Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Flock of Dodos, or Pack of Lies?

arroba Email

In Flock of Dodos, or Pack of Lies?, Jonathan Wells describes how Darwinist Randy Olson filmed a scene to argue the point that Haeckel’s embryos are not in recent biology text books.

Olson concedes that the drawings are fraudulent, but he states on camera that “you don’t find them” in recent textbooks. In one scene, Olson hands Kansas attorney (and Darwin critic) John Calvert a recent biology textbook and challenges him to find Haeckel’s drawings in it. Taken by surprise, Calvert can’t do it. Afterwards, Olson displays a 1914 textbook containing the drawings but claims they haven’t been used since then. The film then compares Icons of Evolution to a supermarket tabloid.

Calvert later faxed Olson pages from a recent textbook containing Haeckel’s drawings, but Olson gives no hint of that in his film. Furthermore, Olson claims to have read Icons of Evolution, but if had he would have known that eight widely used biology textbooks with copyright dates between 1998 and 2000 contain versions of the faked drawings. After hearing reports of the film before it was released, I sent Olson an email in May 2006 citing three more textbooks with copyright dates of 2004 that contained Haeckel’s drawings, and I suggested: “You owe it to your audiences to acknowledge that in this respect your film is promoting a demonstrable lie.”

Olson ignored me.

I leave it to the reader to see PZ Myers and Olson’s slick use of equivocation. They equivocate the meaning of the phrase “Haeckel’s drawings continue to be used in text books”.

Is the issue about SOME textbooks or about ALL textbooks using Haeckel’s embryos? Wells is talking about SOME textbooks but Olson insinuates the issue is about ALL textbooks. He uses a theatrical gimmick in his “interview” with Calvert to insinuate that point. Such conduct inspired Wells to ask the question of Olson’s propaganda flick, “Flock of Dodos, or Pack of Lies?”.

