On evolution and fraud

Why is evolutionary theory so full of deliberate frauds?

Published: 26 August 2017 (GMT+10)

T. M. wrote to us claiming that while there are many examples of fraud in the history of evolutionary science, they are not significant because they do not refute the core of evolution. He also angrily asserts that creationist have likewise been guilty of perpetuating deliberate fraud.

piltdown-man
An artist’s ‘reconstruction’ of Piltdown Man.

Your science fraud epidemic article shows how commonly people pursue money or personal agendas over truth. However, creationist material on fraud in biology and paleontology is limited to details within existing theory. Things like Piltdown don’t dominate or really impact core evolutionary theory. Besides, evolutionists exposed the fraud.

What serious instances of fraud have been exposed by creationists? Creationists imply that the whole of neo-Darwinism is based on falsified data. What specific fraudulent publications can you cite that are so foundational that their retraction would topple everything? What specific details have been fabricated? How do we know? See Matthew 7:1–5.

I have investigated several fraud accusations at creationists. Gish’s “Have you been brainwashed?” is just one example, published with numerous errors long past when it was exposed. Besides “Arguments Creationists Should NOT Use”, how have creationists fought to squash poor integrity among creationists?

CMI’s Joel Tay responds:

Your science fraud epidemic article shows how commonly people pursue money or personal agendas over truth. However, creationist material on fraud in biology and paleontology is limited to details within existing theory.

Of course! If it were not ‘within existing theory’, it would be irrelevant to evolution. A counterfeit dollar note is only counterfeit if it is meant to replicate what a person thinks characterizes a dollar bill. Thus Monopoly money is not counterfeit, because it was never intended to be used outside the game. In the same way, if a paleontological fraud were not within existing theory, it would be irrelevant to evolution. More importantly though, these frauds were made precisely because there was a need to substantiate particular claims of evolution where no existing evidence were available. That is the reason why frauds like Piltdown man were so easily accepted into mainstream evolutionary thought. They had a just-so-story of human evolution that was in need of scientific evidence, and when Piltdown man came along, they massaged it into their hypothesis to prop up their story.

Things like Piltdown don’t dominate or really impact core evolutionary theory. Besides, evolutionists exposed the fraud. What serious instances of fraud have been exposed by creationists?

On the contrary, Piltdown man was extremely influential in shaping evolutionary thinking and early research on human evolutionary theory. For the four decades before it was exposed, Piltdown man was considered the ‘missing link’. It was used as one of the key evidences against creation in the Scopes trial. It altered the education in the United States for a whole generation and found its way into major science textbooks and encyclopedias—and it was a hoax. There were over 250 publications on Piltdown man alone!1 The implications for evolutionary theory were tremendous. Entire evolutionary-developmental theories about hominid evolution were based on Piltdown and many of those were demolished when the fraud was exposed. 250 publications! It would be nothing short of historical revisionism to downplay its significance.

As for evolutionists exposing fraud, that is precisely the point! The best evidence that can be presented in a court of law is an admission against interest. It is one thing for an opponent to claim fraud exists. It happens all the time! And we have often pointed out the numerous mistakes evolutionists make in many of our articles. But when someone from the evolutionary camp comes along and testifies against a key aspect of evolution, that testimony carries a lot more weight. In any case, CMI has often encouraged readers to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to dubious claims made by the media concerning the latest evidence for evolution. In most cases, the science corrects itself after a few months; and the corrections have often served to embarrass the evolutionary case. For example, in the Archaeoraptor case, CMI cast doubt about the fossil before it was even confirmed by National Geographic to have been a fraud a month later.

Creationists imply that the whole of neo-Darwinism is based on falsified data. What specific fraudulent publications can you cite that are so FOUNDATIONAL that their retraction would topple everything? What specific details have been fabricated? How do we know?

First of all, we do not say that all of neo-Darwinism is based on falsified data. Rather, we have always pointed out that the scientific data does not speak for itself and always has to be interpreted in light of an a priori presupposition. For this reason, we often say that creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence—the same rocks, the same stars, the same fossils; but the reason why we come to different conclusions is that we have different starting assumptions, and therefore interpret the same evidence differently. It is not falsified data that accounts for most of the wrong conclusions of evolution, but the wrong interpretation of the data, and this error stems from having wrong presuppositions. For this reason, CMI’s approach to apologetics is classified as Classical Presuppositionalism. Here is an example of our general approach:

A lie implies intentional deception, not just falsehood. As you could see from searching our site, we are very sparing with accusations of ‘lying’ (although some evolutionists justify deception and are just being consistent), as opposed to having a faulty interpretive framework. (However, we won’t deny that this prior adoption of this faulty framework is culpable according to Romans 1:20 and 2 Peter 3:3–7, and foolish (Psalm 14:1). But the point remains that a valid deduction from a faulty framework is not a lie.)

