Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Darwinian Evolution’s Exposed Frauds

Posted by Tony Listi on January 22, 2008

The Piltdown Man
In 1912 in Sussex, England, amateur paleontologist Charles Dawson discovered what appeared to be a skull with a human-like cranium and an ape-like jawbone. The “missing link,” a transitional organism fossil, had apparently been found.
But in 1953 radiocarbon dating revealed that it was a fake. Dawson had attached a modern orangutan jaw modern to a 1000 year old human skull. In fact, the jaw was stained with potassium bichromate and the teeth where filed down to make them look more human.

Archaeoraptor
In 2000, this half-bird, half-dinosaur found in China and smuggled to the U.S. was also proven a hoax. A fake tail had been glued on another fossil to try and increase its value when sold on a black market.

The Peppered Moths
I remember being taught this example in school. It was supposed to be a real life demonstration of natural selection at work. According to this story, black moths evolved from white moths. It was theorized that that the white moths were easily seen on industrial revolution-blackened trees and thus were easily seen and eaten by predators. The black moths, however, blended in and avoided predators. Thus the environment naturally selected darker moths. In the 1950s, Oxford biologist E. B. Ford actually set up an experiment to test this theory. It was a fraud though.
Ford and his assistant placed lightly-colored moths on black tree trunks in broad daylight. But lepidopterist (moth specialist) Ted Sargent and others pointed out that peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks but on the underside of high branches and are nocturnal! Thus the experiment was rigged; placing moths where they would not normally be at a time that they would not even be active.
Yet evolutionary fundamentalists won’t let go of this one that is still taught in schools.

Embryo Drawings
I remember seeing embryo drawings in my biology textbook. German biologist, eugenicist, racist, and proto-Nazi Ernst Haeckel first drew the embryos of various vertebrate animals. They all looked the same and thus were evidence that they all had a common ancestor in the evolutionary chain. Darwin himself claimed the “facts” of embryology to be “second to none in importance” and “by far the single strongest class of facts” supporting his theory.
But in the 1990s, British embryologist Michael Richardson and his team of researchers actually looked at vertebrate embryos through a microscope. Photos were published in the August 1997 issue of the journal Anatomy & Embryology. The photos look nothing like Haeckel’s drawings! In fact, Haeckel had used the same woodcuts for some embryos and doctored others to make sure they looked alike. Even his contemporaries charged him with fraud.

Computer Simulations of Eye Evolution
Richard Dawkins, well-known evolutionist, claimed in his book River Out of Eden that computer models exist that can simulate or recreate the evolution of the eye.
However, the senior author of the study on which Dawkins based his claim, Dan E. Nilsson, has explicitly rejected the idea that his laboratory has ever produced a computer simulation of the eye’s development.

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4 Responses to “Darwinian Evolution’s Exposed Frauds”

  1. Deacon said

    Do you mind providing citations? I would like to use these examples elsewhere, but I’m not finding any mention of them in article searches.

  2. Ediacaran said

    Deacon, the following link may help (comments rebutting I.D. Creationism advocate Berlinski’s quibble regarding stochastic computer simulation vs. mathematical model by Nilsson), especially since “Darwinian Evolution’s Exposed Frauds” may leave the false impression that Dawkins’ minor mistake in characterizing Nilsson’s mathematical model to one run on a computer somehow obviates the results showing how quickly the eye can evolve with even minor incremental changes. Whether the calculations are modelled on a computer or run on a calculator or with pencil and paper misses the central point.

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/blurred.cfm#lund

    One of the letters is by Nilsson himself, and says in part:

    “Contrary to Berlinski’s claim, we calculate the spatial resolution (visual acuity) for all parts of our eye evolution sequence. The functions in Figure 1 display the results. These plots are computer generated, using small increments. Values and units are given on the axes of the plots, and procedures are explained in the legend. The underlying theory is explained in the main text, including the important Equation 1 and a reference to Warrant and McIntyre (1993) where this theory is derived. Yet, Berlinski insists that “Nilsson and Pelger do not calculate the visual acuity of any structure”. It would be much simpler for Berlinski if he went just a tiny step further and denied the existence of our paper altogether.