Balti The evidence for Common Descent is pretty solid. Drs. Dembski and Behe both believe in it. The real question is how did that occur. Quite a few people believe that physical mechanisms are responsible. They apply the physical mechanisms we know of and those that we are not yet aware of over time and say that must have done it. We do have good reason to believe that we do not have close to the whole story yet. That does not however mean that the idea of physical mechanisms is somehow fatally flawed. Again, evidence that the current theory is not complete is NOT evidence that the entire basis for the theory is wrong. I was taught different ages for the universe at various points in my life. That did not mean that the theories that those flawed dates were based on were wrong. It just meant that things needed to be refined. The alternative would be believing in some sort of particapatory intelligent agency. This is obviously always a possibility but it would be the first time that such a cause was presumed and that presumption actually turned out to be correct. So yes there is a belief that physical mechanisms probably are sufficient. That cannot and probably never will be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. To insist that those that hold this belief do so for no good reason is to ignore the past centuries of human discovery. I am not saying that the trend of making the supernatural natural will march on inevitably but to think it might is not unreasonable given the unfaltering track record of human discovery. jmcd
"Evolutionists really do belief in evolution. They are not intentionally trying to deceive even if they are wrong. " I dont think that can be said of all evolutionists. Certainly,given the state of 'evidence' for this theory, I am convinced that even a sincere faith in its central tenants involves a signficant ignorance of reality, whether intentional or not. Balti
Does this help? Charles Darwin, OOS, Chapter XIV:
Thus, as it seems to me, the leading facts in embryology, which are second to none in importance, are explained on the principle of variations in the many descendants from some one ancient progenitor, having appeared at a not very early period of life, and having been inherited at a corresponding period. Embryology rises greatly in interest, when we look at the embryo as a picture, more or less obscured, of the progenitor, either in its adult or larval state, of all the members of the same great class.
Jonathan Wells, Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, pp. 29-32:
When an animal egg is fertilized, it first goes through a process called "cleavage," during which it subdivides into hundreds or thousands of separate cells. At the end of cleavage, the cells begin to arrange themselves in a process known as "gastrulation," which is responsible for establishing the animal's shape and generating tissues and organs... Yet only after cleavage and gastrulation does a vertebrate embryo reach the stage that Haeckel labeled the "first." If it were true (as Darwin and Haeckel claimed) that vertebrates are most similar in their earliest stages, then the various classes would be most similar during cleavage and gastrulation. Yet a survey of the five classes portrayed by Haeckel (bony fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal) reveals that this is not the case... [V]ertebrate embryos start out looking very different, then they become somewhat similar midway through development (though not as similar as Haeckel made them out to be) before diverging again. Embryologists call this pattern the "developmental hourglass." (Figure 4)... Darwin's strongest evidence, however, was the supposed similarity of embryos in their earliest stages.
jmcd wrote: "I looked up the DI’s evidence. From that it would appear that the drawings have been recycled to demonstrate similarity among embryos of vertebrates. This similarity does exist but Heackel’s ideas of why are a century out of vogue. To reproduce his drawings without the historical context would indeed be wrong." Is it not the case that the similarity itself is significantly distorted? That is what Gould was essentially acknowledging. It's not just that Haeckel's old ideas are out of vogue -- the entire concept being pushed by the faked embryo drawings is bogus. Eric Anderson
I have a question from anyone who has seen the movie. What percentage of the movie is taken up with the Haeckel episode? Are there any other distortions in the movie? If not then we should be happy that this is all. Usually ID is paraded around using one endless distortion after another. It is not that we shouldn't point out this distortion but the fact that it is such an obvious distortion may work in our favor in the long run. If ID is given a fair shake in the movie then this just adds to our credibility once viewers know about it. jerry
It would seem to me the reason Haeckel fake his drawing the first place is he knew the truth wouldn't convince those in his day that evolution (common descent) was true. So even if these biology books did use this drawing with an hint of the history behind them is still the question of their motives. (creationist's motives are consently questioned) I serious doubt it's to shows that at the beginning TOE was founded by butch of lies. It's more likely they are used to sell evolution. Kind of like the burger ads I see. They show a thick huge hamburger on the ad but when I get my order I find the meat so thin I feel like asking "Where's the beef?" When I see the actual real embryos I feel like saying "Where the evidence?" Smidlee
The similarities are not apparent in the earliest stages of the embryo but do occur acrooss the board at the phylotypic stage. This similarity was known of before Darwin's time. Haeckel had a plausible theory as to why this similarity occurs. His theory had problems so instead of admitting his problems he massaged and fabricated evidence to support his ideas. This is wrong and he was denounced for it just as scientists are denounced for wrong doing today. The idea of a massive conspiracy to support this glaringly obvious fraud of evolution is just a bit absurd. A massive conspiracy is actually an oxymoron. Evolutionists really do belief in evolution. They are not intentionally trying to deceive even if they are wrong. Furthermore many, many thinking people have come to the conclusion that either common descent is true or it was made to look that way. The fact that most of these people also search for a natural explanation is a reflection of the success of natural explanations and not a denial of the possibility of a supernatural one. Some obviously have buit up a purely and exclusively naturalistic worldview. This worldview is not scientific but is based on the percieved trend of scientific discoveries. This trend may or may not be illusory and I for one do not accept it as Truth. What I am trying to say is that when many people hear about evolutionary conspiracies they justifiably roll their eyes. It is one thing to say that there is not at this time sufficient evidence to believe in a purely material development of species and to say that signs point to a greater intelligence being involved. It is another thing entirely though to think that there are no good reasons for thinking evolutionary theory is generaaly on the right track. The first point is most definitely arguable. The second is not. jmcd
jmcd wrote: "This similarity does exist but Heackel’s ideas of why are a century out of vogue." Boy, that's not my understanding at all. The way I understand it, having read Icons of Evolution, was that the similarities depicted in Haeckel's drawings are precisely what made them fraudulent… that comparing embryos at the earliest stages across several species yielding very FEW similarities. The drawings depict something that is simply not reflected in reality whatsoever. Thus, they are fraudulent and therefore they shouldn't be used at all except as an example of what NOT to do or, of course, and example of the desperate tactics that Darwinists must employ in order to make their case. TRoutMac
I looked up the DI's evidence. From that it would appear that the drawings have been recycled to demonstrate similarity among embryos of vertebrates. This similarity does exist but Heackel's ideas of why are a century out of vogue. To reproduce his drawings without the historical context would indeed be wrong. jmcd
I wonder what Al Franken would say about these "lies and the lying liars who tell them". Let's examine the thinking: 1) "Uh-oh, we can't substantiate our materialistic anti-ID position." Leads to: 2) "So let's make up $#!+ about ID to make it look stupid." Because: 3) "History tells us that very few people will take the time or make the effort to find out for themselves." It's the anti-EF. If one can explain their position (1) they do. If they can't then it goes to node (2). Joseph
It seems a very valid point that these drawings are only included in historical cpntext. Either that is a blatant lie or what has been posted on this site including that DI video or deceptive to the point of being maliciously untruthful. I think Casey needs to show us exactly how the drawings are mentioned in the displayed books. If they are presented as contemporary evidence for evolution then they rae fraudulent. However, if they instead presented as a case study in how scientists have tried to incorporate embryological similarity among vertebrates in the past then what has gone on here and originally in Well's book is fraud. jmcd
WinstonEwert wrote: "Could anybody comment on that?" Yeah, I'll comment on it. If the drawings are fraudulent, they shouldn't be included in ANY text book for ANY reason unless, perhaps, it's a text book about fraud. I don't believe for one minute that these drawings are used for any reason other than to create an impression while reserving, as an escape route, this "cover-story" about demonstrating a past point or what have you. TRoutMac
Wells writes, "In one scene, Olson hands Kansas attorney (and Darwin critic) John Calvert a recent biology textbook and challenges him to find Haeckel’s drawings in it." A small point: I saw Dodo's Monday night and Olson doesn't hand Calvert a textbook. Calvert pulls textbooks from the bookshelf in his office for them to look at. Jack Krebs
The Darwinists side claims that while the images are in the textbooks they aren't presented as being accurate, they are simply used to demonstrate a past position. Could anybody comment on that? WinstonEwert
Whilst undertaking my Biology A-Level (uk exam), I found to my amazement several pages devoted to Haekel's cartoons under the heading 'The Evidence for Evolution'. I distinctly recall asking my very educated and intelligent A-Level Biology lecturer why the idea featured at all in a textbook, when it was a blatent nonsense. Her response was to say that it wouldnt be in the textbook if it weren't true. Unfortunately, a typical response. Balti
Wells never claimed all text books use Haeckel's embryos. Olson is reduced to being as much a fraud for Darwinism as Haeckel. Jehu

Leave a Reply