Creationists and other pseudoscientists repeatedly claim that the Piltdown Man hoax is evidence that science is inherently wrong or dishonest or both. The claims are clearly partly an attempt to try to destabilise science in the minds of the general public.
As any scientist will point out, the Piltdown Man hoax was exposed by scientists (and scientists alone).
Piltdown Man is the one that creationists really make a fool of themselves about. Even without discussing the fraud, they have claimed that there were 500 doctoral dissertations were written about Piltdown Man. It’s a fantasy world statement without foundation. There is no evidence that any PhD thesis has been written about Piltdown Man.
See this and this site at Talk Origins to see the real position.
But it’s worse than this when we look at the Piltdown Man hoax, which looks largely to have been perpetrated by a Lewes solicitor.
First, it was evolutionary biologists not creation "scientists", who discovered the Piltdown fraud. The creation "scientists" were just standing around looking stupid.
Second, many of those biologists rejected Piltdown right from the beginning, since it did not fit into the established fossil sequence. While most did not suspect outright fraud, many of them DID suspect (and argue out loud) that the jawbone and the skull simply did not belong together.
Third, the biologists (not creation "scientists") who discovered the fraud did it using radiocarbon dating – the very same ones that creationuts keep telling us are so wildly inaccurate and unreliable.
And finally, since creationists reject both radio-dating and the order of the fossil record, they have no basis at all upon which to declare that Piltdown is a fake anyway. Not only did the creation 'scientists' not discover the Piltdown fraud (remember, they were just standing there looking stupid), but they COULD not have, since they "don't believe in" the very things that led evolutionary biologists to suspect and then demonstrate that it WAS a fraud.
So please by all means tell us, Mr Creation "Scientist", since creationists reject radio-dating and the order of the fossil record, why you think Piltdown IS a fake?
Moreover, the fundamentalist creationists have a long list of their own frauds and hoaxes. At least three fundamentalist televangelists turned out to be frauds and phoneys –Jim Bakker, Tammy Bakker and the Rev Jimmy Swaggart.
Whilst it is often almost impossible to distinguish between incompetent fundamentalist claims and outright hoaxes, the degree to which creationist claims are almost universally discredited suggests that much of the movement is knowingly clutching at straws.
Amongst the better known fundamentalist scientific hoaxes are the Paluxy "manprints" (see Carl Baugh as well as Talk Origins).
Then there is the ludicrous claim of an iron pot being found in a coal seam
And a fossil whale found vertically through several rock strata. Creationists love this sort of thing because it proves, they claim, that the creature was killed in Noah’s flood. Sadly for creationists, it’s like the rest of their science. It doesn’t stack up – Talk Origins shows why.
Then there is the "Jurassic human finger". This is another Carl Baugh hoax. Check out the real facts at Talk Origins.
Then there is the “trilobite that was stepped on by a sandal" another Carl Baugh fraud. See also this Talk Origins page.
Or, how about this for utter incompetence in trying to prove fundamentalist religious opinions - "pre-Cambrian pollen". See this at Talk Origins for the nonsense being pulled apart.
We are still trying to find the source of the creationist claims that a fossilised human body has been found in cretaceous strata.