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Featured Haeckel... again (aka 'poor creationists')

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by tas8831, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. tas8831

    tas8831 Well-Known Member

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    In the "The creator did it" thread, the issue of Haeckel came up again:

    "Apply this to Haeckel's embryos fraud, which was still being published in college textbooks over 100 years later. Probably still is.

    Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered
    How convenient, ignoring outright falsehoods to support a bias."​

    That claim was later 'supported' with a quote from an actual evolutionist! indicating the same:

    I guess you need another one of your trusted links revealing the disingenuous nature of Haekel’s drawings, which you are trying to justify (LOL): by PZ Myers, no less:

    “In the case of Haeckel, though, I have to begin by admitting that Wells has got the core of the story right. Haeckel was wrong. His theory was invalid, some of his drawings were faked, and he willfully over-interpreted the data to prop up a false thesis. Furthermore, he was influential, both in the sciences and the popular press; his theory still gets echoed in the latter today. Wells is also correct in criticizing textbook authors for perpetuating Haeckel's infamous diagram without commenting on its inaccuracies or the way it was misused to support a falsified theory.”​

    The very next sentence of the Myer essay, of course, changes the context:

    "Unfortunately, what Wells tries to do in this chapter is to take this invalid, discredited theory and tar modern (and even not so modern) evolutionary biology with it. The biogenetic law is not Darwinism or neo-Darwinism, however. It is not part of any modern evolutionary theory. Wells is carrying out a bait-and-switch here, marshalling the evidence and citations that properly demolish the Haeckelian dogma, and then claiming that this is part of "our best evidence for Darwin's theory."​

    Hmmm.
    So, what was it Haeckel was wrong about? Myers goes to some length to explain this, and later in the essay Myer's strongly criticizes Wells' "grading" system for textbooks. It seems that Myers' initial condemnation is unwarranted - he never really gives any examples, and in my experience, what he implies is not at all the norm (e.g., NONE of the college biology texts espouse Haeckel's ideas, ALL of them indicate that Haeckel was wrong, and all of them indicate that although he was wrong, embryology is still actually good evidence for evolution - NOT Haeckel's biogenetic law).

    The creationist Discovery Institute's take on this whole thing is absurdly nonsensical, and I suspect that this is the essay that compelled many creationists to blindly accept the notion that moderns textbooks are in essence endorsing a failed idea - the author, creationist lawyer Casey Luskin, uses a single example to "refute" 'Flock of Dodos' film maker Randy Olson. I have italicized and colored dark red parts that one should pay attention to for purposes that will be revealed below:

    Raven & Johnson’s textbook merely took Haeckel’s original drawings, slightly reworked them, and added some color. For all intents and purposes, these are Haeckel’s drawings. The textbooks don’t lie: here are Haeckel’s drawings in a modern textbook.

    Defeating Olson’s “B”-Argument: Haeckel’s Fraudulent Drawings Are Used to Represent Factual Data That Promote Evolution in the Present Day

    As I explain in “What do Modern Textbooks Really Say about Haeckel’s Embryos?,” Raven & Johnson use Haeckel’s fraudulent drawings to promote evolution as fact in the present day:
    The drawings are presented as valid evidence for the modern theory of evolution, and are not used merely to provide historical context.
    They come from a section entitled “Embryonic Development and Vertebrate Evolution.” The caption reads: “Embryonic development of vertebrates. Notice that the early embryonic stages of these vertebrates bear a striking resemblance to each other, even though the individuals are from different classes (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). All vertebrates start out with an enlarged head region, gill slits, and a tail regardless of whether these characteristics are retained in the adult.” (pg. 1228-1229) The text states: “The patterns of development in the vertebrate groups that evolved most recently reflect in many ways the simpler patterns occurring among earlier forms. Thus, mammalian development and bird development are elaborations of reptile development, which is an elaboration of amphibian development, and so forth (figure 58.16).” (pg. 1228-1229) Although Haeckel is mentioned, it is clear that the textbook authors regard these drawing as evidence apart from Haeckel’s interpretation.

