Confessions of the Evolutionists, Chapter 24

BY: SUN STAFF - 17.1 2023

A serial presentation of the book by author Harun Yahya.

Confessions Regarding the Invalidity of Recapitulation

The Theory of Recapitulation, first proposed by Ernst Haeckel towards the end of the 19th century, claimed that during their embryological development, living things repeated the evolutionary process experienced by their forerunners.

He suggested, for example, that during its development in its mother's womb, the human embryo exhibited first fish-like and then reptilian features, before finally becoming human. Subsequently, however, it emerged that this theory was totally a figment of the imagination. In fact, Haeckel himself confessed to the frauds he had perpetrated in the illustrations he produced to support this imaginary scenario. The fact that some evolutionists still put credence to Haeckel's imaginary scenario, and the illustrations that he admitted were fraudulent, shows how far they have lagged behind the scientific literature.

Ernst Haeckel:

After this compromising confession of "forgery," I should be obliged to consider myself condemned and annihilated if I had not the consolation of seeing side by side with me in the prisoner's dock hundreds of fellow-culprits, among them many of the most trusted observers and most esteemed biologists. The great majority of all the diagrams in the best biological textbooks, treatises and journals would incur in the same degree the charge of "forgery," for all of them are inexact, and are more or less doctored, schematised and constructed. [ccclxi]

George Gaylord Simpson Professor of Zoology at Columbia University:

Haeckel misstated the evolutionary principle involved. It is now firmly established that ontogeny does not repeat phylogeny. [ccclxii]

From an article in American Scientist:

Surely the biogenetic law is as dead as a doornail. It was finally exorcised from biology textbooks in the fifties. As a topic of serious theoretical inquiry it was extinct in the twenties . . . . [ccclxiii]

From an article in Science magazine:

The impression [Haeckel's drawings] give, that the embryos are exactly alike, is wrong, says Michael Richardson, an embryologist at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London. . . . So he and his colleagues did their own comparative study, reexamining and photographing embryos roughly matched by species and age with those Haeckel drew. Lo and behold, the embryos "often looked surprisingly different."

Not only did Haeckel add or omit features, Richardson and his colleagues report, but he also fudged the scale to exaggerate similarities among species, even when there were 10-fold differences in size. Haeckel further blurred differences by neglecting to name the species in most cases, as if one representative was accurate for an entire group of animals. In reality, Richardson and his colleagues note, even closely related embryos such as those of fish vary quite a bit in their appearance and developmental pathway. "It [Haeckel's series of drawings] looks like it's turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology,' Richardson concludes. [ccclxiv]

From an article in New Scientist:

[Haeckel] called this the biogenetic law, and the idea became popularly known as recapitulation. In fact, Haeckel's strict law was soon shown to be incorrect. For instance, the early human embryo never has functioning gills like a fish, and never passes through stages that look like an adult reptile or monkey. [ccclxv]

 

FOOTNOTES:

[ccclxi] Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong, New York: Ticknor and Fields , 1982, p. 204.

[ccclxii] G. G. Simpson, W. Beck, An Introduction to Biology, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, , 1965, p. 241.

[ccclxiii] Keith S. Thomson, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny Recapitulated," American Scientist, Vol. 76, May/June 1988, p. 273.

[ccclxiv] Elizabeth Pennisi, "Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered," Science, 5 September, 1997.

[ccclxv] Ken McNamara, "Embryos and Evolution," New Scientist, vol. 12416, 16 October 1999.