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Theory of Evolution and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation

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A notable case of a scientists using fraudulent material to promote the theory of evolution was the work of German scientist and atheist Ernst Haeckel. Noted evolutionist Stephen Gould wrote the following regarding Ernst Haeckel's work in a March 2000 issue of Natural History:

"Haeckel’s forceful, eminently comprehensible, if not always accurate, books appeared in all major languages and surely exerted more influence than the works of any other scientist, including Darwin…in convincing people throughout the world about the validity of evolution... Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities [between embryos of different species] by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases — in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent — simply copied the same figure over and over again.…Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start. Haeckel’s drawings, despite their noted inaccuracies, entered into the most impenetrable and permanent of all quasi-scientific literatures: standard student textbooks of biology... Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because…textbooks copy from previous texts.... [W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!"[1]

Stephen Gould continues by quoting Michael Richardson of the St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, who stated: "I know of at least fifty recent biology texts which use the drawings uncritically".[2]


Creationists have written regarding the fraudulent nature of Haeckel's work and how a prestigious German science journal published his dubious work.[3][4]

Intelligent design theorist Michael Behe publicly exposed the fraudulent nature of Haeckel's embryos in a NY Times article.[5] It appears as if Stephen Gould was irritated that the fraud was exposed in a manner that publicly embarrassed the evolutionary community - namely though a high profile NY Times article.[6]

Dr. Jonathan Wells published a book in 2002 entitled Icons of Evolution. Dr. Wells contends that the book shows that "the best-known “evidences” for Darwin’s theory have been exaggerated, distorted or even faked."[7][8][9][10]

Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten was a professor of anthropology at Frankfurt University for 30 years before he was forced to resign.[11] It was found that he falsified dates on many "stone age" fossils which included a skull fragment named Hahnhöfersand Man which supposedly linked humans and Neanderthals.[12] The scientific fraud only came to light when he was caught attempting to sell his department's complete chimpanzee skull collection to the United States.[13] An investigation later established that he had also passed off fake fossils as genuine ones.[14]

The most famous case of a hoax perpetrated on scientists in regards to the evolutionary view was the case of Piltdown man.[15] More recently, although it might not have been the result of a deliberate hoax, the Archaeoraptor was a large embarrassment to National Geographic.[16][17]

The Nebraska man (also called Hesperopithecus haroldcookii) was a case of speculation. Nebraska man was promoted based on the find of a single peccary-like tooth (wild pig-like tooth). Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, head of the Department of Palaeontology at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, wrote the following in the press concerning Williams Jennings Bryan:


Dr. Tim White, anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley, gave the name "Flipperpithecus" to a supposed "humanoid species" arising from a fossil find that is most likely part of a dolphin's rib.

“The earth spoke to Bryan from his own state of Nebraska. The Hesperopithecus tooth is like the still, small voice. Its sound is by no means easy to hear... This little tooth speaks volumes of truth, in that it affords evidence of man’s descent from the ape."[18][19]

Nebraska Man was debated vigorously among evolutionary paleoanthropologists for five years until Dr. Gregory King Williams published a refutation of the find in the journal Science which ended the debate[20] Nebraska man never gained wide acceptance by evolutionary scientists although it enjoyed coverage in the Illustrated London News.[21][22]

In addition, the science journal New Scientist recently reported the following regarding the fossil which was dubbed "flipperpithecus":

"A five million-year-old piece of bone that was thought to be a collarbone of a humanlike creature is actually part of a dolphin rib...The problem with a lot of anthropologists is that they want so much to find a hominid that any scrap of bone becomes a hominid bone." - Dr. Tim White (anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley). As quoted by Ian Anderson "Hominoid collarbone exposed as dolphin's rib", in New Scientist, 28 April 1983, p. 199[23]

Inflated claims of evolutionists growing in frequency and intensity

In recent times, despite their being little consensus on how evolution allegedly occurred according to the various theories of evolution, evolutionists have tried to convince the public of the supposed validity of the evolutionary position by increasing and frequently using the term "overwhelming evidence" or similar terms in relation to the alleged existence of evidence that supports their position.[24] For example, prominent atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins claimed in an interview with journalist Bill Moyers that there is "massive evidence" for the theory of evolution.[25]

See Also



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