    The text not only discusses “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” but also affirms it, albeit in a slightly different form. This entire discussion comes from a subsection entitled “Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny,” in which the authors repudiate Haeckel’s claim but then defend a reformulated version of it: “The developmental instructions for each new form seem to have been layered on top of the previous instructions, contributing additional steps in the developmental journey. This hypothesis, promoted in the nineteenth century by Ernst Haeckel, is referred to as the ‘biogenetic law.’ It is usually stated as an aphorism: ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny; that is, embryological development (ontogeny) involves the same progression of changes that have occurred during evolution (phylogeny). However, the biogenetic law is not literally true when stated in this way because embryonic stages are not reflections of adult ancestors. Instead, the embryonic stages of a particular vertebrate often reflect the embryonic stages of that vertebrate’s ancestors.” (pg. 1228-1229, emphases in original) Earlier the text stated: “In many cases, the evolutionary history of an organism can be seen to unfold during its development, with the embryo exhibiting characteristics of the embryos of its ancestors.” (pg. 450) The basis for the text’s claims that the law holds is the fraudulent Haeckel-derived drawings, which obscure the differences between the embryos.


    Get that?

    So even though Raven & Johnson EXPLICITLY indicate that Haeckel's biogenetic law is not correct, the creationist lawyer wants his readers to believe (and they do, of course) that they actually endorse it anyway ("but then defend a reformulated version of it:")!

    The "reformulated version of it" is, in fact, sort of the opposite of what Haeckel believed, and is actually supported with a class of evidence unavailable to Haeckel - genetics.

    But let's go back to Myers' essay to see what he concluded:


    Conclusion
    Jonathan Wells would like to discredit evolution, and in Haeckel's embryos, he has found a story to his liking. There is a bit of intentional fakery to it, there is a clear affiliation with Darwin himself, and there is a long history of recognition of Haeckel's influence intermingled with unambiguous repudiation of his ideas. All he has to do is try to entangle Haeckel's discredited theories and poor modern reputation with the set of valid observations and modern explanations, and he can bury the truth under innuendo and association. However, we just have to remember three things:

    • Evolutionary theory is not founded on Haeckel's observations or theories. Haeckel's work was discredited in the 19 th century, and has not been relevant to biology since the rediscovery of Mendel's laws of genetics. That the biogenetic law is false has been the consensus of biologists for over 100 years, and developmental biologists have been working constructively to provide alternative explanations, which have so far all been evolutionary in nature.
    • The similarities between vertebrate embryos are real. We must distinguish between observations of those similarities and hypotheses about their causes. The similarities are not in doubt; there are worthwhile studies of the degree and timing of the similarities, but none that question their overall existence. What Wells has described is one hypothesis about the cause, Haeckel's biogenetic law, which failed early and spectacularly. He has not addressed any modern hypotheses, nor has he provided a better alternative.
    • Evidence for common descent lies in the unity of form and process. We do not use Haeckel's outmoded, invalid mechanism to argue for evolution. Instead, we look at the marvelous convergence of disparate organisms on common principles: all animals use the same genes to define regions of their bodies, all vertebrates build their faces by unlikely rearrangements of odd pharyngeal protrusions, and even tailless mammals like us have to start with tailed embryos. The best explanation for these phenomena is that they are a consequence of a common heritage.


    Poor creationists - so desperate, so eager to engage in misrepresentation to attack that whichh their cult demands they reject...





    Oh - did I mention the impetus of that DI essay?

    "These textbooks use Haeckel’s drawings to assert that they represent factual evidence for evolution in the present-day. “Flock of Dodos” film producer Randy Olson has claimed that either (A) the fraudulent drawings haven’t been used in any modern textbooks, or alternatively, if that argument fails, then (B) when they are used, it isn’t to promote evolution, but simply to demonstrate some kind of historical perspective on the development of evolutionary thought. This post will discuss one recently-published textbook, Peter H Raven & George B Johnson’s, Biology (6th ed, McGraw Hill, 2002), which refutes both Randy Olson’s “A”-argument and his fallback “B”-argument. Unfortunately, Olson’s film is being shown this week on Showtime where it will probably hoax many viewers about the real contents of modern biology textbooks."​
     
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  2. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Why do we strive about an issue that none of us can solve?
     
