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Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

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I have posted the second video in my two part book recommendation series on the YouTube channel. In the previous video I highlighted many books that argue for intelligent design. My view is that proponents of design should face the strongest criticisms possible, and not be afraid of doing so. In line with this philosophy, in this video I talk about just a handful of the many books that attempt to refute ID. Again, I would be interested to know what others think are the best books that attempt to show ID is wrong.

Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

60 Replies to “Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Discussion doesn’t persuade. Experience persuades.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    That was a very lightweight list. It has all been thoroughly debunked.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    The argument for ID can be done in two or three sentences.

    No need for books except as evidence for the acceptance of complexity. Don’t get me wrong, the books are essential but just for the findings. The logic/conclusions to the findings are short.

    All the arguments against it are based on logical fallacies. The most common one is begging the question. Each book should be evaluated on which logical fallacies they use.

    Discussion over.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Setting aside the question of the burden of proof, which argument against ID commits the question-begging fallacy?

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    which argument against ID commits the question-begging fallacy?

    All God of the gaps arguments.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    The ONLY argument against ID requires EVIDENCE that nature can do it. Yet to reach the design inference we have already eliminated that option, for a reason.

    The Design Inference is based on our knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships in accordance with Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning.

  7. 7
    hnorman42 says:

    I read Ken Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God” shortly after it came out. I made extensive notes in the margins but then got an idea. I bought a new copy and made notes but used two different colors of ink. In one I made notes on how the text related to ID – in the other how it related to common descent. Studying this way can be highly illuminating and avoid a lot of confusion – at least for me. I may buy several of these old books and do the same thing.

  8. 8
    Sandy says:

    I would be interested to know what others think are the best books that attempt to show ID is wrong.

    There is no book that challenges ID. All these books are full with just so stories: probably, possibly, could have , maybe -not to mention having all range of logical fallacies .

  9. 9
    MikeW says:

    Seversky(4), one example is the “Bad Design Means No Design” argument, which begs at least two questions: 1. Why do you assume that design must be perfect design or even good design? 2. Why do you assume that the astronomically complex trade-offs in the design of life can be effectively analyzed by the weak mind of a Darwinist? (See COMMENT POLICY / “Put A Sock In It” for more on the “Bad Design Means No Design” argument.)

  10. 10
    asauber says:

    Put me in the camp of “I’ve been bombarded with Evolutionist propaganda since I was a young lad, do I really need more?”

    Ultimately, the show of a Fair and Balanced Approach is wasted on closed minds. An objective survey of arguments does nothing to restrain the Warriors from Beating The Drums.


  11. 11
    AaronS1978 says:

    I have decided to abandon ID and theism and go full on evolution and will now attack you all with this obviously declared refutation for all you creationists with this infallible wiki article that crushes your points of view!!!

    Now go and try to refute it because according to everyone else you all don’t understand evolution or use fallacies to argue against it

    Such as evolution is just a theory is a fallacy you levy. If the definition of evolution is a change is population genetics it’s an obvious fact

    Or thermodynamics doesn’t refute evolution you just lack imagination

    Or we have a observed speciation multiple times

    Or there are tons of transitions fossils for human evolution! Prove me wrong just don’t say there isn’t

    And arguments for the Ramifications of evolution involving the mind is not an argument against evolution because it does nothing to disprove it’s true

    Now go disprove this wiki or we are all fools

    By the way I have not abandoned ID, I’m being sarcastic

    But without resorting to the Wikipedia as just a bunch of biased assholes, can we dissect this wiki and shred some of the counter arguments that they post

    They make claims that Jonathan Wells misrepresented the pictures fetuses saying that books aren’t saying this is how evolution works but are using the pictures to show that it’s historically wrong

  12. 12
    MikeW says:

    AaronS1978 @ 11,
    All of the arguments on the wiki article you cite are easily refutable. A good first step is use precise terminology. For example, ID argues against “Darwinism”, not against “Evolution”. Everyone knows that evolution occurs, e.g. wolves evolving into dogs. ID argues that the Darwinian process of random change and natural selection cannot generate the information necessary for macro-evolution. There is a lot of evidence for ID on this point, and not a shred of evidence for Darwinism. A good exercise is to study the arguments made by ID experts on a specific point until you understand it well enough to refute the Darwinist arguments on your own. After you do this a few times, you’ll notice that the Darwinists don’t have that many arguments. Instead they fill up space with lots of repetitions of a few old and discredited arguments, which they simply restate as if they aren’t listening. In fact, that’s all they have, since all new data and observations on origins and evolution of life support ID and not Darwinism. (Some good resources are the COMMENT POLICY / “Put A Sock In It” section on this site, and the site.)

  13. 13
    Yarrgonaut says:

    Jerry said:
    “All God of the gaps arguments.”

    If ID was a “God of the gaps” argument, it just so happens to be one that is so useful to science that its language cannot be avoided in discussion of biology. Even if you were to dismiss all the arguments for ID as an attempt to argue for a “Gap filler” (I mean you do want to fill gaps with something well evidenced right? But let’s ignore that.) there simply are not forthcoming explanations for things like the information necessary for the origin of functional proteins or highly complex structures in biology not to mention other aspects of the finely-tuned universe. So there is immense utility in this “gap filler” that gives us the necessary language and philosophical ground to discuss the mechanistic aspects of biology intelligibly. There’s no point in whining about it.

