Icons of Evolution Home of Biologist and Iconoclast Jonathan Wells

Icons of Evolution


Review of Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker

On February 12, followers of Charles Darwin around the world will reverently celebrate his birthday, which they have christened “Darwin Day.” Known to most Americans as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12 has become for some people the secular equivalent of Christmas.

The Human Eye

To deal with and demote the exquisite sensitivity of our vision — the ability to detect a single photon — Darwinists claim that vertebrate eyes are built backwards in testimony to the haphazard ways of evolution. But as biologist and Zombie Science author Jonathan Wells explains, evolutionists are working with outdated science. It’s not ID proponents, but entirely mainstream research, that increasingly reveals the optimal design of our

Mutant Destruction

Critics of intelligent design (ID) sometimes argue that if the human body were designed, it would be perfect. Among other things, we would not suffer from diseases such as cancer. Defenders of ID point out that this criticism is misplaced. Design does not imply perfection. Many things we know to be designed (such as cars) are imperfect. The “argument from imperfection” against ID is implicitly a theological argument, namely, that God is the designer...

Whale of a Tale

Charles Darwin wrote in the first edition of On the Origin of Species that North American black bears had been seen “swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure...

Goose Stepping for Science

Imagine yourself in Moscow in 1950, taking part in a March for Science. Science in the Soviet Union had been suffering for many years under Trofim Lysenko, a third-rate biologist who promoted unsound agricultural policies. Lysenko’s ideas appealed to Joseph Stalin, who elevated him to a high position. Eventually, all criticisms of Lysenko were prohibited. Thousands of scientists lost their jobs. Some were even imprisoned or executed.

The March for Science is Really a March for Conformity

I am a scientist, but I won’t be joining the worldwide March for Science April 22. That’s because it’s really a march for something that undermines good science. March organizers say “our diversity is our greatest strength.” They say “a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process.”

Zombie Science

In 2000, biologist Jonathan Wells took the science world by storm with Icons of Evolution, a book showing how biology textbooks routinely promote Darwinism using bogus evidence — icons of evolution like Ernst Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings and peppered moths glued to tree trunks. Critics of the book complained that Wells had merely gathered up a handful of innocent textbook errors and blown them out of proportion. Now, in Zombie Science...

“In China We Can Criticize Darwin”

In June 1999, Paul Nelson and I flew to Kunming in southern China to attend an International Symposium on The Origins of Animal Body Plans and Their Fossil Record, held at Fuxian Lake Hot Springs Resort. According to the invitation letter, the symposium would take "an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of the origin and evolution of animal body plans.

Flailing Blindly

I did not watch the sixth episode of Cosmos on April 13, but I’m told that it included animations to illustrate the molecular workings of a chloroplast — the organelle that carries out photosynthesis in a plant cell. In a review of the episode posted on the blog of the censor-everything-but-Darwinism National Center for Science Education, Josh Rosenau called the animations “cartoonish industrial machinery, rather than the messy complexity of the real molecular...

The Myth of Junk DNA

According to the modern version of Darwin’s theory, DNA contains a program for embryo development that is passed down from generation to generation; the program is implemented by proteins encoded by the DNA, and accidental DNA mutations introduce changes in those proteins that natural selection then shapes into new species, organs and body plans. When scientists discovered forty years ago that about 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins...

Dawkins and Darwin’s Three-Ring Circus

Review: The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution byRichard Dawkins (New York: Free Press, 2009) Some years ago an anonymous well-wisher sent Richard Dawkins a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Evolution: The Greatest Show on Earth.” The T-shirt inspired Dawkins with the title for his latest book...

Why Darwinism is False

Jerry A. Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago. In Why Evolution is True, he summarizes Darwinism — the modern theory of evolution — as follows: “Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species — perhaps a self-replicating molecule — that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism

Misrepresenting the Galapagos Finches

According to the online critique of Explore Evolution by the National Center for Science Education: (A) EE claims that natural selection produced only oscillations in beak size in Galápagos finches, but “in the course of a few years, the size changes within species were large enough to explain the differences among the various species...

Haeckel, Darwin, and Textbooks

According to the online critique of Explore Evolution by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE): (A) EE falsely claims that Darwin accepted Ernst Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” In particular, the claim in EE that “Darwin thought that the observable similarities in different embryos revealed what the ancestors to these organisms would have looked like” [p. 66 of EE] “contradicts the majority view of...

