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Creation Lesson #9 - Manipulation of Data, Haeckel’s Embryos





Most of those involved in the Creation/Evolution conflict are aware of such outright frauds as the Piltdown Man of Sussex, England. From its discovery in 1912 by Charles Dawson until its factual public exposure in 1953, essentially the entire secular paleontology community accepted this fossil as an intermediate between Ape and Man. Over 500 doctoral dissertations were written on its technical place in the lineage of Man (designated Eoanthropus dawsoni, “Dawn Man”); and degrees were awarded from major universities around the world. One of the few scholars who saw through its fabrication early-on was the Oxford scholar Earnest Tolbert (Bull) Adams from Glen Rose, Texas. Upon seeing the famous fossil first-hand, he wrote home to his wife Mable that it was a fake. History later proved him to be correct. But the evolutionary community had accepted Piltdown and other dubious artifacts as concrete evidence to the point that evolution has now become so entrenched as to require no real evidence at all. Evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins famously announced: “We don’t need evidence [for evolution]. We know it to be true.”[1] There is a long list of “altered” or “manipulated” information, but Haeckel’s Embryos illustrate the point very well:


In his The Origin of Species (Chapter XIV), Darwin wrote that “the leading facts in embryology, which are seen as second to none in importance” should be considered “by far the strongest single class of facts in favor of” his hypothesis. Darwin was captivated by Haeckel’s drawings of select vertebrate classes, particularly the astounding similarity that he depicted among their early embryonic stages, and what Haeckel called “the biogenetic law” (or “recapitulation theory”). This simply means that embryonic growth of the fetus within the womb rapidly repeats the entire evolutionary history of the species prior to birth. But what we really see is -




Prior to Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859), Europe’s famous embryologist, Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876), the discoverer of the tiny mammalian egg cell, had already disproved by careful empirical observation the evolutionary “law of parallelism” – the belief that embryos of “higher” organisms pass through the adult forms of “lower” organisms in the course of their development. Despite von Baer’s anti-evolutionary views, his evidence was manipulated by Haeckel and misrepresented by Darwin. According to Dr. Jonathan Wells “Von Baer lived long enough to object to Darwin’s misuse of his observations, and he was a strong critic of Darwinian evolution until his death in 1876. But Darwin persisted in citing him anyway, making him look like a supporter of the very doctrine of evolutionary parallelism he explicitly rejected.”[2]




“An embryologist, Dr. Michael Richardson [St. George’s Hospital Medical School], with the cooperation of biologists around the world, collected and photographed the types of embryos Haeckel supposedly drew. Dr. Richardson found that Haeckel’s drawings bore little resemblance to the embryos. Haeckel’s drawings could only have come from his imagination, which was harnessed to produce ‘evidence’ to promote the acceptance of evolution.”[3]




The astounding similarity between early stages of different vertebrate classes and orders that so captivated the interest of Charles Darwin is now known to be the result of Haeckel “doctoring” his drawings to make them all appear more alike than the actual evidence would allow. This is readily substantiated…

(a) Censored Samples: “Haeckel’s contemporaries repeatedly criticized him for these misrepresentations, and charges of fraud abounded in his lifetime…there is no doubt that his drawings misrepresent vertebrate embryos. First, he chose only those embryos that came closest to fitting his theory.”[4]


(b) Deliberate Deception: “Surprisingly, after developing quite differently in their early stages, vertebrate embryos become somewhat similar midway through development. It is this midway point that Haeckel chose as the ‘first’ stage for his drawings.”[5]


(c) Designed Distortions: “…the popularizers of evolution…still believe that similarities between embryos are evidence for evolution (common ancestry). But this confidence rests, consciously or unconsciously, on the woodcuts published by Haeckel and reproduced, in whole or in part, in many textbooks since. These drawings are widely believed to bear some resemblance to reality. But apparently no one has bothered to check.”[6] “In some cases, Haeckel used the same woodcut to print embryos that were supposedly from different classes.”[7]


(d) Erroneous Exaggeration: “Not only did Haeckel add or omit features…he also fudged the scale to exaggerate similarities among species, even when there were 10-fold differences in size.”[8] “Richardson and his colleagues also found that vertebrate embryos vary tremendously in size, from less than 1 millimeter to almost 10 millimeters, yet Haeckel portrayed them all as being the same size.”[9]


(e) Falsified Figures: “Finally, Richardson and his colleagues found considerable variation in the number of somites – repetitive blocks of cells on either side of the embryo’s developing backbone. Although Haeckel’s drawings show approximately the same number of somites in each class, actual embryos vary from 11 to more than 60.”[10]


YET THIS FALSIFIED INFORMATION IS STILL USED TODAY! “The Biogenetic law [Haeckel’s Drawings] has become so deeply rooted in biological thought that it cannot be weeded out in spite of its having been demonstrated to be wrong by numerous scholars.”[11]



[1] Richard Dawkins, Washington University Seminar: “Making Sense of Creation and Evolution.”

[2] Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution, 2000, p.86

[3] Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, Carl Weiland, The Revised & Expanded Answers Book, 1900, p.120

[4] Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution, 2000, p. 91

[5] Ibid. p, 98

[6] Ham, Sarfati, and Weiland, op cit.

[7] Wells, op cit.

[8] Science, vol. 277, 9/5/97

[9] Wells, op cit, p. 92

[10] Wells, ibid.

[11] Walter J. Bock, Department of Biological Sciences, Colombia University, “Evolution by Orderly Law,” Science, vol. 164, May 9, 1969, pp. 684-5

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