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    What if there once was a smooth genetic continuum that encompassed dogs, wolves, and foxes, and then many of the in-between species became extinct due to to failure to adapt or perhaps some world-wide cataclysm?

    In any case, are you familiar with the fox domestication breeding experiments done by the Russians? If not, this ten-minute video might be interesting to you.


  15. 15
    Querius says:

    The “God of the gaps” accusation assumes that God is only to be found in the gaps, which is not true. God’s love and creativity fill our universe. Finding out how God designed things provides an amazing sense of delight.

    In contrast, Darwinism is full of gaps that are filled with words like musta and coulda, and phrases in research papers such as “not completely understood” (which means we’re baffled) or even “poorly understood” (which means we’re so clueless that it seems like it was designed).


  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    God of the gaps claims, as applied to the design inference on tested, reliable signs — such as functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information [–> FSCO/I] — are fallacious. That is, strawman fallacies loaded with accusations of theocratic hidden agendas. That, a decade after we took time to lay out weak argument correctives [see the resources tab above] they are still being resorted to is telling on the poverty and dishonesty of the evolutionary materialistic straight jacket imposed on origins sciences. For me, that cells use complex string based, 4-state digitally coded — so, linguistic — algorithmic — so, goal-directed — information systems with associated molecular nanotech execution machinery is decisive. There is no responsible, adequate blind chance and mechanical necessity explanation for that order of phenomenon, nor — given the islands of configuration-specific function in vast spaces of possible config dominated by gibberish — is there any plausible prospective blind search mechanism to account for such. KF

    PS: My High School Biology textbook used Haeckel’s diagrams in the ’70’s. Wiki et al are trying to rewrite history to erase an utterly indefensible case of manipulation under colours of education, sustained in the teeth of correction for over 100 years.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    JG, for convenience, could you list the books? KF

  18. 18
    AndyClue says:


    PS: My High School Biology textbook used Haeckel’s diagrams in the ’70’s. Wiki et al are trying to rewrite history to erase an utterly indefensible case of manipulation under colours of education, sustained in the teeth of correction for over 100 years.

    What’s the Wiki-site you are talking about?

    On we can see a reference to the usage of the drawings in textbooks:

    Late 20th and early 21st century critic Stephen Jay Gould[3] has objected to the continued use of Haeckel’s embryo drawings in textbooks.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, in the thread above, I respond to the suggestion that the objections page tries to discredit the Wells expose of the Haeckel fiasco. KF

  20. 20
    MikeW says:

    Querius @ 14:

    In the cases of foxes and wolves evolving into dogs, fortunately these days we don’t need speculative “what if” questions or Darwinian “just-so” stories. As Michael Behe explains in “Darwin Devolves”, we have the data. From detailed genetic analysis, we know that wild wolves and foxes contain all of the genetic information needed to create any of the domestic dog breeds, and that the dog breeds are created by breaking and blunting existing wolf and/or fox genes. So dogs are essentially broken wolves and foxes. Their wildness has been blunted, to make them manageable, and their hunting and food gathering skills have been blunted to make them dependent on humans.

    All plant and animal breeding follows this pattern. Wheat breeds are broken wild grasses, farm pigs are broken wild boars, purebred race horses are broken wild horses, etc. Almost all cases of Darwinian “evolution” actually devolve. For example, all antibiotic-resistant bacteria are broken from existing wild strains. There are very few examples where the Darwinian process is known to create a new biological feature. (Fish blood antifreeze may be one.) So it’s actually a stretch to extrapolate the Darwinian process from breeding even to simple micro-evolution. Stretching it to macro-evolution is laughable.

  21. 21
    AndyClue says:


    AC, in the thread above, I respond to the suggestion that the objections page tries to discredit the Wells expose of the Haeckel fiasco. KF

    On the page you’ve mentioned Wiki states:

    “In response, the National Center for Science Education notes that none of the textbooks reviewed by Wells makes the claimed error, as Haeckel’s drawings are shown in a historical context with discussion about why they are wrong, and the accurate modern drawings and photos used in the textbooks are misrepresented by Wells.”

    Where’s the rewriting of history ?

  22. 22
    Joshua G says:

    Kairosfocus (17):

    Sure. The books I mention are:

    1) Origin of Species (Darwin)
    2) Darwin & Design (Michael Ruse)
    3) Finding Darwin’s God (Ken Miller)
    4) Only a Theory (Ken Miller)
    5) Tower of Babel (Robert Pennock)
    6) Creationism’s Trojan Horse (Barbara Forrest/Paul Gross)
    7) The Greatest Show on Earth (Richard Dawkins)
    8) Evolution & Belief (Robert Asher)
    9) Intelligent Design Creationism & It’s Critics (edited by Pennock)
    10) Why Intelligent Design Fails (edited by Taner Edis & Matt Young)

    I mention that number 10 is the strongest critique I’ve come across. I’m unaware of any specific responses to that book.

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    Anti ID books.

    The Origen of Species – Darwin
    Darwin and Design – Ruse
    Finding Darwin’s God – Miller
    Only a Theory – Miller
    Tower of Babel – Pennock
    Creationism’s Trojan Horse – Forrest and Gross
    Greatest Show on Earth – Dawkins
    Evolution and Belief – Asher
    Intelligent Design, Creationism and Its Critics – Pennock
    Why Intelligent Design Fails – Ellis and Young

    Some are anthologies.

    He includes a couple other anthologies that include Dembski as one of the authors.

    My guess is that the author of the OP does not understand the logic of ID. It can be summed up in one or two sentences and doesn’t need books to understand.

