asian island of Formosa, kidnapped by the Jesuits. unknown so far) approached with enthusiasm. He ate only raw meat, though, for safety, he had properly seasoned it. I slept sitting next to a lighted lamp. The mysterious Asian was invited to visit, and he entertained the owners of the best houses, talking about life in Formosa. For example, about the fact that men there go naked, with only gold and silver shields on their genitals, but women are wrapped from head to toe (needless to say that the ladies around Shalmanazar sported deep cleavages and arms open to the elbows while the gentlemen walked with wrapped necks and even covered the bases of the hands with lush cuffs).

The society of that time found piquant and funny the stories of Shalmanazar that Formosan men have the right to use their wives for infidelity for dinner, and that the killers are hung upside down and compete in archery on them, trying not to kill them too quickly. And then the audience was horrified, listening to how twenty thousand little boys are sacrificed to the gods every year. Is it surprising that polygamy reigned in Formosa! After all, so the male sex will not be enough!

Shalmanazar long and successfully passed himself off as an Asian

In general, very soon, Salmanazar was invited to lecture on the culture, history and language of Formosa, as well as translate some spiritual texts into the language of a distant island.Of course, some people had questions for the mysterious foreigner. So, one priest asked how an Asian can be a white-skinned blond - and received the answer that only commoners are dark-skinned and rough in appearance, and the nobility lives their whole life in underground dwellings. Astronomer Halley tried to catch Shalmanazar in ignorance of the features of tropical lands and asked if the sun was shining on Formosa through the chimneys of houses. The impostor calmly said: "No", but from Halley's reaction he realized that he had missed, and immediately added that the pipes on the island were directed towards the ground.

In the end, Shalmanazar found his true place. He learned Hebrew, confessed to falsifications and imposture, and made a normal scientific career out of his knowledge of Old Testament Hebrew. The public appreciated both the elegance of the adventure and the real scientific work, so that Salmanazar received something like a pension from his fans all his life. By the way, behind the word Formosa was hiding … Taiwan. And the impostor, describing him, did not guess at any point.

Adventurers are not only posing as scientists - Two of the most infamous surgeons: The Graduated Butcher and the Imposing Genius.

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