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“Widely cited study of fake news retracted by researchers”

Chuck Jackson forwards this amusing story:

Last year, a study was published in the Journal of Human Behavior, explaining why fake news goes viral on social media. The study itself went viral, being covered by dozens of news outlets. But now, it turns out there was an error in the researchers’ analysis that invalidates their initial conclusion, and the study has been retracted.

The study sought to determine the role of short attention spans and information overload in the spread of fake news. To do this, researchers compared the empirical data from social networking sites that show that fake news is just as likely to be shared as real news — a fact that Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University and a co-author of the study, stresses to Rolling Stone is still definitely true — to a simplified model they created of a social media site where they could control for various factors.

Because of an error in processing their findings, their results showed that the simplified model was able to reproduce the real-life numbers, determining that people spread fake news because of their short attention spans and not necessarily, for example, because of foreign bots promoting particular stories. Last spring, the researchers discovered the error when they tried to reproduce their results and found that while attention span and information overload did impact how fake news spread through their model network, they didn’t impact it quite enough to account for the comparative rates at which real and fake news spread in real life. They alerted the journal right away, and the journal deliberated for almost a year whether to issue a correction or a retraction, before finally deciding on Monday to retract the article.

“For me, it’s very embarrassing, but errors occur and of course when we find them we have to correct them,” Menczer tells Rolling Stone. “The results of our paper show that in fact the low attention span does play a role in the spread of low-quality information, but to say that something plays a role is not the same as saying that it’s enough to fully explain why something happens. It’s one of many factors.”…

As Jackson puts it, the story makes the journal look bad but the authors look good. Indeed, there’s nothing so horrible about getting a paper retracted. Mistakes happen.

Another story about a retraction, this time one that didn’t happen

I’m on the editorial board of a journal that had published a paper with serious errors. There was a discussion among the board of whether to retract the paper. One of the other board members did not want to retract, on the grounds that he (the board member) did not see deliberate research misconduct, that this just seemed like incredibly sloppy work. The board member was under the opinion that deliberate misconduct “is basically the only reason to force a retraction of an article (see COPE guideline).”

COPE is the Committee on Publication Ethics. I looked up the COPE guidelines and found this:

Journal editors should consider retracting a publication if:

• they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error) . . .

So, no, the COPE guidelines do not require misconduct for a retraction. Honest error is enough. The key is that the findings are unreliable.

I shared this information with the editorial board but they still did not want to retract.

I don’t see why retraction should be a career-altering, or career-damaging, move—except to the very minor extent that it damages your career by making that one paper no longer count.

That said, I don’t care at all whether a paper is “retracted” or merely “corrected” (which I’ve done for 4 of my published papers).

48 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t follow and/or appreciate “the news” but ever since i heard the term “fake news” i wondered several things.

    To name 3:

    1) Do people think “fake news” is something “new”? (i.c. has this not been happening for decades, at least in a certain way?)
    2) To what extent has “Science” (TM) braught “fake news” into this world for decades? (e.g. one year coffee is good for you, the next year it’s bad for you)
    3) Could “fake news” actually be a “good” thing if you appreciate folks being “skeptical”, and folks being able to reason, and folks being critical? (e.g. doesn’t all this “fake news” make people more aware of the possibility that what they read and hear may not be “the truth”)

    Maybe “fake news” is similar to “fake science” in that it can lead to start educating people a bit better: do not teach what to think, but how (and why) to think.

    • Anoneuoid says:

      Here is a great example of the various levels of fake news.

      The claim is that a Russian intelligence agency (SVR) was the origin of conspiracy theories surrounding the Seth Rich murder.