    It would be interesting to see the faulty logic of each anti ID book exposed in one or two sentences. For example, Dawkins’ Greatest Show on Earth only deals with proof for micro-evolution, something ID agrees with. Some extremely interesting things can happen likely from micro-evolution or modern day genetics. However, it is no substitute for a mechanism that can explain macro-evolution.

    There is the obvious Begging the Question fallacy used by those citing a God of the Gaps argument. There is also the Stawman fallacy by associating ID with Young Earth Creationism or some other form of religion. This last rhetorical technique seems seems fairly prevalent.

    Looks like I duplicated the OP author.

  24. 24
    MikeW says:

    Joshua G @ 22:

    If “10) Why Intelligent Design Fails” is the strongest critique of ID that is out there, then the case for Darwinism is even weaker than I thought. For example, that book criticizes Michael Behe’s arguments for Irreducible Complexity, which Behe responds to strongly on his website, and in his book “A Mousetrap for Darwin”. Behe’s data and logic completely demolish his Darwinist critics. For example, Behe shows conclusively that the Darwinian process is completely incapable of creating the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum or the blood clotting cascade. And Behe patiently explains the mistakes made by the critics in their arguments, some of which would be embarrassing, even for a layman.

    Are there any other specific critiques in that book that you consider especially strong?

  25. 25
    MikeW says:

    Joshua G @ 22:

    One common stratagem of Darwinists is to ignore the responses that Behe and other ID proponents give to their Darwinist critics, and then claim that ID proponents like Behe never respond to their critics. That’s why Behe wrote “A Mousetrap for Darwin”, which is a collection of some of his responses to critics that he’s given in his websites and in articles he’s written, in order to make it harder for Darwinists to continue to make that claim. Of course, now the Darwinists simply ignore that book as well. I hope that’s not what you’re doing when you say that you’re unaware of any specific responses to an anti-ID book.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    #10 is a complete joke. The authors don’t seem to understand ID.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, present in an historical context is suggestive of half truth. To begin with, from outset, the drawings were distorted and manipulative, constituting educational fraud used to manipulate public perceptions of embryology and its relationship to alleged evolutionary history: ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. If the discussion was anything less than an expose of Haeckel, his fraud and how cases like this have been too common in this area — see, Piltdown man’s 50-year run as a second capital example — it is at best half-truth driven revisionism. For sure my HS bio textbook did NOT — repeat, NOT — do so. Likewise, I recall public education “science” documentaries at that time that used it as a matter of fact. Indeed, IIRC, a suggestion was that the human embryo was climbing the evolutionary ladder until it reached a culminating stage; I believe, this has been used in abortion promotion, to denigrate the humanity of the unborn child. I am of course open to being shown wrong, i.e. that from well before Wells wrote, the overwhelming majority of references to the drawings in textbooks and the like were as say text boxes exposing and correcting that sort of stunt. Something, however, tells me such is not the case. KF

    PS: Kindly see ENV

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    JG, thanks. I am not familiar with the full list, but note that Ms Forrest and others have long since come across as manipulative, irresponsible and too often outright deceitful. The very use of terms such as “Intelligent Design Creationism” speaks for itself, and not to commend such works or their authors, publishers, promoters and enablers. The same for slanders such as “trojan horse.” Such culture war agit prop that has fed lawfare is dishonest, shoddy scholarship and indoctrination under colours of education. Kindly note the UD weak argument correctives under the Resources tab. KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    MW, sadly, you are quite correct. KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I find a translation of an excerpt from Loennig’s 1971 thesis highly instructive:

    b) When we arrive at a place where we may temporarily be unable to progress and in this place insert God, we hinder the progress of science.

    This objection is in principle valid. As church history shows, one has often enough inserted God into places where one did not know how to continue…places, however, that later proved only to be gaps in knowledge. In such situations scientific progress had to fight against the belief in God, at least with those who believed in a direct intervention of the Creator. In order to avoid this forever, one should never assume the direct intervention of God, and even in the case of phenomena we can’t understand [even if their organization points to an intelligent cause] we must never assume such an intervention, as even these phenomena may only be “not yet” understandable.

    Although seemingly reasonable, this last conclusion is, as the following example shows, false. Let us suppose an indigenous tribe, who has never come into contact with an advanced civilization, has previously always used “supernatural powers” as an explanation for all events, but upon closer study has now regularly discovered that an “entirely natural” explanation has always been found for such events. Let us further suppose this tribe finally formalizes this discovery and asserts that “everything” must have a natural explanation, that is, an explanation consistent with their newly discovered laws of Nature. For the sake of argument, let’s insert some representatives of our advanced civilization into their region, let’s say landing with two or three helicopters, not in their immediate vicinity and unnoticed by the natives. Suppose the reason for the landing is a technical defect in one of the helicopters, whose crew is for safety transferred to another of the helicopters; the defective machine is left behind.

    The story now gets interesting: our native tribe soon discovers this strange craft and now stands before the biggest puzzle of their history. At this point their demand that “everything” must be explained using their known laws of Nature must lead to comical miscalculations. Our entire tribe begins to ponder which natural laws could have caused this strange apparatus to come into existence. At this point, we can imagine to what clever ideas the tribesmen may resort. Some specialists among them have, for example, discovered that some of the metals which they have found in the helicopter are also to be found in some surrounding mountainous regions, and sometimes even in refined form, especially in the vicinity of volcanos. Thus the “volcano creation” theory evolves. To be sure, even after hundreds of years of intensive research they still don’t know how to explain in all detail how the development of the helicopter could have happened through forces of nature, for example, volcano eruptions. But they argue, based on their previous experience, that one must not allow anything other than natural powers to be considered; because “it is methodologically impossible to consider non-mechanistical factors as explanations for the origins of an apparatus.”

