Revolutionary Communists Use Junk Science to Push Darwinism and Abortion
A friend forwarded me Instagram posts from a group backing the protests, which calls itself “The voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.” Two memes from “therevcoms” aim to taunt “Christian fascists” by posting pictures that compare the embryos of humans and other animals. These pictures show them as nearly identical:
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Those who follow the evolution debate may recognize these pictures. They are the infamous embryo drawings created by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel. He was an early supporter of eugenics, scientific racism and Darwinian evolution in the 19th and 20th centuries.
No Better Than Animals?
It turns out that the cow embryo in therevcoms’ diagram is mislabeled. It’s really the rabbit embryo from Haeckel’s original drawings. This was likely an innocent mistake. But our revcom friends might reply, “That’s proves our point! The embryos are so similar that it’s easy to mistake one animal for another!”
And what’s the point of the memes? It seems to be that human embryos are so much like animal embryos that they deserve no special moral or ethical treatment.
I’m sure another point is to taunt those “Christian fascists” who doubt claimed evidence that humans share a common ancestor with other animals. But therevcoms’ whole argument is based upon junk science. And it’s been known to be false for over a century. Critics have long disputed Haeckel’s embryo drawings for overstating the degree of similarity between vertebrate embryos in their early stages.
Refuting Haeckel’s Junk Science
Decades ago, the late Stephen Jay Gould called Haeckel’s methods “fraudulent.” That’s because Haeckel “simply copied the same figure over and over again.”
The journal Science noted that “generations of biology students may have been misled” by the drawings. It quoted embryologist Michael Richardson slamming them as “one of the most famous fakes in biology.” Science went on to explain that the drawings:
show vertebrate embryos of different animals passing through identical stages of development. But the impression they give, that the embryos are exactly alike, is wrong, says Michael Richardson, an embryologist. … He hopes once and for all to discredit Haeckel’s work, first found to be flawed more than a century ago. … Not only did Haeckel add or omit features, Richardson and his colleagues report, but he also fudged the scale to exaggerate similarities among species, even when there were 10-fold differences in size.
The figure below, from Icons of Evolution by biologist Jonathan Wells, compares Haeckel’s embryos to accurate drawings of vertebrate embryos:
Scientific papers back up major differences between vertebrate embryos. During development, an embryo first becomes a tiny ball of cells. This lays out the basic body plan. Next, the embryo forms tissue layers that will later grow into organs. Yet a paper in Systematic Biology states that these “early stages … can vary quite extensively across vertebrates.”
The journal Nature cites “remarkable divergence between related species both early and late in development.”
Richardson’s research found “wide variation in morphology among vertebrate embryos [that] is difficult to reconcile” with Haeckel’s version. And just last month, he wrote in a paper that there are “significant differences among vertebrate embryos.”
Today Haeckel’s embryo drawings have been pulled from most (but not all) biology textbooks. This is because of all this evidence showing that animal embryos have great differences in their early stages.
Who is Sounding Like Fascists?
So, who is aligning with the “fascists” here? Is it the Christians or the abortion activists? History documents that the Nazis relied upon other elements of Haeckel’s bad science, like his disgusting claims that biology proves that human races have unequal value. They did this to justify genocide against Jews, the Roma people and others.
Haeckel’s junk science has been used in the past to devalue human life. In fact, his work helped inspire Hitler and the Nazis. Now revolutionary communists are repeating history by using Haeckel’s fake drawings to support yet another genocide. This time it’s a genocide against the unborn. Who’s really resembling “fascists” here?
Casey Luskin is a scientist, attorney, and public defender of intelligent design with a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Johannesburg and a law degree from the University of San Diego. Follow him and his work at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture at caseyluskin.com.