Hello Richard,

Interesting. I remember these drawings from when I was a child, and them having a profoundly convincing effect on my belief in evolution, etc. Until now I had not heard of them being fraudulent. I actually found them fascinating.

Is there an updated, honest representation of these drawings that one can study and show to others. I was looking through the articles but they all come back to these original ones.

I expect, although all these embryos start from zygotes indiscernible without DNA analysis, their divergence starts much sooner than depicted, and magnifies on a different trajectory.

In the end, I don’t think it negates intelligent design in any way, but rather, supports it. Building blocks and tools can be used to make a multitude of items. For example, using raw metal bars and sheeting, hammers and a welder, you can build anything form horseshoes to trains and bridges.

Cheers,   [email from a friend]

Richard had written the following to our friend in response to questions about German evolutionist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919):

Michael Richardson et al.’s 1997 article in Anatomy and Embryology, exposing Haeckel’s fraud, can be accessed here:

The first attachment (below) is a pdf of Elizabeth Pennisi’s brief 1997 article bringing Richardson’s work to the attention of a broader public. The other two attachments show scientific correspondence arising from Richardson’s work, including a noteworthy letter from Michael Behe.

Here’s a handy creationist summary of Richardson’s article, by Russell Grigg:

James Hanken’s (Richardson’s coauthor) article “Beauty Beyond Belief” (Natural History, Dec. 1998, pages 56-59) is available here:

(That article, in the first paragraph, talks about Haeckel’s influence on Naziism.)

Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote an article about Haeckel’s drawings and their continued use in textbooks, titled “Abscheulich! (Atrocious!)” This article appeared in Natural History magazine, March 2000, pages 42 to 49. That whole issue of Natural History is available here (but the page numbers don’t show):

(Louis Agassiz’s “Atrocious!” comment appears on page 48, which is the second-last page. You can turn the pages by clicking the arrows at bottom right.)

Jonathan Wells’s 1999 article (“Haeckel’s Embryos and Evolution: Setting the Record Straight.” American Biology Teacher) is available here:

Wells’s 2001 article (“Survival of the Fakest.” American Spectator) can be viewed here:

Casey Luskin’s comprehensive 2007 analysis of biology textbooks regarding the use of Haeckel’s embryo drawings is here:

And here again is Casey Luskin’s more recent list of textbooks still showing Haeckel’s fraudulent drawings:

The attachments:

Pennisi article – Haeckel’s fraud.pdf

Richardson letter re Haeckel.PDF

More letters re Haeckel.pdf