It’s also not “Meyers”. As promised, Kent Hovind has uploaded his “Whack An Atheist – PZ Meyers” video to YouTube, and I’m so disappointed, since he didn’t whack me at all. He spends the whole time ranting and raving about Ernst Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law, insisting that any mention of pharyngeal structures in embryos is a lie, and that embryology does not support evolution. There are more than a few problems with his argument.
- I am not Ernst Haeckel. He died before I was born.
- I do not accept the Biogenetic Law, and no biologists do anymore.
- The only way I teach the Biogenetic Law is as an example of theory that was shown to be wrong. I try to get them to understand that labeling something “theory” does not mean it’s infallible.
- Conflating “gill slits”, a colloquial term for the non-respiratory pharyngeal structures of the embryo, with “gills”, is Hovind’s error, not that of any biologist. I’ll agree that “gill slit” is confusing term, but I haven’t seen it used in the scientific literature lately, so who cares.
- That Haeckel’s explanatory theory is wrong does not invalidate the embryological observations of homologous structure in the pharynx of embryos. They’re there. Accept it.
- The similarities in embryos are real, and constantly having to deal with creationists who think that they aren’t because one 19th century embryologist exaggerated and misinterpreted them is tiresome.
- The similarities do constitute evidence in support of evolution. Again, interpreting them to imply a sequential, linear pattern of progressive change is erroneous. That would be a creationist flavor of historical change, rather than an evolutionary one.
Throughout, Hovind repeatedly challenges me and others to a debate. There’s a reason I’m not going to do that: Hovind relies entirely on strawmanning me, and I’d have to spend most of the “debate” trying to explain how he doesn’t understand evolution, embryology, or me.
Also, charmer that he is, references the fact that evolutionary biology is taught at Kent State, says “we all know what happened there”, and explains it away as thanks to the students being taught that “they were animals”. That would be the moment in any debate where I’d have to dither, trying to decide between walking off the stage or kicking Hovind in the balls first, then walking off the stage. It’s the eternal dilemma when engaging someone as vile as Hovind.
If he wants to debate anyone, apparently he really wants to engage Ernst Haeckel. Go to Jena, Germany, where he died in 1919. Bring a shovel.