A bit more on Haeckel

| 22 Comments

22 Comments

The best way to circumvent charges of fraud is to use actual embryos, either slides or plastic mounts, in introductory biology laboratories. Then ask the students, do you think you could tell the difference between a mature pig and a mature chicken for the lab practical? Now, do you think that you could tell the difference between the early embryos of pigs and chickens? Why do you think that is?

It is simple. There was a common designer.

Run like mad:)

But who was the designer? Of course the Dishonesty Institute won’t tell you, but I will. They were Klingons from the planet Qo’nos, who travelled backward in time.….

Michael Roberts said:

It is simple. There was a common designer.

Run like mad:)

John Kwok said:

But who was the designer? Of course the Dishonesty Institute won’t tell you, but I will. They were Klingons from the planet Qo’nos, who travelled backward in time.….

Baloney. They were interdimensional aliens in the form of white lab mice.

Now, do you think that you could tell the difference between the early embryos of pigs and chickens?

Put them in a frying pan, and when done taste to see if they taste like chicken, or bacon.

Henry J said:

Now, do you think that you could tell the difference between the early embryos of pigs and chickens?

Put them in a frying pan, and when done taste to see if they taste like chicken, or bacon.

But presumably they can be distinguished from the mushrooms, baked beans, fried bread and hash browns. Mr Luskin, no doubt, opts for the Continental Breakfast. :)

Slightly more seriously, oughtn’t they all taste the same as a fish embryo?

Nick,

It seems both you and Josh Rosenau are purposely avoiding the central point that embryos are dramatically different during the gasturlation and/or neurulation stages (depending on the organism), which precedes the pharyngular stage. Why is that? Does Darwinism explain the hourglass development of embryos?

If fraud is too strong a word to describe why textbooks still refer to Haeckle’s drawing or use a variation of them, then it seems at the very least to be a purposeful misrepresentation intended to distract from the current knowledge we have that in fact different organism’s embryos are quite different at the earliest stages of development, taking the bite out of the claim that similarity at the pharyngular stage is evidence of common ancestry.

MrG said:

John Kwok said:

But who was the designer? Of course the Dishonesty Institute won’t tell you, but I will. They were Klingons from the planet Qo’nos, who travelled backward in time.….

Baloney. They were interdimensional aliens in the form of white lab mice.

Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

It seems both you and Josh Rosenau are purposely avoiding the central point that embryos are dramatically different during the gasturlation and/or neurulation stages

steve p, not that you couldn’t simply look this up yourself, since I posted the link to it in the other thread, but since you actively choose to be dishonest about what evolutionary theory says about development, homology, and common descent, I’ll go ahead and post a nice, relatively brief summary of why you (and likewise Jonathan Wells) are so off base here.

What about the early differences in development?

Wells makes much of the fact that the biogenetic law presumes that embryos ought to be most similar at the earliest possible stage of development, yet the period of greatest similarity, the phylotypic stage, occurs well into development, and that the earliest stages exhibit seemingly significant differences. This is true, but irrelevant.

The biogenetic law is not Darwinism. Poking holes in the biogenetic law is easy to do, it’s been done repeatedly in the scientific literature, and it does not damage modern evolutionary biology at all.

This observation isn’t news. Von Baer pointed out in the 1820’s that the earliest tissues to differentiate in the mammalian embryo are the extraembryonic membranes, which also happen to be among the more recent features in the mammalian lineage to evolve. The figure Wells uses to make this point (Figure 5-3) is a redrawn version of a similar figure published by Elinson in 1987.

Wells downplays the similarities that exist to emphasize the differences. This is the same biased game that Haeckel played: the only difference is that he emphasized the similarities rather than the differences.

That last point requires further explanation. What modern developmental biology has been discovering is that these earliest stages in different vertebrate embryos are substantially similar. The differences are superficial, and in many cases a consequence of different amounts of maternal investment. For instance, one of the first tasks of a fertilized, single-celled egg is to divide repeatedly to produce a large number of cells. In animals that have a large amount of yolk, such as a fish, reptile, or bird, the yolk is too large to be efficiently divided, so the cell divides partially, producing a cap of cells on top of the yolk. In animals that have relatively little, well-dispersed yolk, such as the frog, or have no yolk at all, as in mammals, the egg can divide completely, and produces a ball of cells. That’s the extent of the difference, whether you have a mass of cells by itself or a mass sprawled on top of a yolk.

