Survival of the Fakest

Creation Evidence

The last three articles have been leading up to these excerpts from the article, “Survival of the Fakest” by Jonathan Wells. It originally appeared in The American Spectator, December 2000/January 2001. The full text should be read and is available online from several sources. (Jonathan Wells holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from UC-Berkeley and has published widely in academic journals. He is the author of the recently released Icons of Evolution (Regnery))

One of the Most Famous Fakes in Biology

“It was only when I was finishing my Ph.D. in cell and development biology, however, that I noticed what at first I took to be a strange anomaly. The textbook I was using prominently featured drawings of vertebrate embryos–fish, chickens, humans etc.–where similarities were presented as evidence for descent from a common ancestor. Indeed, the drawings did appear very similar. But I’d been studying embryos for some time looking at them under a microscope. And I knew that the drawings were just plain wrong. I re-checked all my other textbooks. They all had similar drawings, and they were all obviously wrong. Not only did they distort the embryos they pictured; they omitted earlier stages in which the embryos look very different from one another.”

“Like most other science students, like most scientists themselves, I let it pass. It didn’t immediately affect my work, and assumed that while the texts had somehow gotten this particular issue wrong, it was the exception to the rule. In 1997, however, my interest in the embryo drawings was revived when British embryologist Michael Richardson and his colleagues published the result of their study comparing the textbook drawings with actual embryos. As Richardson himself was quoted in the prestigious journal Science: ‘It looks like its turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology.'”

High school and College Textbooks Still Use the Fake Drawings

“Worse, this was no recent fraud. Nor was its discovery recent. The embryo drawings that appear in most every high school and college textbooks are either reproductions of, or based on, a famous series of drawings by the 19th century German biologist and fervent Darwinian, Ernst Haeckel, and they have been known to scholars of Darwin and evolutionary theory to be forgeries for over a hundred years. But none of them, apparently, have seen fit to correct this almost ubiquitous misinformation.”

“Still thinking this an exceptional circumstance, I became curious to see if I could find other mistakes in the standard biology texts dealing with evolution. My search revealed a startling fact however: Far from being exceptions, such blatant misrepresentations are more often the rule. . . We all remember them from biology class: the experiment that created the ‘building blocks of life’ in a tube; the evolutionary ‘tree,’ rooted in the primordial slime and branching out into animal and plant life. Then there were the similar bone structures of, say, a bird’s wing and a man’s hand, the peppered moths, and Darwin’s finches. And, of course, the Haeckel embryos.”

Most Evidences Turn Out to Be Fraud

“As it happens, all of these examples, as well as many others purportedly standing as evidence of evolution, turn out to be incorrect. Not just slightly off. Not just slightly mistaken. On the subject of Darwinian evolution, the texts contained massive distortions and even some faked evidence. In fact, when the false “evidence” is taken away, the case for Darwinian evolution, in the textbooks at least, is so thin it’s almost invisible.”

If evolution needs distortions, half-truths, and fakes to prove its veracity, we would logically conclude that said veracity doesn’t exist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *