Century of Slander

The first species, Homo primigenius, or the ape-man, the ancestor of all the others,
probably arose in the tropical regions of the old world from anthropoid apes. Of these
no fossil remains are as yet known to us, but they were probably akin to the gorilla
and orang of the present day. The three following woolly-haired species, and of them
the Papuan Negro mentioned next are, among living races, the nearest to Homo primigenius.
— Ernst Haeckel, Pedigree of Man, Freethought Publishing, 1883.

Indigenous peoples, especially the natives of Terra del Fuego, Papua and Australia, should hire some sharp lawyers and go after evolutionary biologists — maybe even after Darwin’s estate or Haeckel’s. You see, not only have evolutionists been heaping baseless slander on these people for over a century, they published countless science books full of slander like that, made a living off it, and furthered their careers by it.

In his 1865 book Prehistoric Times, John Lubbock gave a quick summary of the state of the art, at the time, of the evolutionist’s thinking on indigenous peoples:

Travellers and naturalists have varied a good deal in opinion as to the race of savages
which is entitled to the unenviable reputation of being the lowest in the scale of civilisation.
Cook, Darwin, Fitzroy, and Wallis were decidedly in favor, if I may so say, of the Fuegian;
Burchell maintained that the Bushmen are the lowest; D’Urville voted for the Australians
and Tasmanians; Dampier thought the Australians “the miserablest people in the world;”
Forster said that the people of Mallicollo “bordered the nearest upon the tribe
of monkeys;”
Owen inclines to the Andamaners; others have supported the North
American Root-diggers; and one French writer even insinuates that monkeys are
more human than Laplanders.
(pg. 445-446)

While we can’t guess in what context this french author meant that monkeys are more human than Laplanders, we can be sure that an evolutionist like Lubbock will repeat it so as to give his reader a not too subtle suggestion that Laplanders are a transitional form between monkeys and man. A few decades later on, in History of Creation (volume 2, 1887), we find Haeckel lecturing more explicitly on the ‘indigenous peoples = monkeys and apes’ equation, which had by then become a grand theme of evolutionary biology…

At the lowest stage of human mental development are tlie Australians, some tribes
of the Polynesians,, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes…
some of the wildest tribes in southern Asia and eastern Africa have no trace whatever
of the first foundations of all human civilization, of family life, and marriage. They live
together in herds, like apes, generally climbing on trees and eating fruits; they do not
know of fire, and use stones and dubs as weapons, just like the higher apes… They
have hardly risen above the lowest stage of transition from man-like apes to ape-like men,
a stage which, the progenitors of the higher human species had already passed through
thousands of years ago.
(pg 363-364.)

Haeckel then suggests that it isn’t a bad idea to classify these indigenous peoples with the animals rather than humans.

Now, if instituting comparisons in both directions, we place the lowest and most ape-like
men (the Austral Negroes, Bushmen, and Andamans, etc.), on the one hand, together
with the most highly developed animals, for instance, with apes, dogs, and elephants,
and on the other hand, with the most highly developed men Aristotle, Newton, Spinoza,
Kant, Lamarck, or Goethe we can then no longer consider the assertion, that the mental
life of the higher mammals has gradually developed up to that of man, as in any way
exaggerated. If one must draw a sharp boundary between them, it has to be drawn between
the most highly developed and civilized man on the one hand, and the rudest savages on
the other, and the latter have to be classed with the animals. This is, in fact, the opinion
of many travellers, who have long watched the lowest human races in their native countries.
Thus, for example, a great English traveller, who lived for a considerable time on the west coast
of Africa, says: “I consider the negro to be a lower species of man, and cannot make
up my mind to look upon him as a man and a brother, for the gorilla would then also have to be
admitted into the family.”
(pg 365.)

Notice how, in the last part, Haeckel takes a statement intended as invective against “the negro”, and turns it into a point for evolution. It is as if we would cite a teacher heaping opprobrium on his class of sixth-graders, “look at those morons, they’re no better than baboons” and present it in a science book as a piece of scientific evidence for man’s origin from apes. History of Creation was, after all, a science book, and an acclaimed one at that. The rest of the book contains many nuggets of evolutionary wisdom, such as these:

“The chimpanzee builds himself a house or shelter almost equal to that of some savages…
So long, indeed, as he was confined to the tropics, he may have found a succession of fruits,
and have lived as the monkeys do now. Indeed, according to Bates, this is the case with some
of the Brazilian Indians. “The monkeys” he says “lead in fact a life similar to that of the Pararauate
Indians.” (pg 475-476.)

