Darwinism Education Intelligent Design Science

Astonishing duplicity continues around Haeckel’s embryos

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Romanes, after Haeckel

Readers may remember the long-drawn-out saga of 19th-century embryologist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) whose altered embryo drawings, with key stages missing, were “one of the most famous fakes in biology”—but still knowingly used a century later (See Fraud Rediscovered”). The drawings were altered to make vertebrate embryos look significantly more alike than they actually do, bolstering Darwin in the school system. Now, a friend writes to say, a recent retrospective on Haeckel provides cover for the longstanding use of these drawings (an early version of deep fakes?) in textbooks:


Ernst Haeckel’s contribution to Evo-Devo and scientific debate: a re-evaluation of Haeckel’s controversial illustrations in US textbooks in response to creationist accusations

Elizabeth Watts, Georgy S. Levit, Uwe Hossfeld

Theory in Biosciences, May 2019, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 9–29

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-019-00277-3

Abstract: As Blackwell (Am Biol Teach 69:135–136, 2007) pointed out, multiple authors have attempted to discredit Haeckel, stating that modern embryological studies have shown that Haeckel’s drawings are stylized or embellished. More importantly, though, it has been shown that the discussion within the scientific community concerning Haeckel’s drawings and the question of whether embryonic similarities are convergent or conserved have been extrapolated outside the science community in an attempt to discredit Darwin and evolutionary theory in general (Behe in Science 281:347–351, 1998; Blackwell in Am Biol Teach 69:135–136, 2007; Pickett et al. in Am Biol Teach 67:275, 2005; Wells in Am Biol Teach 61:345–349, 1999; Icons of evolution: science or myth? Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2002). In this paper, we address the controversy surrounding Haeckel and his work in order to clarify the line between the shortcomings and the benefits of his research and illustrations. Specifically, we show that while his illustrations were not perfect anatomical representations, they were useful educational visualizations and did serve an important role in furthering studies in embryology. …

[Excerpt from Introduction:] in this paper we take a closer look behind the curtains at the scientist who created the original illustrations that many of the twentieth-century images are based upon—Ernst Haeckel—and examine to which degree his illustrations have been useful teaching tools and whether or not he is deserving of the accusations he has received regarding the finesse of his illustrations. …

[Excerpts from the Conclusion:] While Haeckel was incorrect in the details regarding recapitulation, he was not wrong in thinking that the similarities among embryos during development were a key proof of the theory of common descent. His attempt to make these similarities easily visible for lay audiences attracted over a century of accusations, and yet these illustrations acted as a central visualization of comparative embryology in American textbooks until the 1950s and then as inspiration for later illustrations in the second half of the twentieth century. [. . .] Yet despite the advances in scientific knowledge and the technological means of studying embryonic development, we have not seen the same advancement in the depiction of this knowledge for educational purposes. Haeckel’s illustrative grids, despite the stylization of the actual images, provided an excellent foundation for how comparative embryology can be presented clearly to students in order to enable them to more easily understand how embryonic development provides compelling proof of the theory of common descent.


So stuff that isn’t true provides an “excellent foundation” and “compelling proof of the theory of common descent?”

Wow. What a way to make people who never doubted common descent before start to do so…

After all, one can only assume that an accurate presentation would not have supported the theory.

It’s understandable that some people would do things like this and go on doing them, and, of course, attack anyone who figures the story out and publicizes it.

The part that’s harder to grasp is why such persons are surprised when many people don’t “trust science.” Or are they only pretending to be surprised? After all, they pretend about other things.

See also: Book Review In New Scientist Discusses The Long-Drawn-Out “Lies” Of Ernst Haeckel’s Fake Embryos (2015)

and

More On Haeckel’s Fake Embryos Possibly Starring Again In The Texas School System

6 Replies to “Astonishing duplicity continues around Haeckel’s embryos

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    There are any number of events in History that share the same problem: it’s easier to teach the largely false versions in order to foster continuity than to spend the entire semester trying to explain that the USS Maine blew up from a faulty design (um, some genius located the main battery magazines right next to the furnaces for the boilers…) rather than some weird Spanish plot.
    So I assume Haeckel’s stuff will still be appearing in “science” books 50 years from now. The only thing we can do is to make sure that our own children not about the fakery and WHY it was done.

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    Aaah…. the Enlightenment must have passed you by, then, News. (cough)(cough)

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Fraudulent evidence and imaginary ‘just so stories’ are all that Darwinists have ever had:

    “Icons of Evolution” – video playlist – video
    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....94E1D66A08

    Jonathan Wells Presents Zombie Science at National Book Launch – video – 2017
    https://youtu.be/I2UHLPVHjug?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1rO4HiEiRBLalzTx-TaKYC&t=79

    Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution by Paul Giem – video playlist – 2018
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbQ1MVkUFzo&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNWmWZXX6eoBVnAjcO7JMN0X

    EVOLUTIONARY JUST-SO STORIES
    Excerpt: ,,,The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.
    Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.
    Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.
    Biologist Michael Behe observes:
    “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Michael Behe – Darwin’s Black Box).,,,
    http://www.wayoflife.org/datab.....ories.html

