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Groupthink: the Search for Archaeoraptor as a Metaphoric Tale

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Groupthink: the Search for Archaeoraptor as a Metaphoric Tale
Background
Common elements
Misunderstanding composites: imposing a desired pattern on the evidence
Archetypal twist: bird-like dragons
Conclusion
References

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Introduction

The Archaeoraptor fossil hoax provides interesting learnings of how the best and the brightest can be lured into false conclusions through improper handling of evidence. It concerns the purported discovery of a bird-like dinosaur -- a much sought "missing link". The story of this particular hoax has many elements that are instructive for those exploring the controversial boundaries between "freedom fighters" and "terrorists", notably in the light of the evidence collected by the intelligence agencies against networks such as al-Qaida and those claimed to be supporting them.

In the case of the fossil, the question to be asked is why the scientific community is so quick to embrace flawed evidence? And why would such a highly reputable institution as the National Geographic Society fall short in its efforts to verify such an amazing discovery? For creationists such as Charles Colson, the answer is that: "They're desperate. You see, the lack of any evidence for transitional forms is one of Darwinism's dirty little secrets, and some scientists would do just about anything to keep it a secret--even to the point of fabricating evidence" [more]

But the larger question is why this same pattern of thinking may be reflected in the approach to evidence regarding the relationship between terrorists and the historical figures in every country that -- after independence -- are presented as heroic freedom fighters. There are many ironies to the pattern between the two stories.