Open any high school or college textbook and turn to the section on evolution. No doubt you will see all sorts of supposed evidence for evolution: the peppered moths in England, Darwin's finches in the Galapagos, Ernst Haeckel's embryos, biochemical experiments purporting to simulate the early Earth. They are all quite convincing, and they are all quite wrong.
That's the thesis of Dr. Jonathan Wells in his new book entitled Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth. His contention is that these stories have become the icons of evolution and continue that way even though scientists now know they are wrong.
And the impact of his book goes beyond just the intelligent design debate. A month ago, Michael Kinsley dismissed the pro-life objection to stem cell research in one of his columns because it was based on faith. He said that science shows us that something similar to evolution takes place namely "that we each start out as something less than human, that the transformation takes place gradually."
As Nancy Pearcey points out in a recent article in World magazine, this is nothing more than a restatement of the old biology principle that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." As Jonathan Wells demonstrates in his book, that whole principle is based upon faked diagrams and fraudulent data. Haeckel's contemporaries charged him with fraud, and today nearly everyone in the scientific community believes the drawings were doctored.
But here's the point: the diagrams still appear in most high school and college textbooks. So do many other icons of evolution. Some are misinterpretations. Others are deliberate frauds. Yet they can be found in nearly every textbook.
Jonathan Wells has provided a necessary service. Whether you believe in creation or evolution, you should be concerned about scientific errors in our children's textbooks.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.