honesty in science is a big thing, but scientists are alas human too.
Piltdown Man, if it weren’t a hoax, would indeed have been a big find. Dawson knew, as De Groote and colleagues note, that “the British scientific community was anticipating in a missing link between apes and humans: a large brain, an ape-like face and jaws, and heavily fossilized materials that indicated great antiquity.” Dawson quite simply gave scientists the evidence that they wanted.
But the fraud has a religious aspect too: NO, not evolution (catholics have posited evolution as the way God created things was an acceptable theory of how things came to be goes back to St Augustine, albeit the "blind" version of Darwin is not accepted). The religious link is that one of those involved in the find went on to preach a new religion of man evolving to a higher power that has infiltrated some in Catholicism. More at my bitch blog about this.
But anyway, one of the lesser known facts is that guess who was part of that discovery? Yes, our friend Pierre, beloved of new age nuns and heretics. from Wikipedia:
In June 1912 he formed part of the original digging team, with Arthur Smith Woodward andCharles Dawson at the Piltdown site, after the discovery of the first fragments of the (fraudulent) "Piltdown Man", with some even suggesting he participated in the hoax.
he later went on to help with other digs, including that of the Peking man, a fossil that has also disappeard, albeit unlike Piltdown man, is consistent with other finds of homo erectus.
The Penn Museum has a good lecture on the hoax:
my comment is that Christians are never really surprised when great leaders fall from pride, and that wolves in sheep's clothing fake religion to get rich and powerful, but science and the new atheists tend to overlook the sins of their own.
Which is why they point out the 30 years war and ignore the genocides of Mao and Stalin in the name of scientific Marxism