Christian City Forum
Section: SmokeHouse <debate>
Msg #81566, No Replies
Sat, Mar 26, 1997, 7:38 PM
Topic Science, Religion etc.
From: Tom Taylor, 74114,117
To: Paul Seaton, 73753,66
I've been off-line for a couple of weeks. A power surge took out my PC and my telephone answering machine. I've bought a new (used) computer, and still hope to get the old one fixed, as well.
Sorry I wasn't able to join in on the discussion during that time. It looks like things have quieted down now for a while.
I've just about finished reading Hitching's The Neck of the Giraffe. It's excellent. I've learned a lot I hadn't known before. For example, we all know of the long since discredited "ancestors" of modern man, such as Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Pekin Man, etc. What I had not been aware of was the fraud, deceit, and opportunistic wishful thinking that led up to the discovery of the first of these, Java Man.
In the late nineteenth century, a prominent Darwinist was Ernst Haeckel. He was the biologist that invented the theory of recapitulation, the notion that the development of the embryo follows the stages of evolutionary development. It's been long since discredited, but it was still taught in my high school biology textbook back in the late sixties. Well, it turns out that Professor Haeckel fraudulently doctored the evidence to make his "law" of recapitulation seem credible. For example, he published drawings of embryos of a dog, a chicken, and a tortoise, to show the common "worm-like" stage they'd all passed through. It was later shown that he'd simply used the same drawing (of a dog embryo) three times. It wasn't an isolated event, but a tactic commonly used by Haeckel. Other of his forgeries later exposed:
"To illustrate the 'embryo of a Gibbon in the fish-stage', Haeckel used the embryo of a different kind of monkey altogether, and then sliced off those parts of the anatomy inconvenient to his theory, such as arms, legs, heart, navel and other non-fishy appendages. Another time, he altered the shape of embryological drawings to make the braincases of fishes, frogs, tortoises and chickens look the same. Again, he would insert imaginary animals in a neatly graduated progression of forms. On the page, this looked as if it demonstrated life developing from simple to complex - but readers were given no hint that some animals were real, and some pure fiction. An isolated but particularly brazen example of forgery was when he extended the thirty-three vertebrae of a human to thirty-five, and then for good measure tacked on a tail with a further nine."
"...One of Haeckel's invented embryos showed the head of an ape on the body of a man, and for fossil-hunters the world over, the hoped-for discovery of a true grown version of this hybrid creature was the supreme prize: the elusive missing link."
Haeckel even commisioned a drawing of the creature, and named it Pithecanthropus alanthus. A few years, later, sure enough, it was found on the island of Java. A former student of Haeckel found a skull cap of an extinct ape, and nearby a human thigh bone. He wrote to Haeckel, asking if this might be the missing link they'd all been looking for. Haeckel telegraphed back, "From the inventor of Pithecanthropus to his happy discoverer." Thus Pithecanthropus was authenticated, by a fraudulent biologist who had never even seen the evidence.
Years later, at the Scopes trial, Java man was one of the examples presented to the media as evidence of man's descent from the apes.
Still, evolution must be true, because, as geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky said, "...for otherwise, obviously, mankind would not be here." See, there's proof after all: we're here. <g>