      Level 3:
      News that cites research by some other punitively respectable journalist without checking it
      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/russian-intel-planted-fake-report-that-seth-rich-was-killed-by-assassins-working-for-clinton

      Level 2: Original research that seems to be just poorly done or thought out
      https://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-the-true-origins-of-the-seth-rich-conspiracy-a-yahoo-news-investigation-100000831.html

      Level 1: The original source claiming that info comes from SVR, which is pure fake news
      http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2071.htm

      Anyone who inspects the original source sees there is no reason to think Russian intelligence has anything to do with that site, which seems to generate new conspiracies each day out of whatever is currently in the news. Eg, elsewhere on that site it says:

      [Note: The word Kremlin (fortress inside a city) as used in this report refers to Russian citadels, including in Moscow, having cathedrals wherein female Schema monks (Orthodox nuns) reside, many of whom are devoted to the mission of the Sisters of Sorcha Faal.]

      http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2913.htm

      And you can see the conspiracy proffered by the whatdoesitmean.com site is much different from the actual conspiracy theory they are trying to debunk (it has nothing to do with DNC leaks, etc).

      • Anonymous says:

        “Here is a great example of the various levels of fake news.”

        Perhaps it’s basically similar to (the process in) what i believe is called the “Chinese whispers” game you can play at parties https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_whispers

        And perhaps you can also compare it to something that sometimes happens with scientific citations where something gets cited over and over again, but along the way gets more and more distorted compared to the original source and citation.

        Is there a name for that already? If not, maybe it can be called “Chinese citations” (to refer to the “Chinese Whispers” thing) and added to professor Gelman’s list of funny/remarkable/interesting terms (or what’s the name for that list).

        • Anoneuoid says:

          In this case there is no telephone effect though, the claim is in the original source:

          A somber Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today says that a top American Democratic Party staffer preparing to testify against Hillary Clinton was assassinated this past Sunday

          The problem is the original source quite obviously cannot be trusted in any way, but the yahoo news “investigator” somehow did not realize this or ignored it for clickbait reasons. Then other news sites parroted the claim from there.

          You could say the claim getting published by a putatively respectable source like yahoo news is more analogous to passing peer review in academia. After that the process of telephone could begin, and as the origins of the claim get more obscured it seems more legitimate. I often see citation chains like that where all the original caveats get lost along the way.

          I’ve also seen flat out made up stuff like gene x is not expressed by cell type y, but following the citations it leads to a paper without that info. Another variant is someone speculates gene x may not be expressed by cell type y in the discussion and this later becomes fact via telephone effect. I’d bet grant proposals to actually run the study probably get rejected for “lack of novelty” at that point too.

          • Anonymous says:

            Quote from above: “In this case there is no telephone effect though, the claim is in the original source”

            Good point.

            I agree that there are differences between the “Chinese whisper” game (or what i think you call the “Telephone effect”) and your example of sources citing other (inaccurate and untrustworthy) sources without verifying things. I also think there might be similar processes at work, which is what i was focusing on in my comment (not so much the accuracy of the content).

            Your news example can perhaps be basically described as the 2nd, 3rd, etc. party not verifying the 1st party.
            My “Chinese whispers” example can perhaps be basically described as the 2nd, 3rd, etc. party not being able to verify the 1st party.

            In both cases, the message can get distorted along the way although i think that in your news example the message is more likely to be more “accurately” copied from the 1st source (even though that 1st source might be wrong or untrustworthy) compared to the “Chinese whispers” game (i think that view is also in line with your use of the word “parotted”).

            • Anoneuoid says:

              Yea, same game:
              > “Chinese whispers (Commonwealth English) or telephone (American English)”
              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_whispers

              I still say that the failure of yahoo news (et al) to recognize this claim about the SVR is unreliable qualifies their reporting as fake news. Even though they didn’t make up the story per se, just take one look at that source…

              It isn’t fraud, just extreme and egregious negligence that leads to a questionable conclusion. More along the lines of p-hacking in academia.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quote from above: “I don’t follow and/or appreciate “the news” but ever since i heard the term “fake news” i wondered several things.”