    We need not carry this example further. It shows, I hope clearly, that requiring adherence to a fixed method of research can lead to great errors. The justification, that earlier we have misinterpreted a large number of entirely natural phenomena by ascribing them to “non-mechanistical” factors, does not change this. When one confronts things that in our experience always point to consciousness, intelligence, and mind, that require planning and goal-oriented ordering of material to highly integrated systems — when these things furthermore not only cannot be explained through known laws of nature but even defy known laws (such as the principle of increasing entropy), and when attempts to clarify them “naturally” raise thousands of other difficulties, then there is no longer any justification for ruling out “non-mechanistical” factors in discussions of origins!

    With regard to the dangers of interpreting mechanistical phenomena as non-mechanistically: this is a two-edged sword. The danger of interpreting non-mechanistical phenomena mechanistically is equally great. We should be on guard in both directions. In both directions we can hinder the progress of knowledge.

    Food for thought. (Including, on the significance of language barriers.)


  31. 31
    MikeW says:

    KF @ 27, I had the same experience as you in my high-school biology class. The Haeckel diagrams were presented as fact. It’s instructive to see how Darwinists continue to keep the drawings in the textbooks, then bury a brief comment somewhere in the label or text to use as a foil when they’re called on it. They know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that the lasting effects of the diagrams overwhelm any brief comments. Their science is atrocious, but their propaganda abilities are considerable.

  32. 32
    AndyClue says:


    AC, present in an historical context is suggestive of half truth. To begin with, from outset, the drawings were distorted and manipulative, constituting educational fraud used to manipulate public perceptions of embryology and its relationship to alleged evolutionary history: ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. (…)

    The topic is Wiki and rewriting of history. Please try to stay on topic. What we see from Wiki is a reference that Haeckel’s drawings were wrongfully used in text books. And wee see a correction of Well’s falsehoods about certain textbooks. Wiki didn’t claim that your textbook didn’t propagate the drawings as truth. There was no rewriting of history on Wiki, as you wrongfully suggested. Or, if there was, you’ve failed to show it.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, evasion. The point of the known bias of Wiki’s dominant ideological factions will lead them to wrench almost anything to attack design thinkers, as say the main article on ID notoriously demonstrates. The antidote to distortion is truth, especially historically anchored truth. As MW and I note, our HS textbook experience is that Haeckel’s drawings (fraudulent from the outset) were presented as though they were established, expertise and publisher editorial board-backed fact. Where, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny summarises thinking that embryological “evolution” is a significant line of evidence for the course of evolution, going back to Darwin et al. Wells’ point in his Icons, was to show prevalence after over 100 years, of a particularly dubious icon, and in that he succeeded, which was an embarrassment to those promoting evolutionism, for they had to explain how they could sustain something so indefensible in a context of education in Science. There is no justification for such behaviour, and unfortunately, the icon continued to be in place in too many textbooks for quite some years after this prominent critique. That compounds the indefensibility. MW points out that a picture is worth a 1,000 words and how a few weasel words in the text are not enough. Until the only presentation is a frank admission of fraud, apology for allowing such to be used for a century, and admission that this points to needed rethinking, the discredit remains. Wiki is trying to obfuscate indefensible history and the need to acknowledge it. Also, there are many other icons that are questionable if not outright frauds, including the one set up by Darwin himself in the sole illustration in Origin, the tree of life. There is no credible blind chance and mechanical necessity explanation for origin of cell based life using complex coded algorithmic information [~100k – 1 million bits] and there is none for the 10 – 100+ million further bits to specify novel body plans across the notorious tree. Further, such functionally specific complex organisation and/or information has just one known source, on trillions of observed cases. Intelligently directed configuration. It is high time that textbooks, museums and promoters of evolutionary materialistic scientism admitted this massively evident fact too. The shoddy rhetoric evident in book titles alone speaks telling volumes. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I see you one Wiki and raise you one Creation dot com:

    I clip the first of these:

    >>In 1997, a ‘bomb’ exploded in the face of all those evolutionists who so fondly kept on using this evolutionary ‘icon’, when embryologist (and evolutionist) Dr Michael K. Richardson and his colleagues published a variety of real photographs of the relevant embryos.5 These drawings of Haeckel were later compared directly to the actual photos, and they were found to be far more different than everybody even thought. Richardson also published photographs of species additional to those which appeared in Haeckel’s popular embryo plates. This showed that Haeckel conveniently used those which tended to look more similar, while ignoring those which were different.

    Although a minority of honest evolutionists have appreciated Richardson’s work, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Scott F. Gilbert (author of developmental biological books) and Paul Dombrowsky (a specialist in rhetoric), the embarrassment was just too severe and the iconic embryos too beloved among textbook authors to let things stay as they were. Robert John Richards, a professor of history at the University of Chicago, made a concerted attempt to rehabilitate not only the history around Haeckel, but also the very embryo sketches themselves. In 2008/9 Richards published a book and a paper in which he made some serious attempts to clear and clean up the name of his hero, Ernst Haeckel. My paper will look mainly at the works of Haeckel and the scientific issues around them, specifically set out in Richards’ paper named Haeckel’s Embryos: Fraud not proven.6 Where necessary, related issues will be discussed.

