14
Feb
09

This is also why/Open Letter to Danny Pennington

In the event you do not listen to NPR, on All Things Considered on Friday 13, 2009, this story aired. I’m sure Mr. Pennington, with his knowledge of evolutionary biology and its history, knows that Haeckel’s drawings did not appear until 1874 while Darwin wrote On the Origin in 1859. That is some interesting time travel Mr. Darwin did to use Haeckel’s drawings to support his theory. The idea that Haeckel used the drawings for, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” has sense been disproven for reasons other than Haeckel’s drawings. The feud between Haeckel and Wilhelm His, Sr. involved exaggeration on both sides of the feud between the two.

Quotes of which made me cringe:

“And there’s the Haeckel’s thing, which was overwhelming evidence for evolution,” Pennington says. “And it was completely faked.”

And this one:

Pennington still gets angry when he recalls seeing it in textbooks as a student.

“So if your faith was placed in stuff that was faked, what’s that telling you?” he asks.

Well, that’s interesting, you recall seeing it in textbooks, while this may be true, anyone using it to support evolution ignores the fact that it was intended to be a means of getting the phylogeny of an organism. We have two methods for this now: morphology and genetics. Genetics, of course, being the more accurate one.

Next quote:

“I believe it’s wrong to lie to kids. … That’s what I believe. It ticks me off … that I was lied to. It ticks me off that I was lying to kids, and you better not lie to my kid!”

And so should you, sir. With your vast understanding of biology, tell me, what evidence is there for evolution? Are you familiar with genetics at all? Are you familiar with the morphological characteristics which are compared between organisms? Do you understand the mechanisms by which evolution happens? Are you familiar with Lenski’s research? Evolution (the modern synthesis) explains the data gathered by thousands of scientists. All the genetic evidence indicates that while many scientists were incorrect in the past, many were also right.

In short, Haeckel’s drawings were not used in Darwin’s books. You claim there are holes in evolution, I implore you to state them, these are areas for further research. But for this quote:

“There are weaknesses with the theory, OK?” he says. “Evolution occurs within species, there’s no doubt about that, as far as breeding guinea pigs, and that sort of thing. But as far as evolving more complex things? That’s still out there, OK?”

Really, there are weaknesses, can you put ONE of them forward? The wording used here is also misleading and indicates being misled. Speciation has happened and is happening. A really good example are the Ensatina group of salamanders. In any case, you have claimed to know of some magical weakness in evolutionary theory, but you do not present one. You only present some hint that Darwin used Haeckel’s drawings for support, which I’ve already explained he did not, and some magical nonexistant weaknesses which you do not mention and respond with some hostility. Notice the “OK?” at the end of it. This is how one with no evidence phrases a statement which cannot be substantiated.

I am, sir, calling you out as an ostentatious ignoramus. Please prove me incorrect in this.

Jared Cormier

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2 Responses to “This is also why/Open Letter to Danny Pennington”


  1. 1 Colloquy
    February 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    LOL .. Sheesh .:-)

  2. February 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Great post! Mr. Pennington appears to be a deeply confused man.


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