These differences in shape lead to some apparent differences in the next step of development, gastrulation. The critical function of gastrulation is that some cells have to move inward, into the mass of cells. This movement of sheets of cells generates the three-dimensional structure of the embryo, and during the process, gives cells opportunities to interact and induce new tissue types. Whether the embryo is a ball of cells or a mass on top of a yolk, though, all vertebrates carry out equivalent movements during gastrulation; again, the differences are superficial, depending on whether the cluster of cells is balled up or flattened. There are other differences that can be cataloged, such as whether the cells move inward as a coherent, adhesive sheet or whether they delaminate and move in as single cells, but again, the core process, that they move inward to set up new layers, is the same.

On a more fundamental level, it appears that vertebrates share a common set of signaling molecules, such as BMP-4 and chordin, that are important in defining polarity and specifying tissue types at these early stages. The processes of cell signaling important in inducing new tissues during gastrulation are similar in all vertebrates, and the same answers are turning up in fish and mice, despite the morphological differences in their layouts. It is misleading to focus on apparent differences in shape on a gross level, when the deeper, molecular aspects of these stages of development are homologous.

please note the very last sentence before you continue blathering onwards and exposing your (or the website you rely on for your information) igorance.

or, since it’s unlikely you will, how bout just stop lying and go get a life, eh?

Steve P. said:

Nick,

It seems both you and Josh Rosenau are purposely avoiding the central point that embryos are dramatically different during the gasturlation and/or neurulation stages (depending on the organism), which precedes the pharyngular stage. Why is that? Does Darwinism explain the hourglass development of embryos?

If fraud is too strong a word to describe why textbooks still refer to Haeckle’s drawing or use a variation of them, then it seems at the very least to be a purposeful misrepresentation intended to distract from the current knowledge we have that in fact different organism’s embryos are quite different at the earliest stages of development, taking the bite out of the claim that similarity at the pharyngular stage is evidence of common ancestry.

Steve,

So, if you are so keen on “current knowledge” why do you completely ignore all of the molecular studies that demonstrate conclusively that the most basic developmental mechanism are indeed highly conserved. Trying to cherry pick a few apparent but superficial exceptions that have already been duly noted in the scientific literature is a desperate attempt to create a controversy where none exists. Now why would you do that Steve?

This idea has been pushed back into the news recently by the news that Haeckel’s drawings of embryonic similarities were not correct. British embryologist Michael Richardson and his colleages published an important paper in the August 1997 issue of Anatomy & Embryology showing that Haeckel had fudged his drawings to make the early stages of embryos appear more alike than they actually are! As it turns out, Haeckel’s contemporaries had spotted the fraud during his lifetime, and got him to admit it. However, his drawings nonetheless became the source material for diagrams of comparative embryology in nearly every biology textbook, including ours!

… In 1998 we rewrote page 283 of the 5th edition to better reflect the scientific evidence. Our books now contain http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/e[…]Haeckel.html

Richardson: ‘‘It looks like it’s turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology’’

Olson’s revisionist history would also be news to New York Times science reporter James Glanz, who in 2001 reported that Haeckel’s “drawings were reproduced in textbook after textbook for more than a century.” Indeed, Glanz pointed out that one of the biology textbooks recycling Haeckel’s embryo drawings was co-authored by none other than Bruce Alberts, then-head of the National Academy of Sciences: In an interview, Dr. Alberts said he believed Haeckel’s drawings were ”overinterpreted,” or highly idealized, rather than outright fakes. But he said they would be removed from the fourth edition of the textbook, to appear at the end of this year. [James Glanz, “Biology Text Illustrations More Fiction Than Fact,” New York Times, April 8, 2001] Even self-proclaimed “evolution evangelist” Eugenie Scott at the National Center for Science Education hasn’t had the audacity to claim that Haeckel’s embryo drawings never appeared in modern textbooks. In an interview for the documentary version of Icons of Evolution, she explained that “the reason why the diagrams are reproduced is because they’re easily available. There’s no copyright on them. It’s an easy way to illustrate a point.” http://www.discovery.org/scripts/vi[…]&id=1220

It is true that after Jonathan Wells’ book was published in 2000 a number of textbooks removed Haeckel’s embryo drawings. But that is no thanks to defenders of Darwinism. As late as 2003, three textbook publishers were still trying to use Haeckel-based drawings in books submitted for review during the biology textbook adoption process in Texas.