    Michael Richardson and his co-workers’ photos of actual embryos had shown just how far Haeckel’s illustrations were from reality. It is thus no surprise that Robert Richards tries every possible thing to disprove Richardson and others’ work and critiques it as “logically mischievous, historically naive, and founded on highly misleading photography” (p. 148). His target is fully set on the photos of Richardson et al.>>

    From the second, on early objections (notice, 1868):

    >>One of the first troubles in Haeckel’s career concerned illustrations in the first edition (1868) of what would become his wildly popular book, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte.8 When the Swiss zoologist, anatomist and palaeontologist Ludwig Rütimeyer reviewed the book in 1868,9 he noticed that Haeckel had used the same woodcut to print animal embryo illustrations of three (quite) different types of animals. We must point out that the problem is also that Haeckel tried to draw conclusions from these artificially created similarities. In this case, Haeckel’s illustrations purported to represent a dog, chicken, and turtle embryo at what Haeckel coined to be the Sandal-stage (see figure 1).

    The ‘Sandal-stage’ is an old term for the neurula embryo.10 This is the phase when neurulation begins, i.e. the neural plate forms, then folds to form the neural tube, the precursor to the brain and central nervous system. It is also important to note that these embryos are generally in an earlier stage than the usual Haeckelian embryos which we sometimes still find in various textbooks in modern times. All this caused immense (and appropriate) disapproval and criticism as being misleading and unscientific. Rütimeyer was only the first of many people to launch complaints against Haeckel.>>

    The issue is quite clear.

    F/N: Icons, I suggest the PDF from Archive

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I looked up the phrase, and found Wiki again:

    Recapitulation theory
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—often expressed using Ernst Haeckel’s phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”—is a historical hypothesis that the development of the embryo of an animal, from fertilization to gestation or hatching (ontogeny), goes through stages resembling or representing successive adult stages in the evolution of the animal’s remote ancestors (phylogeny). It was formulated in the 1820s by Étienne Serres based on the work of Johann Friedrich Meckel, after whom it is also known as Meckel–Serres law.

    Since embryos also evolve in different ways, the shortcomings of the theory had been recognized by the early 20th century, and it had been relegated to “biological mythology”[1] by the mid-20th century.[2]

    Analogies to recapitulation theory have been formulated in other fields, including cognitive development[3] and music criticism.[4]

    If that mid C20 claim has substantial truth, what was the Haeckel drawing or the like doing in textbooks for decades thereafter? (I speak here as a witness, and MW reports much the same; where, there is considerable documentation of a widespread embarrassing fact. Of course, we cannot any longer trust web searches not to be censored on any topic that is of interest to the radical secularist progressives.)

    Something is not right, Wiki is giving a telling half-truth, once we know wider context.

    F/N: After considerable search, Wells’ magazine article:

  36. 36
    AndyClue says:


    AC, evasion.

    Thank you. I do try to evade your distractions and red herrings. 🙂

    As MW and I note, our HS textbook experience is that Haeckel’s drawings (fraudulent from the outset) were presented as though they were established, expertise and publisher editorial board-backed fact.

    Wiki does not deny the fact that textbooks presented the drawings in a wrong light. Indeed Wiki mentions that fact. A truth you disgracefully call “weasel words”.

    … and how a few weasel words in the text are not enough.

    Let’s here Wiki’s words:

    “The first suggestion of fakery against Haeckel was made in late 1868 by Ludwig Rutimeyer in the Archiv für Anthropogenie.[28] Rutimeyer was a professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Basel, who rejected natural selection as simply mechanistic and proposed an anti-materialist view of nature. (…) Michael Richardson and his colleagues in a July 1997 issue of Anatomy and Embryology,[32] demonstrated that Haeckel falsified his drawings in order to exaggerate the similarity of the phylotypic stage. In a March 2000 issue of Natural History, Stephen Jay Gould argued that Haeckel “exaggerated the similarities by idealizations and omissions.” As well, Gould argued that Haeckel’s drawings are simply inaccurate and falsified.[33]”

    Until the only presentation is a frank admission of fraud, apology for allowing such to be used for a century, and admission that this points to needed rethinking, the discredit remains.

    It’s not Wiki’s job to apologize for Haeckel’s falsehoods. It’s their job to point them out. Which they’ve done. 🙂

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    I now clip the Wells Am Spec article, recall, Dec 2000/Jan 2001:

