Ernst Haeckel was a pioneer zoologist and taxonomist whose numerous contributions to biology go largely unnoticed compared to a couple rather odd errors. First, he proposed that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", suggesting that embryonic development reflects the organism’s evolutionary ancestry. To illustrate this, he produced about a hundred drawings of embryos at various stages. But he later admitted that about a half-dozen of them were ‘falsified’ due to a lack of visual references. The fact that any of his drawings were admittedly without reference has disgraced Haeckel’s name in the annals of science.
Darwin wrote that embryology contained compelling evidence of evolution. Creationists dismiss this on the assumption that Darwin’s theory was inspired by Haeckel’s fraudulent drawings, and that consequently, evolution is a fraud. But of course the truth is the other way around. Darwin referred to real embryos; Haeckel’s drawings didn’t even exist until years after Darwin’s final publication.
What is especially sad about Haeckel’s “embellishments” was that they were unnecessary. Creationists adamantly complain that textbooks referred to his admittedly inaccurate drawings for so long. But for some reason, they continue to accuse those authors of fraud even when those books replace the drawings with microphotographs which still indicate those same evolutionary parallels which Haeckel envisioned. Now his original assumption that embryonic development would indicate adult species in an organism’s ancestral history was proven false by 1910. But the fact Darwin recognized, that embryology does provide testable confirmations and predictions of phylogeny was already evident before Haeckel ever picked up his pencil, and has recently began a new embryological study known as “evo devo”. Among other discoveries, this field revealed the evolutionary origin of the feather, as implied by transitional stages in the fossil record, and summarized in the formation of feathers in developing chickens.
It is no hoax that mammalian embryos temporarily have pharyngeal pouches, which are morphologically indistinguishable from the gill slits in modern fish embryos, and that the divergence of development from there matches what is indicated in the fossil record. This is fact, not fraud. And none of these facts should be true unless evolution were true also.
100 years ago, the only human fossils yet known were a few Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, and Homo erectus. Then an English attorney and amateur archaeologist presented bones and associated artifacts of what appeared to be an as-yet unidentified species. British Imperialists were generally accepting of the news, but French and American scientists were skeptical, doubting that the skull and jaw even belonged together. The British museum touted the “Piltdown man” as authentic, but the American Museum of Natural History displayed it only as a “mixture of ape and man fossils”, which is what it eventually turned out to be.
There was no way to adequately examine such things back in 1915. Chemical tests –common today- didn’t yet exist and we didn’t yet have a practical understanding of radiation. And before the first australopiths were discovered, we didn’t know exactly what to expect of the links that were then still missing between humans and the other apes known at that time. But as we began filling in the gaps in human evolution with thousands of legitimate fossils, a pattern emerged which left Piltdown an increasingly obvious anomaly. Consequently it was taken off display and stored away almost continuously for decades. It lost importance in most discussions because, in light of everything else we discovered over the next few decades, it just never fit, and was eventually dismissed from the list of potential human ancestors for that reason.
As the years wore on, criticism arose against everyone who ever promoted the Piltdown collection because there seemed to be so much wrong with it. Finally, in the 1950s, it was taken back out of the box and scrutinized via more modern means. First fluorine dating revealed that it was much too recent, and it was shown to have been chemically-treated to give a false impression of its age and mineral composition. Then it was finally determined that the jaw must have come from an orangutan, and that it had been deliberately reshaped with modern tools in a well-crafted and deliberate forgery.
No one knows who did it either. And more importantly, why? Errors were already known and previously reported, but few ever suspected fraud because, what would be the motive? Nearly everyone who stood accused was a man of high reputation and credentials. Maybe that was the motive. Maybe Piltdown man was just a joke that had gone too far. But no one was laughing, and they weren’t going to let it happen again.
Even before the Piltdown hoax was officially exposed, an American paleontologist earned himself a life-time of embarrassment when he found a tooth from an extinct species of pig in Nebraska, and mislabeled it, Hesperopithecus. The cheek teeth of pigs and peccaries are fairly similar to ape molars, and this one was badly worn such that Henry Fairfield Osborne initially believed it to be human. But the real embarrassment came when he publicized his find in a popular magazine rather than submitting it for peer review first.
Creationists like to say that scientists were as duped by Nebraska man as they were by Piltdown man. But they weren’t. Everyone who saw the fossil agreed that it did look like an ape’s tooth. But with only a couple tentative exceptions, the entire contemporary scientific community either immediately rejected the accuracy of Osborne’s assertions, or they demanded more substantial evidence to back them. He obviously couldn’t provide that evidence despite another five years of searching. Eventually, he came to the sad realization that his fossil probably wasn’t really human after all. His more skeptical associate, W.K. Gregory then published a formal retraction in scientific journals.
Creationists often accuse scientists of contriving the illustration of Nebraska man and of conjuring a whole skeleton and facial construct out of a single tooth that was never even human in the first place. But the fact is that the magazine commissioned their own ‘artist’s impression’, and scientists of the day, including Osborn himself, immediately reacted with harsh criticism. As a result, the article was never reprinted.
