Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

And Then There Are These Claims…

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on April 14, 2009

So, as skeptics, we evaluate evidence and come to a provisional conclusion. Sometimes, we’re told a story and we simply don’t have the evidence to come to a conclusion. This is often the case with ghost stories and alien sightings, though to date, most skeptics agree that there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support a belief in either.

What do we do if such a story is on the news? Mosnews from Russia reports that a man was taken to the emergency room complaining of severe chest pain and coughing up blood. Suspecting cancer, surgeons performed a biopsy and found not a tumor but a tree. Or a least a sapling… a young fir 5cm long was growing in the man’s lung.

That’s the story. The evidence… needs some discussion.

Is this a believable story? Can a tree grow in a man’s lung?

There’s a photo on the site of some bloody tissue with what looks like a tree in it. Now, how do we know whether to believe this story or not?

We have:

A photo of tissue (lung tissue? scar tissue?) with a branch in it (grown? placed?)

A report from a source I’d never heard of before. (Discover got the story from the same source)

Alternate explanations (hoax)

We don’t have:

Motivation for a hoax

An explanation for how a tree could grow in a lung


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