This is an easy sort of science isn’t it? Just sit back in your arm-chair, light up a spliff or a crack-pipe, and make up any sort of analogy between indgenous peoples and monkeys or apes that your heart desires. Haeckel, as well as others, got very much mileage out of it. In Wonders of Life (1905), Haeckel explores new dimensions of this kind of anthropological science:

The lowest and oldest savages come very close to the anthropoid apes from which
they have descended, in bodily structure
and habits… The value of the life of
these lower savages is like that of the anthropoid apes, or very little higher… Other scattered
remnants of these ancient negroid dwarfs, which approach closely to the anthropoid apes
All recent travellers who have carefully observed them in their native lands, and studied their
bodily structure and psychic life, agree in this opinion… Their only interests are food and
reproduction, in the same simple form in which we find these among the anthropoid apes.
(pg 392-393.)

What an astonishing statement! So now, it isn’t just that savages are similar to apes in “mental life,” “habits” or “interests”, but “bodily”, anatomically! These indigenous people, according to Haeckel and others, are anatomically similar to apes! By Jove, if you thought that evolution science was improving and ‘correcting itself’ since 1839 when Darwin said comparable idiocies about the Fuegians, you thought wrong!

Speaking of that, in Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin famously relates his impressions of the natives of Terra del Fuego. Since then, the Fuegians, like the Tasmanians and others, have been a staple in the evolutionist’s pantry of ‘primitive almost-ape-men’ who are ‘nearer to our monkey ancestors’ etc. And they have been a regular target of evolutionary slanders by biologists who need to make their daily bread somehow. Darwin was actually making a ridiculous analogy between civilized men versus Fuegians on the one hand, and domesticated animals versus wild ones on the other. David Stove explains…

When Darwin first encountered the Yahgan Indians in their homeland of Tierra del Fuego,
he was thunderstruck. “I could not have believed how wide was the difference between
savage and civilised man: it is greater than between a wild and [a] domesticated animal”…
But in fact Darwin was mistaken about the Yahgans: indeed, just about as completely
mistaken as it would have been possible to be. We know this from the testimony of a man who
was born and spent most of his life among them. This was Lucas Bridges, whose parents were
Christian missionaries to the Yahgans, and the first white settlers in Tierra del Fuego, only a
few decades after the Beagle’s visit.

Darwin, and everyone else on the Beagle, believed that the Yahgans were cannibals. In fact they
were so far from being so that, among them, even to eat the flesh of a condor earned opprobrium,
because that bird might have eaten human flesh. Their language, Darwin wrote, “scarcely deserves
to be called articulate”. But Lucas Bridges’ father compiled a Yahgan dictionary of 32,000 words,
which did not pretend to be complete at that. Darwin thought the Yahgans were careless and even
brutal towards their children; in fact they were intensely devoted to them. Their religion was as
important to them as it is to every primitive people; Darwin was unaware of its very existence.
And as for their everyday social life, much of it was, even by Darwin’s own description, “just like home”.
There was, for example, lying and detestation of liars; theft aid recognition that theft is a crime;
men who alienated the affections of other men’s wives, amid general disapproval; and so on. All of
which was no doubt equally true of the civilised people on board the Beagle, even under the command
of that most formidable autocrat, Capt. Robert Fitzroy.

Yet Darwin actually said, as we have just seen, that the difference between the Yahgans (say) and
the people on the Beagle (say) is greater than the difference between a wild and a domesticated animal!
Just a few weeks earlier, he had had a blazing row with Fitzroy, as a result of which he thought he
might be obliged to leave the ship. Now suppose Fitzroy had marooned him among the Yahgans, with
only the clothes he stood up in. There would then have been only two ways he could have survived:
by being sustained, like a Yahgan child, by the generosity of the adults; or by getting food every day,
as the adults did, without even the assistance of fish hooks or bows and arrows, in one of the most
appalling climates and inhospitable terrains on earth. Then he would have seen the world rightly! In
particular he would have seen rightly the difference between civilised and savage man. He would have
seen that if the Yahgans were wild animals, or something more foreign still, then so was he; and that,
since he clearly was not that, then neither were they…

Marooning Darwin with the Fuegians. Now there’s a fine idea! With Haeckel too. A few years of living among the savages would have set those two aright. Perhaps they would have been cured of that detestable habit of theirs, of comparing Fuegians, Australians and Africans to apes and monkeys.

Although Lucas Bridges’ account refutes — long long ago — everything that Darwin said about the Fuegians, and everything that Haeckel said about the Fuegians, and everything that any other evolutionist said about them, especially those tales where the Fuegians were held up to be an example of some kind of near-ape… and yet despite this… why should Lucas Bridges’ account, or any other account stop an evolutionist? Clearly, the evolutionist Ed Clodd (his real name, not making it up) had no need of Lucas Bridges and his account. This is what Clodd says in Story of Creation, 1904.

