|Evidences of Evolution: Comparative Embryology
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
Summary. All animals start life as a single cell. The human heart goes through stages of increasing complexity beginning as a constricting tube and ending as a complete four chambered pump. Those observations are seen by evolutionists as an animal replaying its own evolutionary history. Such evidence can be seen a pointing to an all-wise Creator instead of replaying some alleged evolutionary history. Lies and fraud abound in the textbook presentation of exaggerated similarity of early embryos. Be informed. Inform others. Think!
Introduction: This essay is quite different from the others for here the standard textbook evidence contains lies, fraud and purposely-intended miss-information. It was the evidence from Comparative Embryology more than all others that first showed me something was dreadfully wrong regarding science and the Bible. I still remember the cold chills I felt as I saw an encyclopedia version of the early embryo drawings we are about to discuss. I was in the 5th grade and living in Ohio. Little did I know then the pictures were based on fraudulent drawings! From that point on I have been interested in the many conflicts between modern science and the Creation account in God’s Word. The dance continues still.
Evidence from embryology: There is an oft-quoted phrase one hears in college biology classes regarding embryology. It rolls off the tongue rather nicely: “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” College students around the dinner table at home can use the phrase with good results. The parents will be so impressed with what their son or daughter is learning in college that more money and possibly a new car will be forthcoming. The phrase simply means that during embryologic development (ontogeny) the embryo replays (or recapitulates) its own evolutionary development (phylogeny). It is true the human heart starts beating when the baby is only two and a half weeks old. It is also true that the human heart at this stage consists of little more than a contracting tube, not unlike the heart of an earthworm. The human heart then progresses through stages in which it resembles the hearts of adult fish and amphibians. Certainly just prior to birth the human heart is akin to the heart of a reptile with most of the blood bypassing the lungs. Could the developing human heart be portraying its own evolutionary history in which it has developed through worm-like, fish-like and reptile-like stages? It is also true all vertebrates begin life as a single fertilized egg and gradually become miniature adults. That is, the early embryos do show certain similarities be they fish, bird or mammal. Why would God have planned its development thus? Was God attempting to trick us? I think NOT! Read on.
A more scientific view: No trickery is involved. Indeed one can see the awesome wisdom and plan of God-the-Creator as one studies embryology. Many differences in early embryonic development of various animals do exist as well, yet these seem often to be sweep under the dogma table of evolution. Let me explain.
It would seem God in His infinite wisdom recognized the need for two kinds of organ development. Organs needed during embryonic development such as the heart and kidneys start simple and develop more fully as the needs of the tiny embryo increase. At two and a half weeks the human embryo needs very little blood and a simple tube-heart is antiquate. Prior to birth is would waste energy to send all the blood through the lungs while gas exchange is occurring in the placenta, thus the need to bypass the lungs. Pulmonary circulation is much more complex than textbooks imply at the introductory level. For example, diving alligators totally bypass the blood around their lungs for it would waste energy to profuse the lungs while underwater. On land all the blood goes through the lungs just like in mammals. Sorry for the digression, must be teacher in me. Now back to the issue.
God also knew other organs would not be used in embryonic life so they develop late and in final form. Lungs and sex organs are good examples of these kinds of organs. Lungs are not required until birth and the sex organs develop much later at puberty.
So there it is in a nutshell. The evolutionist selectively looks only at organs and organ systems that seem to go through different stages in embryonic development and in it they see a replaying of evolutionary history. They are being dishonest for they ignore other organ development that seems contrary to the evolution dogma. For example, the late development of lungs would imply humans evolved relatively recently from ancestors that lacked lungs. Of course that makes no sense and is ignored. Similarly, the very late development of human sex organs (well after birth, at puberty) would suggest we evolved very recently from animals lacking sexual reproduction. Nonsense! Read on. There is much more to this story for lies and fraud abound.
Fraudulent textbook evidence: One of Darwin’s most outspoken defenders was Ernst Haeckel. He has often been called, “Darwin’s Bulldog.” The name served him well. In 1891 the biologist Ernst Haeckel proposed one of the most influential arms of evolution. His "biogenetic law" has endured as evidence for evolution until recent times. The idea continues to be perpetuated among those who learned Haeckel's "law" as fact during their formal education. He published several research papers over the next few years that still today influence high school and college textbooks. A series of drawings were shown in the papers in which early embryos of a variety of vertebrates look surprisingly similar whether fish, turtle, bird, dog or human. It was this series of drawings that so frightened me as a 5th grade science student. I will post a series of drawings at the end of this essay with more explanation. Let me now uncover the fraud known to be in our children’s high school and college textbooks.
Embryo drawings from a typical high school or college textbook.
Original Haeckel drawings from which the textbook drawings were drawn.
Ernst Haeckel cheated when he drew the drawings. He made the early embryos look more alike than they actually did. He even used the same woodcut drawing three places and placed different labels under the drawings. He actually did this twice, once for the egg and once for the primitive streak stage. Here is the kicker. He was found out to have cheated by his peers. He was then accused of fraud, tried in a court of law, found guilty, paid a fine and finally admitted he had been dishonest. I have very little problems with him cheating. We have had fraudulent data in science before. Remember the Pitdown Man hoax? More recently the often-pictured horse evolution progressing from small to large modern horse has been shown to be a hoax as well. Most such material when proven to be a hoax is no longer used. What troubles me about the Haeckel embryo drawings are they still appear in high school and college textbooks as factual. For years I was troubled as to why such fraudulent material would be reproduced year after year in textbooks. The answer is really quite simple. There is so little actual scientific evidence supporting evolution that fraudulent evidence is better than no evidence. It would seem to me that concerned Christians should organize and actively block the use of such teaching material for our youth. Perhaps of even more importance, if you are a science student and have swallowed the whole evolution dogma and actually thought it was well supported by the evidence maybe it is time for you to examine some of your basic beliefs about evolution, science and God.
Upper drawings of a human and dog from Hackel. Notice they look alike. The lower drawings are the ones Hackel said he copied. Notice how very different they actually were. He cheated.
Go deeper: This is an excellent topic for deeper study. One of our small group members, Joe sent the following hyperlink. If you want to go deeper this is an excellent place to start Does God Exist Thanks Joe. The above home page has lots of useful information. Check it out: www.doesgodexist.org. Be informed. Inform others.