      I just came across the following and thought it was interesting and/or relevant concerning the conversation here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZVv2AOCnaA

  2. John Hall says:

    This reminds me of the distinction between manslaughter and murder. Create a separate word(s) for one of the them, like just call it an “honest retraction.” Remove the stigma on “honest retractions”.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Create a separate word(s) for one of the them, like just call it an “honest retraction.” “

      A “bad me” retraction (e.g. retraction because of fraud) VS a “my bad” retraction (e.g. retraction because of a mistake)

  3. Kerry says:

    “… if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it.
    Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…”

    Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745)

    • Anonymous says:

      Quote of the quote above: “… if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…”

      Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745)”

      This reminds me of what i think might be a big mistake some scientists seem to make, and what’s been annoying me for some time now.

      It possibly occurs when based on some scientific “findings”, some intervention, or “news” article, or other action, is being created without really thinking about what the possible negative consequenses of it might be. A short, or very long, while later the “findings”, or the intervention, or whatever, might be more nuanced than initially thought, might be “wrong”, might have been based on “bad” science, etc.

      Much damage may have been done by that time, but i sometimes get the idea that some scientists seem to think this is all part of the game, this is how science works after all: you “get closer to the truth”. What i feel might be missing in the above scenario is that this action and reasoning can:

      1) lead to all kinds of bad things, short term thinking, an over-emphasis on “science” and “scientific findings”, etc. I am more a fan of the idea to “first do no harm” (“Primum non nocere”).

      2) this action and reasoning can easily be used to demand, or justify, or actually have just about total “carte blanche” to do all kinds of things (all in the name of “science” of course!).

      It looks like it’s all scientifically sound, and responsible, but i think it’s not. You could use this reasoning to do just about anything you like, make irreversible changes in things, and then after X amount of time has passed and someone concludes that “it wasn’t such a good idea afer all” be all like: “Hey that’s science! Science is a process. Science progresses in small steps, and we are closer to the truth now FOSHO!”

      It’s quite funny, and possibly important, to watch out for this possible kind of reasoning in scientists (or “scientists”) concerning proposed interventions, or ideas, or proposals.

      • Martha (Smith) says:

        Good points.

      • I worked with a clinical researcher once, whose default was wait at least a year after a published claim before acting on it.

        I think most experienced and non-careerist scientists are like that – they know there are only two types of errors, those you have already realized you have made and those you have yet to realize you have made.

        • Anonymous says:

          Quote from above: “I worked with a clinical researcher once, whose default was wait at least a year after a published claim before acting on it.”

          I have, also due to recent personal experiences, lately been pondering about “non-action” and whether it might sometimes be better than action. This pondering has been heavily influenced by me coming across a certain translation, and interpretation, of the “Tao Te Ching”. I think i may have gotten a lot of inner peace from it (at least for a while, and in a certain way, and at certain times).

          I think something “clicked” when i read, and started to view, things as being cyclical in nature (just like the seasons in a year). I think that somehow resulted in me not “wanting to change” things in the world i do not agree with so badly, and i think it somehow made me not really care about (many aspects of) life in a certain way (but kind of in a “good” way i think).

          I don’t know how to word it properly, but perhaps it’s like having constantly been hitting a tennisball with a tennis racket up in the air, and thinking i should be (and/or want to be) doing this as long as possible without letting the ball hit the ground because that would somehow be “bad”. Maybe now i think that if the ball hits the ground, it will just bounce back up, so why should i spend all my energy hitting the tennisball up in the air and trying to not let it hit the ground. Or maybe it’s perfectly fine if the tennisball hits the ground, bounces a few times, and then lies still on the ground. And maybe now i think i don’t even want to touch a tennis racket, or look at the tennisball anymore.

          Here are 2 quotes from that translation, and interpretation: https://www.taoistic.com/taoquotes/taoquotes-05-non-action.htm

          “The sage knows without traveling, perceives without looking, completes without acting.”

          “The sage is sharp but does not cut, pointed but does not pierce, forthright but does not offend, bright but does not dazzle.”