    >>Darwin thought “by far the strongest single class
    of facts in favor of” his theory came from embry-
    ology. Darwin was not an embryologist, however,
    so he relied on the work of German biologist Ernst
    Haeckel, who produced drawings of embryos from
    various classes of vertebrates to show that they are
    virtually identical in their earliest stages, and become
    noticeably different only as they develop. It was this
    pattern that Darwin found so convincing.
    This may be the most egregious of distor-
    tions, since biologists have known for over a cen-
    tury that vertebrate embryos never look as similar as
    Haeckel drew them. In some cases, Haeckel used
    the same woodcut to print embryos that were sup-
    posedly from different classes. In others, he doc-
    tored his drawings to make the embryos appear
    more alike than they really were. Haeckel’s con-
    temporaries repeatedly criticized him for these mis-
    representations, and charges of fraud abounded in
    his lifetime. In 1997, British embryologist Michael
    Richardson and an international team of experts
    compared Haeckel’s drawings with photographs of
    actual vertebrate embryos, demonstrating conclu-
    sively that the drawings misrepresent the truth.
    The drawings are misleading in another way.
    Darwin based his inference of common ancestry on
    the belief that the earliest stages of embryo devel-
    opment are the most similar. Haeckel’s drawings,
    however, entirely omit the earliest stages, which are
    much different, and start at a more similar midway
    point. Embryologist William Ballard wrote in 1976
    that it is “only by semantic tricks and subjective
    selection of evidence,” by “bending the facts of
    nature,” that one can argue that the early stages of
    vertebrates “are more alike than their adults.”
    Yet some version of Haeckel’s drawings can
    be found in most current biology textbooks. Ste-
    phen Jay Gould, one of evolutionary theory’s most
    vocal proponents, recently wrote that we should be
    “astonished and ashamed by the century of mind-
    less recycling that has led to the persistence of these
    drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of
    modern textbooks.” (I will return below to the ques-
    tion of why it is only now that Mr. Gould, who has
    known of these forgeries for decades, has decided to
    bring them to widespread attention.)>>

    This context tells us that this claimed fact was viewed as quite strong evidence. So, we have rhetorical context. We can also see that Wells’ brief summary is accurate in substance, highlighting the history and the then current impact of Richardson.

    Later, under homologies, Wells corrects 5th edn Biology by Raven and Johnson, McGraw-Hill, that human embryos never have “gills”. That is, the “gill slits” highlighted as a homologous point in the diagram.

    The end of the article grades several major biology textbooks relative to the icons. None passes. One hopes there has been material improvement since then.

  38. 38
    Sandy says:

    Did God allow the scientists to study genome , embriology? This is copyright infringement on God’s work. It’s piracy but even so “the scientists” have no clue no matter how long will study because the technology is too advanced for humans.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, do you notice, non-admission in that clip of what went on in textbooks for over a century? Especially i/l/o the further point that this “evidence” was claimed to be the strongest, implying just how weak other lines were once such has been broken. Please, get a clue. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wiki’s lead for the Embryo Drawings article:

    Embryo drawing is the illustration of embryos in their developmental sequence. In plants and animals, an embryo develops from a zygote, the single cell that results when an egg and sperm fuse during fertilization. In animals, the zygote divides repeatedly to form a ball of cells, which then forms a set of tissue layers that migrate and fold to form an early embryo. Images of embryos provide a means of comparing embryos of different ages, and species. To this day, embryo drawings are made in undergraduate developmental biology lessons.

    Comparing different embryonic stages of different animals is [–> not, was] a tool that can be used to infer relationships between species, and thus biological evolution. This has been a source of quite some controversy, both now and in the past. Ernst Haeckel at the University of Basel pioneered in this field. By comparing different embryonic stages of different vertebrate species, he formulated the recapitulation theory. [–> fraud in drawings not admitted, nor their role in textbooks for over a century]This theory states that an animal’s embryonic development follows exactly the same sequence as the sequence of its evolutionary ancestors. Haeckel’s work and the ensuing controversy linked the fields of developmental biology and comparative anatomy into comparative embryology. From a more modern perspective, Haeckel’s drawings were the beginnings of the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo).

    The study of comparative embryology aims to prove or disprove that vertebrate embryos of different classes (e.g. mammals vs. fish) follow a similar developmental path due to their common ancestry. Such developing vertebrates have similar genes, which determine the basic body plan. However, further development allows for the distinguishing of distinct characteristics as adults.

    Evasion points to half truth, thence, the problems highlighted by Wells have a serious point.


  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Section on Haeckel:

    Haeckel’s illustrations show vertebrate embryos at different stages of development, which exhibit embryonic resemblance as support for evolution, recapitulation as evidence of the Biogenetic Law, and phenotypic divergence as evidence of von Baer’s laws. The series of twenty-four embryos from the early editions of Haeckel’s Anthropogenie remain the most famous. The different species are arranged in columns, and the different stages in rows. Similarities can be seen along the first two rows; the appearance of specialized characters in each species can be seen in the columns and a diagonal interpretation leads one to Haeckel’s idea of recapitulation. [–> notice, no recognition of the highly misleading and inaccurate nature, also note that this problem also appears in say his drawings of heads of men and other primates]

    Haeckel’s embryo drawings are primarily intended to express his theory of embryonic development, the Biogenetic Law, which in turn assumes (but is not crucial to) the evolutionary concept of common descent. His postulation of embryonic development coincides with his understanding of evolution as a developmental process.[7] In and around 1800, embryology fused with comparative anatomy as the primary foundation of morphology.[8] Ernst Haeckel, along with Karl von Baer and Wilhelm His, are primarily influential in forming the preliminary foundations of ‘phylogenetic embryology’ based on principles of evolution.[9] Haeckel’s ‘Biogenetic Law’ portrays the parallel relationship between an embryo’s development and phylogenetic history. The term, ‘recapitulation,’ has come to embody Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law, for embryonic development is a recapitulation of evolution.[10] Haeckel proposes that all classes of vertebrates pass through an evolutionarily conserved “phylotypic” stage of development, a period of reduced phenotypic diversity among higher embryos.[11] Only in later development do particular differences appear. Haeckel portrays a concrete demonstration of his Biogenetic Law through his Gastrea theory, in which he argues that the early cup-shaped gastrula stage of development is a universal feature of multi-celled animals. An ancestral form existed, known as the gastrea, which was a common ancestor to the corresponding gastrula.[12]

