One of the more irritating arguments in the ‘crevo’ controversy are the lies of equivocation. The game is played by a creationist pretending to be objective -when he and we all know he is not- while projecting all of his own logical fallacies onto the science-minded, who of course do not share any of those flaws. Typically that game has the creationist telling some or all of the following lies:
*Evolution is a religion.
*Science relies on faith just like religion does.
*Science is biased just like religion is.
*There is no evidence for evolution/big bang/abiogenesis, etc.
*There is evidence for creation/the flood/god/etc.
*Religion is reasonable just like science is.
*Religion can be confirmed empiracly and experimentally just like science.
*Creationism is scientific.
…and other erroneous allegations to this effect.
Some anonymous internet noob posted vague insinuations to the effect that science is a conspiracy and evolution is a fraud, that sort of thing. So I posted the following response:
Here’s a challenge for you -in two parts. (1) Name one evolutionary scientist who ever lied in the act of promoting evolution over creationism. (2) Name a professional creationist who did NOT lie when trying to defend creationism or condemn evolution.
I have asked this of a lot of people, but got no answers to either question yet.
I have posted this challenge on several discussion boards and the like over the last several years, and I know that every creationist will chant the name of Ernst Haeckel, because that’s all they’ve got, and they all think that counts. I tried to pre-empt the invariable knee-jerk reply by explaining why Haeckel does not satisfy the requirements of that challenge. So some YouTube creationist tried to make a big deal out it, calling me and Richard Dawkins both deluded liars, and imagining that he was the first person I had ever encountered who knew about Wikipedia. So I posted a more detailed explanation in the comments section of his response response video. But those comments will be buried and forgotten long before this issue is, so I thought it might be good to start that conversation here.
To clarify my position, here are my 500 character or less responses:
As I explained in the video, ‘Ida Done Better’, a lie is a false statement presented as true, or a truth misrepresented to appear false, with a deliberate attempt to deceive. The problem with Haeckel in this case is that he didn’t think he was deceiving anyone. He was showing something he thought to be true. He made assumptions without references, and his embellishments were intended to make what he saw more obvious to others. I can’t say that is honest, but neither can I call that a lie
Despite his education, Haeckel wasn’t so much a scientist as he was an artist, and his fraud was a typical advertising ploy. It is as if he didn’t know that the scientific community considered it dishonest to embellish drawings to enhance or exaggerate your point. Whether that is really what he thought or not, once he was called out on it, he admitted that is what he did. He could have lied about that, but he didn’t.
Finding a dishonest scientist in the 19th century isn’t difficult. There is an evolutionary scientist still around today whom I consider to be dishonest, and I’ve brought him up in at least one of my speeches for that reason. But that person isn’t trying to promote evolution over creationism. One of his co-conspirators is a creationist, but he’s not making that argument either. You have to understand the context and requirements of the question.
Even if Haeckel conceded and corrected his mistakes in subsequent editions, it is still true that a half dozen of his drawings were deceptive. However I asked for an evolutionary scientist who lied in the act of promoting evolution over creationism. That means whomever you cite has to compare those two options. Haeckel promoted his own brand of embryology over another evolutionary alternative. I don’t think he ever even mentioned creationism. That wasn’t even an option still on the table.
I like asking this question because Haeckel is always the only answer anyone could show to be both dishonest and relevant to the topic. To your allegations against both Dawkins and Haeckel here, there is a point where their comments overlap, and you accusation is on that point. For clarification of that, I suggest you watch the first couple minutes (1:58) of target=”_blank”>this video, and target=”_blank”>this one from 5:47 to 9:14.
The point of both of my questions is to show that science doesn’t need to lie and doesn’t want to. That’s because science is a search for truth. Creationism on the other hand is not a search; it is wholly dishonest. It requires lies because it is based on lies. That’s why I can show you actual factual truths about evolution, but you can’t show me anything you actually know to be true of creation instead.
Now since I told this person -in advance- that despite everything indicated above, Haeckel was still the only attempted answer creationists could come up with, he tried to throw some mud at Richard Dawkins too. So all you brilliant people, does Haeckel satisfy this challenge?
Will anyone satisfy -either part- of this challenge?