      • Sinthetic says:

        This is way more to blame on publicists and reporting. A researcher may right a very sober cautioned paper, but the university wants publicity so THEY come up with a click-baitey summary. That usually gets even more exaggerated by the media.

        • Anonymous says:

          Quote from above: “This is way more to blame on publicists and reporting. A researcher may right a very sober cautioned paper, but the university wants publicity so THEY come up with a click-baitey summary. That usually gets even more exaggerated by the media.”

          I agree that universty press releases and the media may exaggerate things. I also reason that scientists themselves seem to conclude, and write, and say, things that i view as being sub-optimal from a scientific perspective.

          I think this blogpost has sometimes mentioned some examples of that, where it’s “just” the scientists themselves who conclude way too much on way too little in their own papers. That’s a step before the possible university press release, and media attention, if i am not mistaken.

  4. jim says:

    deep bow for Filippo Menczer + coauthors(?)

    But I don’t get why it makes the journal look bad to retract a paper – except that in this case they sat on it for a year. Itshae appenshae, even to journal editors. It’s OK.

  5. Mary Kuhner says:

    I think the choice to correct or retract *does* matter. Correction is only appropriate when one still has a reasonable degree of faith that the data are real. When that faith is lost, allowing the authors to “correct” the paper merely invites them to improve the quality of their fraud, or (if the data were irremediably sloppy but not fraudulent) to commit fraud in order to get the results needed to save the paper.

    PubPeer contains many cases in which authors proffered “new data” that was rapidly demonstrated to be unreliable as well; I’ve also seen this several times in institutional reports. But in those cases the field got lucky; if the new data hadn’t had clear red flags they might have been believed.

    A stunning example of this was a paper by Brian Wansink that was retracted due to errors in data analysis, republished as a correction, and then retracted *again* because it was discovered that, while both versions described the study subjects as middle schoolers, they were really preschoolers. The pervasive data errors were a clear red flag that the study was untrustworthy, and should have been taken as such.

    • jim says:

      IMO it’s appropriate to correct a modest or minor error. Wholesale changes to data, analysis or conclusions aren’t corrections, they’re rewriting the paper without acknowledging that the original wasn’t up to par.

  6. Lim-Smith says:

    If you will read old newspapers and popular mass circulation periodicals, especially from the period @ 1850 to @ 1920, as I often do, you will notice that fake news isn’t new. It’s very normal (however deplorable). I’m not suggesting that things aren’t going to hell in a hand-basket, just that’s it’s always been going to hell in a hand-basket. To the extent that the future resembles the past, it probably will continue to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      “If you will read old newspapers and popular mass circulation periodicals, especially from the period @ 1850 to @ 1920, as I often do, you will notice that fake news isn’t new. It’s very normal (however deplorable)”

      Oh interesting! Do you have a funny example? (perhaps with a link to it as well if there is a photo of a clipping of the news article or something like that)

      Oh, nevermind. I googled some stuff as a result of your comment and found these 10 examples of “fake news” from the past. I didn’t fact check things, and i don’t know the site and stuff like that so enter at your own risk :)

      https://www.thesocialhistorian.com/fake-news/

    • Terry says:

      Excellent point!

      I have gone through this process a number of times. It first seems like we are suffering some new outrage that has never been seen before, and after a little investigation, I find that it has always been thus.

      IIRC, before about 1870, newspapers didn’t even pretend to be objective or fair or honest. I have read horrendous things about the papers during the French Revolution.

      There are many examples, but one of my favorites is that an editor at the NYT simply made up key parts of the famous story about the Kitty Genovese murder where he claimed that “38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid.” This was in 1964, at the height of the NYT’s respectability and reputation for accuracy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese#Accuracy_of_original_reports
      (See section on “Accuracy of original reports”.)

      • Kyle C says:

        Folks.