    Haeckel argues that certain features in embryonic development are conserved and palingenetic, while others are caenogenetic. Caenogenesis represents “the blurring of ancestral resemblances in development”, which are said to be the result of certain adaptations to embryonic life due to environmental changes.[13] In his drawings, Haeckel cites the notochord, pharyngeal arches and clefts, pronephros and neural tube as palingenetic features. However, the yolk sac, extra-embryonic membranes, egg membranes and endocardial tube are considered caenogenetic features.[14] The addition of terminal adult stages and the telescoping, or driving back, of such stages to descendant’s embryonic stages are likewise representative of Haeckelian embryonic development. In addressing his embryo drawings to a general audience, Haeckel does not cite any sources, which gives his opponents the freedom to make assumptions regarding the originality of his work.[15] [–> notice failure to address the serious defects]

    Such gives me, for cause, little confidence in this article and similar ones at the notoriously biased and manipulative, ideologically dominated wikipedia.


  42. 42
    jerry says:

    The author should check out Stephen Blume for a possibly more insightful look at design. He redefines it as IID or Ingenious Invention and Design

    IID: There are no words in the English language that can describe the ingeniousness of the designs of nature. They are beyond comprehension and therefore indescribable in any language. ID or Intelligent Design is a completely simplistic attempt to verbally describe what cannot be described. ID doesn’t include the most astounding part of the origin of nature: invention. Invention is far more stunning than is design. It’s rarely recognized as such. I fully realize the fact that mere words in any language cannot be put together to describe the source of nature and it’s biological systems. Ingenious Invention and Design, or IID, is my attempt at doing so. It’s far closer than the humdrum mind-numbing term Intelligent Design. Later in this book I will discuss how I came up with the terminology, and why it more closely matches nature’s reality. Do I think, on my say, that ID should be replaced with IID? Of course, I do.

    His website has not been updated in 7 years and his books go back before them but he is still alive and active since he has issued Kindle versions of his books.

    Personal site

    Amazon site

    Have to read his books or at least the latest one published on Kindle a couple months ago which was first published in 2013. He does not make the UD radar as nothing has been published on his writings here.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry ingeniousness is extremely hard to study KF

  44. 44
    AnimatedDust says:

    KF : “Jerry ingeniousness is extremely hard to study”
    An apt adjective, though, no? Invention isn’t. We do it all the time here.

  45. 45
    jerry says:

    ingeniousness is extremely hard to study

    Is it?

    I believe you are the one who introduced TRIZ here.

    Modern day assessment of invention is that it is a group effort. First comes the big idea then one innovation after the other. He specifically said

    Later in this book I will discuss how I came up with the terminology, and why it more closely matches nature’s reality

    Anyway I will read his books. So far they look interesting.

  46. 46
    AnimatedDust says:

    I have read his first one, and it takes no prisoners. He’s very entertaining. I wish his website were more current, but everyone gets tired of debating the atheist materialists. Jerry, I will be particularly interested in your comments about where he calculates the rate of population increase, and how closely that correlates with what we objectively observe. It’s toward the back of the book.

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    I wish his website were more current

    He is apparently in his mid to late 70’s

    He changed his mind after being a believer for years when he saw no changes in the fossil record.

    After reading a little further, maybe ID should be called XD instead for extreme design. Still only in the beginning of his book.

    He came here several years ago and was ignored.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, we can recognise, but to reduce to scales, suggest patterns and dynamics becomes difficult, especially when we are in effect trying to analyse and measure the extreme we call genius. The creator of TRIZ was in fact a recognised genius, TRIZ is itself a high level invention. ID has focussed on the more modest task of identifying intelligently directed configuration from observable traces. It turns out that this understanding of design as concept and as actual implementation, allows us to see the importance of implicit information in organisation, then to use bits tied to function based on complex configuration as a measure of complexity. Description languages can then describe configurations, similar to the 20-questions parlour game, and of course autocad etc exemplify. Functional specificity comes from recognising that configuration based function implies tight specification putting one on deeply isolated islands of function amidst vast seas of non-functional gibberish. Then, we see the issue of orientation, arrangement and coupling of parts, as can be seen through the issue of chaining appropriately oriented glyphs to make meaningful English sentences. This extends to algorithmic, informational strings such as in R/DNA. From such we can soon see that beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, undirected blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are inadequate explanations, but design readily accounts for such. Then, we look at the world of life, clear design by language using agency [codes! algorithms!]. The von Neumann kinematic self replicator shows that this applies too, to what makes reproduction possible, it is as Paley pointed out, a massive increment in the design. The mathematician identified is another recognised genius. KF

  49. 49
    jerry says:


    Your comment will convince no one. It’s dense, incoherent and poorly written.

    It’s obvious the OP author does not understand ID well based on his video. So I am looking for other interpretations.

    Already in the beginning he clearly presents his Road to Damascus moment when he realizes the fossil record disproves Darwinism. He also nails the typical defender of Darwin by their robotic debate tactics.

    Still mainly at the beginning.

  50. 50
    jerry says:

    Blume introduces 10 characteristics of design:

    1. UTILITY: highly defined function

    2. LOCATION: specifically located to accomplish its function.

    Again, I would recommend a list of all the deceptive tricks that anti ID people use to discredit it.

