A Reply to Carl Zimmer on Embryology and Developmental Biology

I recently read Carl Zimmer’s response to my critique of his November, 2006 article in National Geographic. In this post I will discuss Zimmer’s response to me regarding embryology and developmental biology. The embryonic hourglass is the idea that vertebrate embryos (like those of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) start off developing very differently, converge with some similarities at the pharyngular stage, and then again diverge. I stated in my original article that “vertebrate embryos start off quite differently,” but that “Zimmer’s diagram selectively displays embryos from the encircled stage where they are most similar.” The implication is that this falsifies the idea that evolution proceeds by tacking on new stages of development because these vertebrate groups start off Read More ›

National Geographic Evolution Article Discusses Evidence that Supports Intelligent Design (Part I)

National Geographic‘s pro-evolution articles sometimes come off like advertisements for Darwin (for an analysis of a prior ad, see here). Its November, 2006 issue has an article, “From Fins to Wings,” by Carl Zimmer which quotes Harvard microbiologist Howard Berg saying “The basic idea of evolution is so elegant, so beautiful, so simple.” With such a ringing endorsement, I expected the article to urge me to buy evolution at the local grocery store! Zimmer’s article, however, was better than many past evolution-endorsements in National Geographic. Past articles used icons like Haeckel’s false “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” concept and antibiotic resistance to sell evolution. While Zimmer’s present article retains the fallacious “the human eye was poorly designed” icon, it improves the treatment Read More ›