Assmuth, J. and Hull, Ernest R. Haeckel's Frauds and Forgeries. London: Examiner Press,

 

Assmuth, J. and Hull, Ernest R. Haeckel's Frauds and Forgeries. London: Examiner Press,
1915.

This reference derives from Hitching's The Neck of the Giraffe. The book is a reprinting of four
newspaper articles which appeared in the Bombay, India, Examiner. It seems that Haeckel's
Riddle of the Universe, a book written for the general public, had been issued by the Rationalist
Press Association. The "clerical press" objected to this presentation of evolution and criticized
the Rationalist Press and the author. One of their objections was this: Haeckel had made fast and
free with some sketches in the book. Haeckel, these critics charge, had deceived by phonying
data, by sketching specimens designed to prove the case for evolution.

The charges that Haeckel was faking it with phony sketches are not new. As early as the 1860s,
Haeckel had been accused of doctored data, viz, the "enhancement" of drawings of embryos
which were supposed to show similarities in development. He was trying to demonstrate the
usefulness of his "biogenetic law." By such means, Haeckel persuaded the public of the
correctness of the theory of evolution.

Haeckel responded to the charges by suggesting that yes, his pictures had been touched up, but
that such trifles were frequently used by biologists to make their points. (He was defending
himself by charging that everybody does it. Unfortunately, he does not offer any evidence that
anybody else was doing it. Of course, his defense is an indictment of the entire field - if it is
true.) Haeckel's frauds were defended by Darwinists who saw that Haeckel was on the right
track, merely a bit overenthusiastic. He did, they insisted, have the right theory. They did not see
his "crime" as serious.