        “Ho hum, there’s nothing new under the sun, I saw that band before it went commercial” is always a safe and savvy take, but several aspects of the Internet-driven fake news phenomenon (the actual phenomenon, not the slogan “fake news” that right-wing politicians and propagandists began throwing around) are qualitatively new. These include:

        1. The cost of setting up a “news organization” is way, way down, almost zero. All you need now is a hosted website with a convincing name, then you fill it with falsehood and stolen photos and graphics. You can easily do this from, let’s say, a hostile foreign country without setting foot here.

        2. The ease and likelihood of rubes rebroadcasting the lies are way, way greater. Facebook. Twitter. 4chan. Reddit. QAnon.

        3. Internet gullibility, a k a the “Google factor.” While astounding to people like us, a large portion of the population is more likely to believe “information” that they think they “ferreted out” by clever use of search terms, than things they hear or read in the despised mainstream (or “liberal”) media. Listen to political talk radio for a hour sometime if you doubt this.

        This isn’t like the old yellow journalism with newsies on the corner shouting “Extra, extra!”

        • Anonymous says:

          Good points when it comes to trying to make differences clear between the past and the present.

          To add to your comments, i wonder how easily “fake news” could have spread when there were only 3 tv-channels or 2 newspapers that sort of had a monopoly and had a majority of folks watching and listening and reading what they said.

          Add to that a possible more “compliant”, “gullable”, “respect authority”, and “people on tv are ‘stars'” -sentiment of the 1950’s – 2000’s (?) and i am not so sure if one thing is worse (or truly different) than the other…

        • Dzhaughn says:

          It is not a large, rather a very small proportion of the population who seriously believe in what they find by ferreting. Smaller than the proportion who seriously believe that samples pulled from talk radio are nearly random, ahem.

        • Martha (Smith) says:

          Yes, good points.

          And Anonymous’s added point (” i wonder how easily “fake news” could have spread when there were only 3 tv-channels or 2 newspapers that sort of had a monopoly and had a majority of folks watching and listening and reading what they said.”) is interesting — since I was alive (but not really paying much attention to news) when there only 3 TV channels and 2 daily English-Language newspapers in Detroit*. But I was young, so really didn’t pay enough attention to things that might have been fake news.

          * I remember when we got a fourth channel — not PBS, but CBC, broadcast from Windsor. Also, there was a third daily — but it was in Polish (except when both of the English language newspapers were on strike.).

          • jim says:

            There has always been ample opportunity for fake news.

            The period of 3 tv channels and 2 papers also had many radio stations (there are still 20-30 in Seattle), which weren’t necessarily known for news quality. Before radio and TV, a large city commonly had many newspapers. Even today there are still neighborhood papers and several free city and county papers here.

            • Anonymous says:

              Quote from above: “Before radio and TV, a large city commonly had many newspapers”

              I just thought about “fake news” before there were things like tv, newspapers, and radio.

              According to wikipedia before widespread literacy you would have someone shouting in the middle of the town square (which i found out is called a “town crier” or “bellman”). I can only imagine how kings and other people could use that to their advantage, and how “fake news” could spread via that route.

              Or what about people who traveled (or said they traveled) to distant lands at those times, and even prior to those times. These people could say all kinds of stuff about the things that they encountered there. Some of what they said could be true, some not, who knows. Almost nobody would have been able to check and verify any of those stories i would guess.

              And what about a time before that even. I can imagine tribes from the past talking amongst themselves about their enemies across the river. I can totally see how someone could come up with some story about how “that large dude from the tribe across the river” killed 22 panthers with his bare hands, which subsequently makes its way down to almost everyone in the tribe. Is that “fake news”?

              “Same sh@t, different day” perhaps, or stated differently: “l’histoire se repete” (please add the fancy stripes above some of the “e”‘s yourself because i don’t know how to do that on my keyboard).

