Saturday, 3 May 2008

stupid finger story

If you live in the UK, you can't have failed to notice the story of a man in the US who claims to have severed a large part of his finger and used 'pixie dust', created by his brother's biotech company, which caused it to grow back. Similarly, if you saw the story you should have known immediately that it is complete nonsense.

It is obvious that the photographs included in every story were designed to be misleading. If you look carefully, you can clearly see that only the very tip of the finger is missing. This is an exceedingly common injury, which routinely heals. There are various dubious aspects to the story, of course, but for the most part, the major newspapers and broadcasters applied absolutely zero skepticism and reported the story more or less exactly as it came to them on the wire. It is interesting to note that in every case I have seen, the article was written not by a science or medical correspondent (who were presumably protesting that it was nonsense) but by non-specialist journalists.

Anyway, the point is that the story is not just nonsense, but isn't even a story at all. It describes the ordinary healing of a very common injury.

More information at badscience:

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