Food for thought #2

ICONS OF EVOLUTION by Jonathan Wells, PhD.

As I was finishing my Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology, however, I noticed that all of my textbooks dealing with evolutionary biology contained a blatant misrepresentation: Drawings of vertebrate embryos showing similarities that were supposed to be evidence for descent from a common ancestor. But as an embryologist I knew the drawings were false. Not only did they distort the embryos they purported to show, but they also omitted earlier stages in which the embryos look very different from each other. My assessment of the embryo drawings was confirmed in 1997, when British embryologist Michael Richardson and his colleagues published an article in the journal Anatomy and Embryology, comparing the textbook drawings with actual embryos. Richardson was subsequently quoted in the leading American journal Science as saying: «It looks like it’s turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology. Yet most people remain unaware of the truth, and even biology textbooks published after 1997 continue to carry the faked drawings. Since then, I have discovered that many other textbook illustrations distort the evidence for evolution, too. At first, I found this hard to believe. How could so many textbooks contain so many misrepresentations for so long? Why hadn’t they been noticed before? Then I discovered that other biologists have noticed most of them, and have even criticized them in print. But their criticisms have been ignored.

The pattern is consistent, and suggests more than simple error. At the very least, it suggests that Darwinism encourages distortions of the truth. How many of these distortions are unconscious and how many are deliberate remains to be seen. But the result is clear: Students and the public are being systematically misinformed about the evidence for evolution.

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