    3. INDIVIDUAL SHAPE: very specific shape/configuration which makes it conducive to accomplishing its specific function.

    4. COMMON SHAPE: Its specific shape and configuration is common in like entities in all locations.

    5. ASSEMBLY: made up of multiple primitive components

    6. SUB-FUNCTION: fulfill their sub-function, which is major function of the entity.

    7. INVENTION: requires invention for its existence. When it first existed, it was new, useful, and not obvious.

    8. COPIED OR STUDIED BY MAN: Human intelligent engineers attempt to make copies and models of the entity that previously existed only in nature.

    9. NOT BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE BY RANDOM OCCURRENCES: never been demonstrated that random natural happenings can invent the entity

    10. COMPLEXITY: inversely proportional to the ability and chance of random happenstances in nature building the entity in question.

    The descriptions after each point have been abbreviated.

    Are these all there is to design? Are they redundant? Are some not needed?

    Blume has obviously thought a lot about this and published. But ignored by UD.

  51. 51
    Sandy says:

    Why many didn’t hear about Blume? He is a genius.

  52. 52
    jerry says:

    A few months ago one of our anti ID people recommended a philosophy of science expert (John S Wilkins) as one who understood the modern world. This choice was seconded by another anti ID person here who said he frequented sites where Wilkins was well respected.

    So I went to Wilkins’ blog and he trashed Intelligent Design and recommended an author on evolutionary biology named Kostas Kampourakis who has written two evolutionary biology books in the last 10 years, each called Understanding Evolution.

    In neither of Kampourakis’ two books does he deal with macro-evolution. He mentions it at best a couple times in passing but does not focus on it at all. But he trashes ID which is all about macro-evolution in terms of the evolution debate.

    So this. is another of the dodges, used by Darwinists or anti-ID people. They don’t deal with the important area of evolutionary biology and. when ID questions this important area, ID is trashed. My guess the best word to describe this is “hypocrisy.”

  53. 53
    jerry says:

    Why many didn’t hear about Blume? He is a genius.

    Well he certainly has a fresh perspective which I am delighted to read.

    I found him on Quora where he discusses politics and evolution. Mostly politics recently from what I can see.

    He doesn’t seem to have written anything in the last few years but has turned his books into Kindle version, the last one published in April of this year.

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    Want to understand design more clearly then read Blume. I’m rapidly becoming convinced he’s the best design writer there has been.

    He has three small books and so far I am a third through one. In the Evo-Illusion, why IID trumps ID and Evolution 2nd edition. He has done the best job I have seen of showing design in the invention of the universe. He has one simple explanation after the other about atoms, particles, forces etc.

    Did you know that if you had a measuring tape that stretched across the visible universe and it represented the strong force, that 1 inch of that tape would represent gravity. A much better example than a comparison of something to 10 to some large number. And this relationship is fine tuned.

    For $8 you can have all three of Blume’s books. Probably one of the best returns on investment one could ever make. Let’s hear it for

                Ingenious Invention Design or IID

  55. 55
    Sandy says:

    Stephen Blume Youtube Channel
    I watched only one video Evolution of the bird and flight and I found few original arguments never heard before and as a bonus Blume has an umbelievable humor and irony toward darwinists and their arguments.

  56. 56
    jerry says:

    I’m beginning to believe Blume is the most intuitive genius of all of design theory. His concept that Darwinism/modern synthesis is just an illusion has changed my whole perception of the evolution debate.

    His story of the discovery of DNA is alone worth the read. His most insightful conclusion.

    DNA is an illusion.

    DNA just codes for proteins which are very important but are far from what life is about.

    “Even though it only is a tool in the formation of proteins, evo-illusionists have been able to hijack DNA and form the illusion that naturally selected copy errors in DNA have produced every body part, biochemical system, and species on Earth; truly and amazing illusion.

    The secret has always been in the assembly of body parts and DNA does not direct this.

    Best learning experience on design in years.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, are we looping back to unproductive exchanges? Please consider recent threads. KF

  58. 58
    jerry says:

    are we looping back to unproductive exchanges?

    You got to be kidding. Please tell me what is unproductive?

    I know almost as much about design as you do though I certainly don’t spend as much time on it. I find Blume’s insight amazing.

    He and Jonathan Wells are on the same page.

    I will continue to express my reactions to his writings.

    If those who say they are interested in design don’t read him, then they sre missing an understanding I haven’t seen before. Certainly not on this site.

    I’ll repeat what I said on the other thread.

    DNA has nothing to do with the evolution debate.

    Prove me wrong!

    This is a thread on books on design. Hardly inappropriate.

  59. 59
    jerry says:

    More unproductive information. A quote from Blume.

    If you asked 100 random educated people what DNA does, my bet is you wouldn’t get one correct answer.

    What if one asked 100 UD readers? How many would be correct?

    Another quote by Blume. About the mapping of the human genome.

    The most obvious results and conclusions of the Genome Project were and are ignored by evolution scientists, and by most biological scientists and teachers. The Genome Project is treated as if it’s a boon to evolution, instead of the evolution killer that it actually is. It’s business as usual

    And another about the evolution debate

    Whenever there’s an argument regarding whether evolution can form complex body parts, such as eyes, hearts, brains, and skeletal systems, evo-illusionists always morph the argument into whether or not evolution can change traits and characteristics.

    Is he wrong?

    This is one of the biggest logical fallacies Darwinist always use.

    Often called avoiding the issue.

  60. 60
    ET says:

    DNA doesn’t do anything but break down. It is basically inert. Inside a living organism DNA codes for different RNAs. It can’t do anything without an existing suite of specific proteins and systems.

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