Friday, December 24, 2010

A 142-year old Fraud is STILL in your 7th Grader's Science Book!

SHAME on Dr. Donald Cronkite, Ph.D., author of the extremely popular 7th grader's Science textbook, Pearson Prentice Hall's Cells and Heredity in the Science Explorer series, for parading junk science as truth to our youth.

My two sons are both in 7th grade, one in public and the other in Christian school. Both schools are using Cronkite's textbook. Cronkite, who is Professor of Biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan (, resuscitates the Recapitulation theory of evolutionist Ernst Haeckel, first formulated in 1868. This theory is also known as the Biogenetic Law or Embryological Parallelism - and is often taught to college students with the catchy phrase "Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny". Listen to the 2005 edition of the Prentice Hall textbook, on page 149, where this is what Dr. Cronkite and your 7th grade science class teacher are instructing your child:

Figure 8
Since Darwin's time, scientists have found a great deal of evidence that supports the theory of evolution. Fossils, patterns of early development, and similar body structures all provide evidence that organisms have changed over time.

Similarities in early development. Scientists also make inferences about evolutionary relationships by comparing the early development of different organisms. Suppose you were asked to compare an adult fish, salamander, chicken, and opossum. You would probably say they look quite different from each other. However, during early development, these four organisms are similar, as you can see in Figure 8. For example, during the early stages of development all four organisms have a tail and a row of tiny slits along there throats. These similarities suggest that these vertebrate species are related and share a common ancestor.

Haeckel's embryo drawings.
The top row has been faked and
the four right-hand collumns are
all from the same taxonomic subclass.
What is wrong here? This is a basically a repeat of Haeckel's 1868 Recapitulation theory. Haeckel's hypothesis is that developing from embryo to adult, animals go through stages resembling or representing successive stages in the evolution of their remote ancestors. He "proved" this with a series of embryo drawings from different kinds of animals emphasizing their similarities.

Haeckel's series of pictures was first shown to be based on a fraud by Professor His in 1874. Professor His showed that  that Haeckel had added 3.5 mm to the head of Bischoff''s dog embryo, taken 2 mm off the head of Ecker's human embryo, doubled the length of the human posterior, and substantially altered the details of the human eye. Haeckel confessed the fraud, but by then it had taken on a life of its own.

Eminent evolutionists up until the present know that Haeckel's recapitulation theory is junk science. For example, Stephen Jay Gould, who invented the theory of punctuated equilibrium to try to explain away the problem that evolutionists could not locate any intermediate forms in the fossil record, said this about Haeckel's fraud: "We 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."

Fast forward to today. Dr. Donald Cronkite decided to use as his "Figure 8" Michael K. Richardson's picture from Scott Gilbert's book Developmental Biology, 6th edition. However, in Richardson's own review paper titled "There is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates: implications for current theories of evolution and development." Richardson says the following: 

Contrary to recent claims that all vertebrate embryos pass through a stage when they are the same size, we find a greater than 10-fold variation in greatest length at the tailbud stage. Our survey seriously undermines the credibility of Haeckel’s drawings, which depict not a conserved stage for vertebrates, but a stylised amniote embryo. In fact, the taxonomic level of greatest resemblance among vertebrate embryos is below the subphylum. The wide variation in morphology among vertebrate embryos is difficult to reconcile with the idea of a phyogenetically-conserved tailbud stage, and suggests that at least some developmental mechanisms are not highly constrained by the zootype.

This is basically saying the exact opposite from Cronkite's statement to 7th graders, that "these similarities suggest that these vertebrate species are related and share a common ancestor."

Now there are still some evolutionists who would spring to Cronkite's defense, even 142 years after the fraud was first hatched. For example, Steve Matheson in his blog entry "It’s just a stage. A phylotypic stage", complains that some "propagandists and demagogues" are "shadow boxing with Haeckels' ghost" for political purposes! (I suppose that includes yours truly).

I would say the opposite, SHAME on Dr. Cronkite and all of his ilk for brazenly passing off Haeckel's hoax of recapitulation to our youth. It is sad that science teachers are forced to meekly accept what is passed off as truth within textbooks, or do not take the time to find out for themselves the accuracy of those textbooks.

Furthermore, this so-called Racapitulation theory has a very dubious heritage, as pointed out in the article by Dr. Henry Morris. Areas of science that quietly use the ideas of Racapitulation as their centerpiece include the Standard Geologic Column, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Modern Racism, and Abortionism. Abortionists say, "the fetus is still in its fish stage so you are just cutting up a fish" to convince young women that killing their child is acceptable!

Please examine your 7th grader's textbook and look for a Haeckel-type picture. If you find one, explain the truth to your child and to their science teacher. Creatures did not evolve based on their similarities, they were created by a wonderful God who demonstrates his love through their amazing diversity! For more information, see the book of Genesis in your Bible, and the ongoing and fantastic findings by modern-day creation scientists on websites like Creation Wiki


Cells and Heredity, Science Explorer series, 2005. Pearson Prentice-Hall.

Gilbert, Scott F. 2000. Developmental Biology. 6th edition. Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer Associates.

Gould, Stephen Jay. 2000. Abscheulich! Atrocious! Natural History, March, 2000, p. 45.

Mattheson, Steve. 2010. It’s just a stage. A phylotypic stage. Part I, accessed 12/24/2010.

Recapitulation Theory, 2010. Wikipedia.

Rudd, Steve, Piltdown Embryo, accessed 12/24/2010.

Was Darwin the first to think up Evolution? 2009, accessed 12/24/2010.

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