ibid

Now that Haeckel’s diagrams are on their way out because of the efforts of Darwin’s critics, Olson wants to erase this embarrassing episode from the history of evolution by pretending Haeckel’s drawings were never used in the first place. Has he been reading Orwell’s 1984, by chance? Olson’s botched coverage of Haeckel’s embryo drawings may have been due initially to ignorance and sloppiness. Although in his film Olson claims to have read Wells’ book Icons of Evolution, he shows little indication of having actually done so. Since Wells’ book provides extensive documentation of the textbooks that have recycled Haeckel’s diagrams, it would have been easy for Olson to have checked the relevant textbooks if he doubted Wells’ account. But the excuse of ignorance no longer applies. At a pre-release screening of Olson’s film at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography in San Diego in April, 2006, Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin confronted Olson with copies of recent textbooks that reused Haeckel’s drawings. Later Jonathan Wells sent Olson an e-mail providing a list of recent textbooks that have included the diagrams. Olson has been informed of the facts, but he has chosen to keep hoaxing his audiences. Olson must believe his viewers are a bunch of “dodos” if he believes they are going to fall for such a complete rewriting of history!

ibid

Despite mainstream acceptance of Haeckel’s ideas, gastraea do not exist. Nor does evolution advance by adding traits to developing embryos. While there are definite similarities among developing vertebrates, Haeckel’s famous utterance can be safely dismissed. Despite the acceptance he found elsewhere, scientists in Haeckel’s native Germany considered his findings suspect. He was accused of academic fraud and pled guilty, claiming that many of his drawings were reproduced from memory. When comparing photographs of actual embryos to the drawings, however, one could conclude that Haeckel remembered only one embryo and claimed that all vertebrates looked just like it. As Michael Richardson said, “These are fakes. In the paper, we call them ‘misleading and inaccurate,’ but that is just polite scientific language” (Times London, August 11, 1997).

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2[…]0500182.html The take away point is that evolutionist like Ken Miller repeated lies and never checked out the veracity of the source.

Au contraire.

Put Haeckel aside. Is Von Baer’s law incorrect?

Are these embryos not full of evolutionary significance? Was Darwin incorrect in arguing that community of embryonic structure reveals community of descent?

I think you have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Steve P. said:

If fraud is too strong a word to describe why textbooks still refer to Haeckle’s drawing or use a variation of them,

Steve P(eterman?),

Yes, fraud is too strong a word. Despite charges akin to what you are implhying, I am unaware of anyh modernb textbook that uses Haeckel’s drawings as EVIDENCE for evolution. The textbooks I have seen that show them do so for historical purposes, and actually explain that the drawings were inaccurate. Is fraud too strong a word to describe the antic of repeatedly bringing up Haeckel’s drawings these days?

Anna Charissa said:

This idea has been pushed back into the news recently by the news that Haeckel’s drawings of embryonic similarities were not correct. British embryologist Michael Richardson and his colleages published an important paper in the August 1997 issue of Anatomy & Embryology showing that Haeckel had fudged his drawings to make the early stages of embryos appear more alike than they actually are!

Looks like another Brit out to try to make a name for himself by dredging up old news…

As it turns out, Haeckel’s contemporaries had spotted the fraud during his lifetime, and got him to admit it.

So I guess it isn’t news after all…

However, his drawings nonetheless became the source material for diagrams of comparative embryology in nearly every biology textbook, including ours!

Which text is that?

None of the 4 embryology texts I have present his drawings for any purpose.

It seems odd that creationists and Intelligent Design proponents keep harping on Haeckel being used in Biology textbooks, yet, can not be bothered to mention the exact titles of the alleged textbooks currently used.

ana, can’t you do better than cut and paste random exerpts?

The take away point is that evolutionist like Ken Miller repeated lies and never checked out the veracity of the source.

that’s not at all what the “take away” point is of the material you pasted, nor is it in any way what Miller did.

Unless YOU have something to actually say on the matter, you will find yourself being laughed at for simply posting random screeds from websites you visit.

Now that Haeckel’s diagrams are on their way out because of the efforts of Darwin’s critics,

that’s just one of many lies contained in this random, often contradictory, screed.

Anna lying creationist:

Now that Haeckel’s diagrams are on their way out because of the efforts of Darwin’s critics,

Not only is Anna lying, she was either too lazy or too dim to read the thread.

The errors in some of Haeckel’s drawings were pointed out a century ago, not by Darwin’s critics, but by other scientists who were.….Haeckel’s critics.

Fundie religious cultists have been trying to take the credit ever since. What is even stranger, at that time they barely even existed. Fundie-ism is a modern development.

Ichthyic said:

Now that Haeckel’s diagrams are on their way out because of the efforts of Darwin’s critics,

that’s just one of many lies contained in this random, often contradictory, screed.

If this moronic little girl actually read anything beyond the propaganda that’s been spoonfed to her, the real reason why people stopped using Haeckel’s diagram in biology textbooks was because people got better access to actual photographs of embryos.

The very idea that “critics of Darwin” helped this (or helped anything) is absurd.

Like the idea that “Hebrew” is not a language, but a code a bunch of manly beer-makers made up.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on June 21, 2010 5:09 PM.

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