The Problem of Evidence

If it isn’t testable, it isn’t science. The present controversy over evolution is often portrayed as the latest battle in a centuries-old war between science and religion. According to this stereotype, Darwin’s theory was a milestone in scientific progress, based on evidence that is now overwhelming, and its principal opponents were–and still are–religious fundamentalists committed to a literal interpretation of Genesis chronology. That stereotype, however, is false. First, the “warfare” metaphor is historically inaccurate. With rare exceptions, such as the Galileo affair, science and religion got along just fine before Darwin. Second, the problem is not “evolution”–which means many things–but rather

Darwin’s Straw God Argument

Charles Darwin called The Origin of Species “one long argument.” The whole point of it was to show that living things are not special creations, but modified descendants of common ancestors. Although The Origin of Species listed many facts from nature, Darwin’s argument was basically theological, and it took this general form: The facts of nature are “inexplicable on the theory of creation,” but make sense on the theory of descent with modification. By “the theory of creation,” Darwin did not mean “creation within the past few thousand years.” Young-earth creationism was not the issue. The issue was whether a creator was necessary — after the origin of life itself — to explain the features we see in living things. But the creator Darwin envisioned was

The Design of Life

About the Book The power of Darwinian evolution on the modern mind lies mainly in its contention that natural selection can account for the appearance of design without a designer. In this comprehensive overview of intelligent design (ID) in biology, mathematician William Dembski and biologist Jonathan Wells make a compelling case that design in biology is real, not an illusion. Dembski and Wells offer clear, direct, and readable discussions drawn from current science research. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the status of the ID versus Darwin debate. This book is published under the imprint of FTE Books. About the Authors William A. Dembski is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and a Senior Research

Is the “Science” of Richard Dawkins Science Fiction?

Atheist Richard Dawkins is hopping mad at the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Dawkins accuses the filmmakers of “lying for Jesus” because they make it seem that he believes in intelligent design and space aliens. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID). In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins defined biology as “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Design is only an appearance, because (as the subtitle of the book indicated) “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design.” According to Dawkins, evolution shows that the universe and everything in it can be explained by undirected natural processes such as random mutation and survival of

Darwin of the Gaps

On June 26, 2000, President Bill Clinton announced the completion of the Human Genome Project, which had just deciphered the sequence of DNA in a human cell. “Today,” he said, “we are learning the language in which God created life.” At the president’s side was Francis Collins, director of the project, who had helped to write Clinton’s speech. “It is humbling and awe-inspiring,” Collins said, “to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book...

Inherit The Spin

Darwinists Answer “Ten Questions” with Evasions and Falsehoods A year ago, I posted “Ten Questions To Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution.” On November 28, 2001, The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted its answers to my questions. A year ago, I posted “Ten Questions To Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution.” On November 28, 2001, The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted its answers to my questions. According to the NCSE, many of the claims in my questions “are incorrect or misleading,” and they are “intended only to create unwarranted doubts in students’ minds about the validity of evolution as good science.” It is actually the NCSE’s answers, however, that are incorrect or

Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution

ORIGIN OF LIFE. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how the building blocks of life formed in the Earth’s early atmosphere — when scientists actually think that the Earth’s early atmosphere was quite different and the origin of life remains a mystery? ORIGIN OF LIFE. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life’s building blocks may have formed on the early Earth — when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery?  DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE. Why don’t textbooks discuss the “Cambrian explosion,” in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a

Survival of the Fakest

[Originally appeared in the The American Spectator – December 2000/January 2001. PDF Version.] If you had asked me during my years studying science at Berkeley whether or not I believed what I read in my science textbooks, I would have responded much as any of my fellow students: puzzled that such a question would be asked in the first place. One might find tiny errors, of course, typos and misprints. And science is always discovering new things.

Icons of Evolution

Written by developmental biologist Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution has become a modern classic. Taking aim at 10 common “icons” used to bolster Darwin’s theory in widely used biology textbooks, Wells shows how they turn out to be scientific urban legends, long-refuted fakes, or misrepresentations of the scientific data. Wells’ book spurred revisions to a number of biology textbooks, and it has been translated into Polish, Czech, Chinese, and Japanese. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how high school biology textbooks present modern Darwinian theory, and particularly for anyone planning to teach evolutionary theory. Laden with extensive references to peer-reviewed scientific literature, Icons of Evolution will be impossible for a fair-minded reader to