Every iteration of Star Trek has their not-so-stellar episodes. A legendarily cheesey hour of television that has become a classic episode in its own way. For the original series, that episode was “Spock’s Brain,” in which a group of space amazons remove the Vulcan’s brain and use it to power their planet. For The Next Generation, it was an episode where Dr. Crusher has a steamy affair with an Irish space ghost.And for Star Trek: Voyager, season two’s “Threshold” is considered the hilarious “wtf?” episode of the series. And now it’s considered science?
In this episode, Captain Janeway and Lt. Tom Paris break the until-now unbroken warp 10 barrier, and then find themselves rapidly evolving into amphibian creatures, who then go down to some planet and mate. Don’t worry, they get better by episode’s end and keep on trekkin’ … even if things are very awkward on the bridge afterwards. ‘
According to Space.com, we’ve now learned that an anonymous scientist, going by the name “BioTrekkie,” was looking to show the world just how easy it was to get a completely phony story a into a well known scientific journal if you shell out the right amount of money, even one that is supposedly peer-reviewed. The paper, which was named “Rapid Genetic and Developmental Morphological Change Following Extreme Celerity,” was basically a retelling of the infamous episode, with slightly different wording.
Well, sometimes they used different wording. Our BioTrekkie left in fake science terms like “warp speed” and other obvious clues like character names in hopes of having someone call his bluff, but no one did. It was ultimately accepted by no less than four different journals, and actually published in one, American Research Journal of Biosciences. In some journals, as long as you pay a fee, you get in. So much for standards.
The American Research Journal has now of course pulled the paper from their website, ever since they got exposed. It seems even in the world of science publishing, the era of proper checks and balances has gone by the wayside. In an era when we hoped at least things like scientific journals could remain immune from the amount of disinformation running rampant in our culture, this is more than a little disappointing –even though the fact this happened at all is also kind of hilarious.
What do you think of this somewhat preposterous story? Be sure to let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.