    Had these and all his other points been unfortunate misunderstandings, I would have been only too happy to help, but I get the distinct impression they are deliberate attempts to eliminate uncomfortable scientific results. Why does Berlinski not read up on the necessary scientific background? Why does he so obviously misquote our paper? Why has he never asked me for the calculation details he claims to want so badly? It is simply impossible to take Berlinski seriously.

    Berlinski is right on one point only: my paper with Pelger has been incorrectly quoted as containing a computer simulation of eye evolution. I have not considered this to be very serious, because a simulation would be a mere automation of the logic in our paper. A complete simulation is thus of moderate scientific interest, although it would be useful from an educational point of view.

    The Nilsson and Pelger (1994) paper remains scientifically sound, and it has not been challenged in any scientific journal with a peer review system. I do not intend to take any further part in the meaningless debate with Berlinski. But if his essay was an April fools’ joke I must congratulate the editors and others involved.”

    Nilsson’s comment may leave a completely different impression than the summary in “Darwinian Evolution’s Exposed Frauds”.

  3. Ediacaran said

    For a rebuttal to creationists’ false claims of fraud on the part of E. B. Ford and Bernard Kettlewell (as well as their ludicrous claim that moths don’t rest on tree trunks), please read the following articles:

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/moonshine.cfm

    http://ib.berkeley.edu/courses/ib160/padian.html.old

    The latter is a review of the creationist book “Icons of Evolution — Science or Myth?: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong”. The book was written by Intelligent Design Creationist John Corrigan Wells (a.k.a. Jonathan Wells). Here’s an excerpt from the review:

    “The peppered moth. — A particularly egregious example of Mr. Wells’ talents is his treatment of the peppered moth, an “icon” of industrial melanism and natural selection. Voluminous data — not just from Kettlewell’s classic experiments — show that the frequencies of light and dark Biston betularia (and several other moths with multichromatic morphs) change with pollution levels, that light and dark moths are differentially camouflaged against light and dark backgrounds, and that birds eat moths. Most lepidopterists, even Kettlewell’s critics, conclude that although there may be subsidiary causes, bird predation is the major cause of the changes in color frequency (Majerus, 1998), a clear result of natural selection.

    Wells picks through the literature in search of studies where even a single detail of the original story may not hold, and implies that such anomalies refute the vast amount of confirmatory data in support of natural selection. He notes a study in which light moths did not increase in frequency after air pollution was reduced, but fails to mention the role of migration and gene flow between populations, or that the light colored morph has now recovered in all populations (Grant et al., 1998). He cites research that claims that lichens are not always present on tree surfaces, but forgets that the color of the substrate is critical, not the presence or absence of lichens. He counters with research on industrial melanism in ladybird beetles that does not follow the peppered moth pattern, as if the lack of selective predation in one species precludes it for another.

    Wells accuses Kettlewell of no less than research fraud for affixing light and dark moths to light and dark tree trunks, and recording which ones got picked off by birds in these field experiments. Wells erroneously claims that moths don’t rest on tree trunks, although research shows that moths rest on trunks 26% of the time, and on trunk/branch junctions 43% of the time (Majerus, 1998:123). He also leads the reader to infer that the staged experiments are the only basis of the conclusion that bird predation causes the color changes. But the experiments were conducted to establish whether birds eat peppered moths at all, and if so whether birds differentially select moths that contrast with their backgrounds. The bird predation hypothesis is inferred from the statistical data on observational release and recapture experiments conducted by Kettlewell and others. Combined with experimental evidence that birds differentially select prey from contrasting backgrounds, the inference of bird predation is doubly strengthened. Wells pretends righteous indignation about “fraudulent,” “staged” textbook photos of light and dark moths against light and dark backgrounds. But these photos merely illustrate the field experiments that tested Kettlewell’s hypothesis — a reasonable and expected part of science. Can Wells be so ignorant of this investigative tradition?”

  4. Ediacaran said

    Here’s Dawkins from several years ago, explaining the evolution of the eye, with reference to Nilsson, that the creationists are finally writing deceptive apologetics against:

    Here’s part 2:

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