  3. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    I am unsure what your point is. What is that '. . . we strive about that none can solve.'
     
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  4. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    It is starting to become clear that so many spiritual arguments can not be proven, nevertheless we argue on, perhaps do to our own evil natures?
     
  5. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    There is no need to have spiritual arguments as part of evolution. You might as well have a spiritual argument about gravity.

    The problem is that some believers believe what are obviously myths and claiming that they have to be right. For some reason they think that evolution somehow refutes God when it does nothing of the sort. It may refute errant versions of God, but an actual God, if one exists, would not be worried about the fact of evolution at all.
     
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  6. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    " So live, that when thy summons comes to join
    The innumerable caravan, which moves
    To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
    His chamber in the silent halls of death,
    Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
    Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
    By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
    Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
    About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." Bryant.

    In my old age it becomes clear that so much of what we strive about is pointless. I believe in a Creative Force that has considerable intelligence. For many years I have stubbornly believed that the Bible is essentially true and can be taken literally. What I failed to take into account was the fact that the bulk of it was written by primitive men who were interpreting things and writing about them even while likely not understanding what they had seen and perhaps experienced.

    In modern times, all this striving to prove the unprovable has served as a distraction from the important issues in life. Many people would not believe in my version of God. Indeed it would not be surprising to find most people of faith to be incensed at me for the way I see it all. My goal is to suss out the God in Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    In the above statement, does it even matter if any of the Bible is true? Most of my family are atheists, yet are for the most part very decent people. When we get together, we each know our feelings. There is no reason to fight.

    A few places in the Bible indicate that He shall come in the air. Should that happen, does it matter at all if He shows up as an ethereal being, or if his spaceship "drops out of warp and slides into Earth Orbit? If I have not treated those around me with love and kindness, none of it matters.
     
  7. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    I argue more from the perspective of science, and yes, even though I believe spiritual arguments remain super highly subjective.
     
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  8. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Who can be more idiotic than Scientists that do not agree?
     
  9. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    Creationists.
     
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  10. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    I've been on the horns of angry religionists.
     
  11. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    Careful, on the fundamentals of science, including the science of evolutions, scientists are in almost complete agreement. Of course, in the fronteers of science like Quantum Mechanics there are many unknowns and of course healthy disagreement.
     
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  12. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    And I have seen far too many theists not understand how disagreement can be healthy. If everyone is willing to support their beliefs with evidence advances are made. This is how science advances over the years.
     
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  13. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    I made a distinction between science and religious/philosophical debates/discussions. As far as I am concerning science is cut and dried objective verifiable evidence, and foundation of the history of scientific methods. There is some lively interesting discussions and debate in the frontiers of science like Quantum Mechanics.

    Religious and philosophical discussions are a different issue and subject to many fallacies and downright dishonesty in the debates and discussions. This where I try and keep 'my side' of the discussion 'healthy and honest' and do try to prove things that of course cannot be proven.

    Haeckel is among most dishonest and bizzaro.
     
  14. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    He was a bit bizarro. I am not so sure about the dishonest claims. His duplicated images were there in the first edition due to publication pressure and were corrected in later editions. His conclusion that evolution was reproduced as an embryo develops was quite bizarre. It smacked more of magic than of science.
     
  15. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    LOL, as long as people can fantasize about holding the intellectual high ground. I've seen so much change since the 50s. I once got chewed out for saying that I could sometimes see the Moon in daytime; another for saying that some chickens lay brown eggs. I was once told that Lunar Rilles were proof that the Moon was split.
     
  16. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    You are not addressing the science. All you are describing is layman barking at the moon.

    Science is not based on anyone claiming the intellectual high ground. Individual claims is not science.
     
    #16 shunyadragon, Mar 22, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
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  17. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    I guess the real bizzaro part is anyone today quoting him as contemporary authority.
     
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  18. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    I have only seen him as an example of the history of the science. For full reporting missteps should be included too. He was not 100% wrong since embryology is still evidence for evolution, just not in the way that Haeckel thought that it is.
     
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  19. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Well, if you are going to continue to pretend to be Mr. Superior, there is no need for me to talk to you is there?
     
  20. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    The full moon was yesterday.
     
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