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Customer Review

on February 6, 2001
How would you react if told that you and your children have been lied to in science lessons at school and university? Yet this is exactly what has been happening for decades, as `Icons of Evolution' demonstrates.
The author, a Berkeley Ph.D in Biology, is not a creationist, but his book describes many serious misrepresentations of facts commonly found in biology textbooks, which are used to perpetuate belief in evolution. The main part of the book describes ten of these `icons', devoting one chapter to each, and shows what is wrong with them in the light of published scientific evidence. The chapters are all fairly brief, and each is divided into short sections, to make the material easier to assimilate. The author's thesis is amply documented with 71 pages of research notes at the end of the book.
The lie is not always, or even usually, on the teacher's part, since many teachers are ignorant of the facts concerning these `icons'. They simply pass on what they themselves have been taught at school and university.
A particularly embarrassing yet persistant icon is Haeckel's `biogenetic law'. Embryologists have known about Haeckel's faked embryo drawings for many decades, and some evolutionists have long since dropped this icon from their repertoire, though they usually downplay the fraudulent aspect, and some still try to make residual capital out of the idea. But Douglas Futuyma used Haeckel's drawings uncritically in an advanced text, `Evolutionary Biology', 1998. When a critic accused him of lying, Futuyma posted a message to an internet forum explaining that he had been unaware of the discrepancies between Haeckel's drawings, and actual vertebrate embryos. Even then he still insisted that "all the vertebrate embryos ... really do have gill slits" (even emphasising the words `really do'). Yet it is a well documented fact that the pharyngeal pouches in mammalian embryos are not gills and do not have perforations.
It's bad enough for a professor in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York to be so ignorant of the facts, but Wells let him off too lightly. You see, Futuyma published another book (`Science on Trial', 1983, 1995) which contains a damning critique of creation science, and which has been given a 5-star rating by his anti-creation admirers. This raises an intriguing question. Did Futuyma read any of the works by creation scientists as part of his research for `Science on Trial'? If he did, then he could not have failed to learn about Haeckel's fraud, and therefore was himself guilty of fraud in `Evolutionary Biology'. If he didn't, then he wrote his damning critique of creation science with no first-hand knowledge of what he was criticising! If I were one of those reviewers who uncritically gave it a 5-star rating, I'd be awfully embarrassed!
What is the reason behind this widespread misrepresentation? One reason is simply corporate ignorance. But there is another, more disturbing reason. Among evolutionists, there is a hard core who are passionately devoted to a materialistic ideology, and are quite prepared to use dishonest means to further that ideology.
"Apparently, dogmatic promoters of Darwinian evolution fear that without these icons public faith in their claims will disappear, so they knowingly misinform our children and suppress scientific evidence."
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