The DI certainly is obsessed. They recorded Olson at a screening of Flock of Dodos, and are now claiming that he backtracked on Haeckel’s use in textbooks. It’s only backtracking if you accept the DI’s false premise that he claimed in the movie that there was absolutely no sign of Haeckel’s diagram in biology text—a claim I’ve already shot down.

If they want to claim he backtracked, they should just quote the movie—you know, the part where he says the diagrams aren’t found in the textbooks “other than a mention that once upon a time Haeckel came up with this idea of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny”. Does qualifying a comment in the same sentence count as “backtracking”? To the DI, perhaps.


  1. says

    The Discovery Institute is composed of such outright frauds, it’s really a shame that they’re still running and people are actually giving money to them. Shouldn’t DI lose its non-profit status for being so consistently dishonest? Aren’t there some standards of decency for non-profits?

  2. Matt T. says

    Look at it this way. The ID folks are either dishonest or deluded. They either know what they’re peddling has no scientific foundation and very little theological backing and they don’t care as long as they can screw around with science, or they’re so blinkered by religious zealotry (or more likely existential terror) the refutations of their bass-ackwards interpretations of biology (and theology) just bounce off their noggins.

    Wow, that was a long sentence. Sorry. Anyhow, the point is, the ID folks, either by fiat or by accident, are actively harmful to the spread and absorbtion of knowledge by the general public. By muddying the playing field with their nonsense, they retard the overall progress of society because we’re too busy collectively refuting the dumbass diagram “gotch” for the 278th time this month because most of us poor, dumb bastards ain’t got the time to do the research. We don’t need mendacious goobers causing distractions because they can’t handle not being the center of goddamn creation.

    Not to speak the professor’s mind, but Prof. Myers is an educator. His job is to get the knowledge into young minds so that when they go out into the world, even if they aren’t biologists, they have the proper information to help them make the right choices for whatever may occurr. Never know when that stuff might come in handy.

    Don’t see what’s so difficult about that. Intelligent Design is an empty scam. Someone should call bullshit on it, and since the University pays the man cause he knows all this stuff, wouldn’t it be part of his job sorta?

  3. RickD says

    I saw the Flight of Dodos on Friday night. The point about the Haeckel drawings was that they were done about a hundred years ago, and were really not part of the modern educational curriculum. And, FWIW, I do recall seeing the drawings somewhere along the way in a biology book or article of some sort. (Checks…)

    Uh oh – they appear to be used in Ernst Mayr’s book “What Evolution Is”, published in 2001, but the citation goes back to a text published in 1990: Evolution. Citation is
    Stickberger, Monroe W., _Evolution_, 1990, Jones and Bartlett, Publishers, Sudbury, MA. The caption points out simply that all the embryos have the same number of gill arches, a point which I surmise remains unchallenged.

    The problem here is that what should be simply treated as an embarrassing error where a drawing done 140 years ago is misleading, is treated by the DI as evidence of active fraud. They are not involved in the pursuit of truth as a scientific endeavor, but are involved in the attempt to destroy arguments, as lawyers would be. One has to wonder at what exactly the DI’s platform _is_ here. In “Flock of Dodos”, the IDers were no longer allegedly trying to rebut evolution either on the micro- or macro- scale, but simply to say that it must have been guided by design. Why the recidivism into name-calling?

    I think the proper attitude to take, which is Olson’s attitude, is that these drawings have been discredited and do not in any way serve as foundational material for evolution as it currently is taught.