Wanting to believe

Sometimes, the extent to which people see what they wish to see seems truly remarkable. However, we shouldn’t be surprised that this very human affliction affects even those with a training or long practice in observation and logic. An article in the Observer this Sunday discussed one of the more famous cases of a forgery convincing those who wanted to be convinced. This was the 1912 archaeological hoax known as Piltdown Man, which seems to have been accepted as genuine by a number of experts largely because they really wanted to be able to put both British archaeology and early British inhabitants on the map. It is not the only example of such wishful thinking. [Read more]

About Rebekah Higgitt

Rebekah Higgitt completed a PhD in the history of science at Imperial College London in 2004 and did postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh. Since 2008 she has been Curator of History of Science and Technology at the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Her research and publications have mainly focused on scientific institutions, scientific biography, history of science and the relationship between science, government and the public in 19th-century Britain.
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