Now even though Piltdown man was eventually exposed by evolution itself; and even though Nebraska man was simple stupidity, honestly and voluntarily admitted, and even though there were no other such examples in the history of paleoanthropology, -creationists still portray both of these events, and many others, as if they were all part of some ridiculous unified international conspiracy intended to fool the world into believing evolution over creation ex-nihilo. These paranoid propagandists also commonly contend -based only on these exceptions- that each of the thousands of fossil hominids we’ve found and confirmed before and since were all proven to be fakes too –even when the alleged authorities making these claims are already-exposed charlatans currently imprisoned for fraud.
Some forty examples of Peking man were lost in World War II. But they were just part of a subset of Homo erectus, and not the only evidence of human evolution. Modern man didn’t just come from a monkey, but as a member of the infraorder, Catarrhini, he is a monkey by definition! Cro-Magnon wasn’t a different species; they were just the first of our own species known in Europe; displacing the sons of Heidelberg man. Homo heidelbergensis was “quite human” because he was a human, just not the same species we are. And it was never known from a single jawbone either, but from more than 4,000 bones representing nearly 30 individuals found in one site alone, and there are still dozens more. Their evident descendants, the Neanderthals weren’t “just an old man with arthritis” either. We’ve found hundreds of Neanderthal men, women, and children, and even their DNA, which has provided proof that they were not part of our species! None of the experts believe “Lucy” was a chimpanzee. All the experts agree that australopiths lie between humans and modern apes, or that they were simply basal human forms. Nebraska man was never accepted by the scientific community. Piltdown man was the only such fraud that ever duped scientists, and there’s never been a fossil of “New Guinea man” because he is apparently a lie made up out of nothing by the author of this entirely fraudulent religious tract.
“Homo habilis was made up of at least two -if not more-
different groups that did not belong together.
They’re an assemblage of several different types of animals
put together and made into one.”
“That’s not entirely accurate.”
Actually we’ve found the remains of dozens of Homo habilis individuals, and about a half-dozen Homo rudolfensis too. These were once thought to be distinct hominine species, but they’re so similar that many paleoanthropologists now consider them to be two variations of one species.
“Homo erectus or “Java man” isn’t a half-man, half-ape either.
The man who discovered it admitted before he died that it was a fraud.
He confessed that he had found an ape’s skull about fifty feet away
from a human leg and two human skulls.
And had mixed-and-matched to create a fictitious creature.”
“Are YOU a rotten liar!”
The two modern skulls weren’t fifty feet away; they were found in a cave over sixty miles away! Despite the many lies repeated by Duane Gish and other creationists, Java man was just one out of hundreds of Homo erectus individuals documented thus far.
Also, Homo floresiensis wasn’t microcephalic; there was a whole community of them. Similarly “Lucy” wasn’t assembled from bones found miles apart; those were different individuals who each bore their own independent evidence of strict bipedality. And the total number of hominin fossils will no longer fit on a pool table either; now you’ll need a whole pool!
Even though there’s now been innumerable examples of natural selection acting under direct observation, and a multitude of experiments gauging these, creationists are still trying to deny even the first of these observances, the peppered moths of industrialized England. Creationists say that was a fraud too, because the photos had to be staged, not for the normal convenience of photography, but because these creationists claim that peppered moths don’t rest on tree bark. But a thirty year study by Cambridge University revealed that in fact most of them do!
“You lied to me!”
“To some people in this world,
money is more important than truth;
and if they have to lie to you
to keep their paycheck coming in,
they will lie to you.”
“And so I am!”
“If you do the research, you’ll find that a Chinese farmer
glued together the head of a bird and the parts of a reptile,
and completely fooled the world-wide scientific community
including National Geographic with what they thought
was a transitional form. It was called Archaeoraptor.”
“You’re always wrong.”
Only a handful of scientists ever saw Archaeoraptor, but every one who did noted that it was composite piece, and the artistic amateurs who paid for the fossil were repeatedly warned that some parts of it might not even belong to the whole. Popular press foolishly scooped the story prior to peer review, where it was instantly exposed as a fake by multiple experts, and each submission to scientific journals was immediately rejected. Archaeoraptor therefore fooled no one in the scientific community at all.
The irony there is that the tail of the alleged archaeoraptor turned out to belong to the as-yet undiscovered Microraptor, a four-winged and apparently gliding feathered dinosaur which turned out to be even more compelling proof of avian evolution from dinosaurs than Archaeopteryx was in Darwin’s day.
The scientific process of peer-review seeks out and exposes fraud by design. But antievolutionist arguments are withheld from peer-review because they are driven entirely by frauds including misstatements, out-of-context quote-mining, and contrived or distorted falsehoods, and terms erroneously redefined into instigative reactionary nonsense unintelligible as anything other than propaganda. In short, if creationists knew how to expose a fraud, they wouldn’t be creationists anymore.