              • Anoneuoid says:

                If you want to really go down this rabbit hole look into Poggio Bracciolini who single handedly discovered (and became rich from) most of what we know about ancient rome in the form of 1500 year old documents in backwoods monastery libraries (every single original of which has now been “lost” in the last 500 years).

                Then look into Joseph Scaliger, who’s father, Julius Caesar Scaliger, was close friends with a Marc Antony and accused of making up false histories. He also trained his son to come up with elaborate fake historical events (declamations) from a young age.

                Then there is the oddity that all European royal lines trace back to one man, Charlemagne, and there is no known lineage anywhere that stretches back to ancient rome.

              • Anonymous says:

                “If you want to really go down this rabbit hole (…)”

                I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole, but i do appreciate your comment and information!

                I never heard about any of this, and looked up the names. They all have Wikipedia pages, but a quick read through them did not reveal any clear information about their work possibly being false, or something like that, which i kind of was expecting (but please note that i quickly skimmed through the text and may have missed things).

                A google search with the words “Poggio Bracciolini fake” led to some sources that mentioned how texts were possibly copied concerniing Poggio’s work, and i even came across several scientific papers about historical forgery.

                I also came across the following which i think might be in line of what you are aiming at with your comment: there may not only be “fake news”, but “fake history” as well

                https://allthatsinteresting.com/anatoly-fomenko-new-chronology

              • Terry says:

                Then there were the chroniclers who wrote about Medieval events. They were often hired by the kings of the day and were often highly biased. Writing history about events back then is plagued by trying to piece together the facts from these sources.

                Then there were the histories of Rome written by Christian chroniclers many years later. I have heard it claimed that many of the outrageous stories about Caligula et al. trace back to these chroniclers and are suspect.

                The name Herodotus is almost synonymous with wild storytelling.

                There are at least two descriptions of Socrates from antiquity and they differ quite a bit.

              • Terry says:

                Anoneu…eieiod:

                “Then there is the oddity that all European royal lines trace back to one man, Charlemagne, and there is no known lineage anywhere that stretches back to ancient rome.”

                That came out of nowhere.

                Following on the previous points in your post, this seems to suggest that ancient Rome was mostly made up. Say what? That doesn’t sound like something you would say.

                It is intriguing, though.

                But, is it surprising? If civilization fell apart after the collapse of Rome, wouldn’t you expect royal lines to all die out and new ones to spring from random new people?

              • Terry says:

                Anoneu…eieiod:

                Nevermind. Your posts below explain what is going on.

                Sounds a bit like Intelligent Design. You can find a couple odd things and blow it up into a wild theory, but there are probably hundreds of other facts that support the traditional narrative and all those other facts would have to be fabrications too.

            • jim says:

              I just finished a great book about Marco Polo. His book about his life in the Mongolian Empire, was view with skepticism throughout europe for more than 100 years, and he was scorned for his purportedly fantastic claims during his lifetime.

              • Anoneuoid says:

                he was scorned for his purportedly fantastic claims during his lifetime.

                Was he also praised by some people during his lifetime?

              • Anonymous says:

                “Was he also praised by some people during his lifetime?”

                Legend has it, that he was so famous and well liked that whenever he yelled his first name, everyone would yell his last name back to him :P

              • Anonymous says:

                “that he was so famous and well liked that…”

                I don’t recall that at all in the book I read: Marco Polo, from Venice to Xanadu, Laurence Bergreeen, 2007 – OK not that recent. Perhaps that was so when he initially arrived…

                That book indicated that although he achieved some renown and substantial wealth, as he aged his claims about china and his book were mocked and derided, even though subsequently it’s been shown that the book was quite accurate on most issues.

                I guess my point is that sometimes real news is derided as fake news

              • Anonymous says:

                Quote from above: “I don’t recall that at all in the book I read: Marco Polo, from Venice to Xanadu, Laurence Bergreeen, 2007 – OK not that recent”

                One thing i dislike about me always using “Anonymous” as my name when commenting is that others can use it too, which confuses stuff :P

                I am the “Anonymous” who wrote the other “Anonymous” comments in this little thread. From reading your comment, i guess you might be the same person who used “Jim” as a name while mentioning that they read a Marco Polo book (?)