Furthermore, it is a naive view of science to assume that evidence refuting branches of evolutionary theory alone can result in toppling the entire tree (i.e. core theories). As Jonathan Sarfati and Lita Cosner correctly point out in their respective articles (based on the logical insights of Imre Lakatos) [quoting Lita]:

A scientific theory has lots of auxiliary hypotheses attached to it, so if something appears to contradict the theory, the auxiliary hypothesis can be changed, leaving the major theory virtually unchanged.

In this case, Piltdown man is one of the many auxiliary evidences used by evolutionists to explain evolution. When Piltdown man was discovered to be a fraud, evolutionists simply discarded it without questioning the core theory (i.e. evolution) itself. This works for both creationary and evolutionary science. Scientific theories and models are often discarded without drastically affecting the core theory. It is naive to assume that by demolishing auxiliary hypothesis alone, we can foundationally topple a core theory. However, that does not mean that the toppling of auxiliary hypothesis is not significant. As we have already shown, 250 papers were published on Piltdown man alone as it was considered the ‘missing link’ for many years. When Piltdown was exposed, it had tremendous repercussions throughout evolutionary thought.

Likewise, when Archaeoraptor was first published, it was hailed by National Geographic and many other evolutionists as the missing link between dinosaur and birds:

With arms of a primitive bird and the tail of a dinosaur, this creature found in Liaoning province, China, is a true missing link in the complex chain that connects dinosaurs to birds. … We can now say that birds are theropods just as confidently as we say that humans are mammals.2

Of course when this pillar of evolution was exposed as a fraud, and National Geographic had to publish an embarrassing retraction, it again did not demolish the core theory of evolution—an ideology that, for all intents and purposes, is largely unfalsifiable regardless of the evidence contrary to it. (So is the core theory of evolution really science or a religion if it cannot be falsified by evidence?)

In both cases, Piltdown man and Archaeoraptor, they were promoted as key pillars in human and bird evolutionary thought, and both were exposed as deliberate fraud.

See Matthew 7:1–5. I have investigated several fraud accusations at creationists. Gish’s “Have you been brainwashed?” is just one example, published with numerous errors long past when it was exposed. Besides “Arguments Creationists Should NOT Use,” how have creationists fought to squash poor integrity among creationists?

First of all you did not point out what you disagree with in Gish’s tract. Furthermore, even if it is true that Gish made some errors, what has Duane Gish got to do with Creation Ministries International? The late Dr Gish was primarily associated with the Institute for Creation Research, not Creation Ministries International. His writings are not published by us. And why are you obsessed with a tract that’s over 40 years old? How about keeping up to date? We advise our own readers to do that, e.g. Slaying yesterday’s dragons. Moreover, you have not demonstrated places where Biblical creationists have deliberately promoted fraud in teaching creation.

Second, our document, ‘Arguments creationists should not use’ was created so that there would be a single site where readers can have all of these false arguments compiled together. It is frequently updated and expanded.

Third, these are arguments we encourage creationists not to use due to either unsubstantiated claims or to claims which are scientifically untrue. However, I am not aware of any leading Biblical Creationists who would knowingly promote fraud in the same way evolutionists have deliberately faked evidence such as Piltdown man, Haeckel’s Embryos, staged photos of peppered moths, Nebraska Man, Monera, and Archaeoraptor. One evolutionist even goes so far as to suggest promoting fraud if the end result allows for more students to believe in evolution. But why should we be surprised by this? After all, evolutionists do not have a sound foundation for objective morality in their worldview. But Christians have a very different foundation for ethics.

Fourth, you mentioned Matthew 7:1–5. Here, the context is limited to hypocritical judgment for in the very same chapter, in verse 15–20, we are told to judge a tree by its fruit. Jesus also told us, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24)—we never see atheopaths citing this passage for some reason! By this standard, the evolutionary tree, in contrast to the creationist tree, is known for being peppered by a long history of deliberate fraud. It has been judged and its fruit has been found wanting.

Joel Tay

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