    “… another common misuse of evolutionary ideas: namely, the idea that some trait must have evolved merely because we can imagine a scenario under which possession of that trait would have been advantageous to fitness… Such forays into evolutionary explanation amount ultimately to storytelling… it is not enough to construct a story about how the trait might have evolved in response to a given selection pressure; rather, one must provide some sort of evidence that it really did so evolve. This is a very tall order.…”
    — Austin L. Hughes, The Folly of Scientism – The New Atlantis, Fall 2012
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-scientism

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

    As to embryological development in particular. Embryological development is far more problematic for Darwinists, as the OP makes abundantly clear, than they are ever willing to honestly admit in public. Besides the fraudulent drawings,,

    Icons of Evolution 10th Anniversary: Haeckel’s (Bogus) Embryos – January 2011 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAC807DAXzY

    There is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates: – Richardson MK – 1997
    Excerpt: Contrary to recent claims that all vertebrate embryos pass through a stage when they are the same size, we find a greater than 10-fold variation in greatest length at the tailbud stage. Our survey seriously undermines the credibility of Haeckel’s drawings,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9278154

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Besides the fraudulent drawings, we now have several other lines of evidence clearly demonstrating that embryological development is vastly different between species, Vastly different between even supposedly closely related species. As Michael Denton states, “In some ways the egg cell, blastula, and gastrula stages in the different vertebrate classes are so dissimilar that, where it not for the close resemblance in the basic body plan of all adult vertebrates, it seems unlikely that they would have been classed as belonging to the same phylum.”

    “The earliest events leading from the first division of the egg cell to the blastula stage in amphibians, reptiles and mammals are illustrated in figure 5.4. Even to the untrained zoologist it is obvious that neither the blastula itself, nor the sequence of events that lead to its formation, is identical in any of the vertebrate classes shown. The differences become even more striking in the next major phase of in embryo formation – gastrulation. This involves a complex sequence of cell movements whereby the cells of the blastula rearrange themselves, eventually resulting in the transformation of the blastula into the intricate folded form of the early embryo, or gastrula, which consists of three basic germ cell layers: the ectoderm, which gives rise to the skin and the nervous system; the mesoderm, which gives rise to muscle and skeletal tissues; and the endoderm, which gives rise to the lining of the alimentary tract as well as to the liver and pancreas.,,, In some ways the egg cell, blastula, and gastrula stages in the different vertebrate classes are so dissimilar that, where it not for the close resemblance in the basic body plan of all adult vertebrates, it seems unlikely that they would have been classed as belonging to the same phylum. There is no question that, because of the great dissimilarity of the early stages of embryogenesis in the different vertebrate classes, organs and structures considered homologous in adult vertebrates cannot be traced back to homologous cells or regions in the earliest stages of embryogenesis. In other words, homologous structures are arrived at by different routes.”
    Michael Denton – Evolution: A Theory in Crisis – pg 145-146

    Moreover, as the following paper points out, “most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,”

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....plicing%2F

    Moreover, as the following papers point out, “Alternative splicing can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes”, and “Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins,, behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other., As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides”,,,

    Frequent Alternative Splicing of Human Genes – 1999
    Excerpt: Alternative splicing can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....PMC310997/

    Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing – 2016
    In Brief
    Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,
    Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013).
    http://iakouchevalab.ucsd.edu/.....M_2016.pdf

    That is simply crushing to any ‘gene-centric’ (i.e. ‘selfish gene’) view that Darwinists may try to invoke to support their belief in common descent.

    Besides embryological development being vastly different between even supposedly closely related species, the particular biological form that any given species may take is not amenable to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution.

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    The failure of reductive materialism to be able to explain the basic form of any particular organism occurs at a very low level. Much lower than DNA itself.

    In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Since reductive materialistic explanations are a nonstarter for explaining how any organism might achieve its basic form, then that leaves a fairly big unanswered question before us. “Just how do organisms achieve their basis form?” A very big clue, via quantum information theory, as to how an organism actually achieves its basic biological form is touched upon in the following video at the 27:15 minute mark:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate (27:15 minute mark – how quantum information theory relates to molecular biology)
    https://youtu.be/4f0hL3Nrdas?t=1635

    It is not an answer that Darwinian atheists will appreciate one bit:

    Psalm 139:13
    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    Have these people forgotten that even Stephen Jay Gould wrote an article in Natural History magazine (“Abscheulich! (Atrocious). Haeckel’s distortions did not help Darwin.”, March 2000, p. 42 ff) debunking Haeckel’s drawings?? Quoting Gould:

    “To cut to the quick of this drama: Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases–in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent–simply copied the same figure over and over again.”

    Can these poor desperate souls let go of this fraudster fool Haeckel??

    P.S. For those who think themselves erudite in blaming US biologists for influencing Germany and Hitler in the ways of evolution (that always seemed like a stretch to me–and blatant America-bashing), catch another quote from Stephen Jay Gould–from the same article (and remembering that Haeckel was German):

    “Haeckel’s forceful, eminently comprehensible, if not always accurate, books appeared in all major languages and surely exerted more influence than the works of any other scientist, including Darwin and Huxley (by Huxley’s own frank admission), in convincing people throughout the world about the validity of evolution.”

    Thanks Ernst baby!

  6. 6
    Belfast says:

    As the illustration itself notes these are not Haeckel’s drawings but those of Romane a very talented biologist who extended Darwinian theory into fields like psychology, and who believed Darwin totally.
    Is it possible to get some of Haeckel’s drawings?

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