                Regardless of any of the above:

                I interpreted the comment about Marco Polo just like you concluded your comment: that sometimes real news is derided as fake news. My comment was a an attempt at being funny. If i am not mistaken “Marco Polo” is a game where there is yelling of “Marco” by one party that has to blindly find others who then have to yell back “Polo” :)

  7. Anoneuoid says:

    You aren’t going to find any serious discussion about the actual source material used to date historical events prior to ~1500 CE without digging deep.

    And yes, Anatoly Fomenko is one person who has investigated this “fake history” possibility. He got into it from a physics angle, found that the records of the time/place eclipses were reported throughout history required a new force to explain the motion of the moon. Then he learned of an alternate chronology someone had come up with (I forget who) and when he used those dates instead of the standard ones the problem disappeared. Then he made a career out of devising his own chronology.

    There are various alternate chronologies that I don’t really buy into either, but it is very interesting to see where the evidence is lacking or even discrepant with the standard one. It is something of a hobby of mine to look into this topic ever since I noticed what seemed to me like excess repetition in the stories of Ancient Roman emperors. In roughly chronological order:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Hardouin
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chronology_of_Ancient_Kingdoms_Amended
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Johnson_(historian)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Chronology_(Fomenko)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnar_Heinsohn
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_time_hypothesis

    Btw, this was pleasant to listen to: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdFLCbF1JJ6-bXYhs62F8PcnmAJCsprfe

    • Anonymous says:

      Great information and links for those that want to read and listen to it i reason!

      I don’t personally want to delve in to this all, but i hope some other people will find your links interesting and/or useful.

      • Anoneuoid says:

        Yea, it can be a big time waster.

        A google search with the words “Poggio Bracciolini fake”

        Like I doubt you would find anything useful this way, but just use common sense. How did these manuscripts he (supposedly) found survive 1500 years when no one cared about them and then all get destroyed/lost in the last 500 years when they were considered important? It just doesn’t make much sense. Maybe they aren’t really lost and there is some “collector” out there who has access to our “real” history but wants that hidden for some reason (hide a scandal, financial or political advantage, etc).

        So then you would start out by picking a document he found and try to trace the history of it. What is the oldest surviving copy, where is it, where and when did he supposedly find the original, et?. This information is not easy to find. Then think about someone should do this for hundreds or thousands of documents, and why has this not already been done?

  8. Anoneuoid says:

    Terry wrote:

    Following on the previous points in your post, this seems to suggest that ancient Rome was mostly made up. Say what? That doesn’t sound like something you would say.

    […]

    You can find a couple odd things and blow it up into a wild theory, but there are probably hundreds of other facts that support the traditional narrative and all those other facts would have to be fabrications too.

    You can find some more info here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descent_from_antiquity

    The main points are that:
    1) There are no manuscripts surviving from before ~1400 CE.
    2) Scholarship at that time was based on dogma, truth/accuracy was not valued.
    3) The vast majority of what we “know” about that time can be traced back to only a few people heavily involved in the Catholic Church.
    4) If you try to use the dates to time astronomical phenomena it requires rather exotic explanations like the introduction of new forces or large changes in the Earth’s axial tilt. Here is another interesting link (just look at figure 2): http://setterfield.org/Dodwell/Dodwell_Manuscript_1.html

    And look at what happens when evidence is found that goes against the standard narrative. Afaik, to this day no one is allowed to explore underwater in Brazil because someone found evidence for a Roman shipwreck and the government dumped silt over the site to literally cover it up:
    https://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/world/rio-artifacts-may-indicate-roman-visit.html
    https://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/25/science/underwater-exploring-is-banned-in-brazil.html

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