Yet even in brain-structure the differences between [man] and the chimpanzee are slight when
compared with the differences between the brain of the chimpanzee and the lemur. It is in the
deeper furrows and the more intricate convolutions that the distinction lies; but even
here the gap between civilised and savage man is greater than that between the savage and
the man-like apes.
Therefore, in following evolution to its highest operations and results,
the comparison lies between the several races of mankind. Darwin… describes
the Fuegians, who rank amongst the lowest savages, as men “whose very signs and expressions
are less intelligible to us than those of the domesticated animals, men who do not possess the
instinct of those animals, nor yet appear to boast of human reason, or at least of arts consequent
on that reason”. Such races are somewhat nearer to the ape than to the European,
and it is from like accounts of existing savages that we may form a rough picture of primitive man.
(pg 183-185)

And so, we see that evolutionists have had a really, really hard time staying away from this particular crack-pipe.

Brutal Skulls

Remember the Loony Tunes episode where Marvin the Martian accidentally turns Bugs Bunny into a Neanderthal rabbit? Classic stuff. That picturesque impression of Neanderthals is deeply ingrained in many of us, except perhaps in the latest generation of youngsters who don’t watch Bugs Bunny. They have been fed a sanitized, less cartoonishly absurd, more politically friendly view of Neanderthal man from evolutionists who wish everyone would forget what they used to say about Neanderthal man. But… let’s not forget.

Lest some of you forget that embarrassing knuckle-dragging ape-man stuff, here is a quick refresher from McCabe’s excellent fake science book Prehistoric Man pg 30 onward:

…earlier than… 10,000 years ago, human beings wandered over the greater part
of Europe… They were below the cultural level of the Australian native. Their beetling
eye-ridges, retreating foreheads, heavy chinless jaws, and protruding teeth, are quite
in accord with their stone implements, and betray a very low level of mental culture.
They had no agriculture, no bows and arrows, no tamed cattle, no pottery, no woven
texture, and probably — as we shall see — no clothing and no articulate speech… From
the earliest remains found, these men are given the name of the Neanderthal race.

The general physical and mental character of this race is now firmly established…
they belonged to an extraordinarily primitive type of man. All controversy as to the
normal human character is now over, and the skeleton is admitted to be that of a man
of the early part of the Old Stone Age. The thigh-bones were very heavy and much curved,
and they and the other bones indicated very powerful muscles and a very moderate height.
The man stood about 5 feet 3 inches, his legs slightly curved, and his limbs and chest of
great power. His large teeth bulged outward, and there was little chin. Two thick bony
ridges stood out far over his eyes, and his forehead was extremely low. The skull might
contain 1,220 cubic centimetres of brain matter, which is much the same as that of an
Australian native. Some writers have represented that this is a fair capacity for a man of
5 feet 3 inches, and greater than that of many Veddahs and Andamanese. The latter,
however, have very slight frames to control, unlike the Neanderthal man. As Huxley said,
the skull was “the most brutal of all human skulls” at the time it was discovered.

The next most important discovery was at Spy, in Belgium… complete skeletons of the
Neanderthal type. One skull is slightly better than the other (which some authorities
attribute to difference of age), but both have the heavy frontal ridges, and the low,
retreating forehead, the powerful chinless jaw, and the bulging teeth of the Diisseldorf
skeleton. The men were evidently adults, but the mental capacity was low, and the great
mass of the brain was thrown behind. The thigh-bones were thick and curved, and they
and the other bones indicated very powerful muscles. We had the same suggestion of a
squat, powerful, stunted savage, with brain and facial features going back toward those
of the ape.

More recently finds of great importance have been made in France and Germany, and the
character of early Paleolithic man may be regarded as fixed… Professor Klaatsch regarded
the remains as the most primitive yet discovered… The familiar early Paleolithic characters
— heavy frontal ridges, retreating forehead, bulging teeth, and retreating chin — were very
strongly developed… The Heidelberg jaw belongs to the earliest part of the Pleistocene…
While the teeth, which are preserved in it, stamp it as distinctly human, the massiveness of
the jaw and complete absence of chin bring it closer to the ape-type than any other. It is
midway in profile between the jaw of the gorilla and that of an Australian native… There is
very strong reason to regard this jaw as intermediate in type, between the Ape-man of Java
and the Neanderthal man, if not entirely on a level with the former.

The most recent find of importance… The skull was extremely thick, and had the Neanderthal
features (eye-ridges, low forehead, absence of chin) very strongly developed… it is… nearer
to the Ape-man than any of the others. Here the pithecoid features have definitely shaded
into the human, but the beetling ridges over the eyes, the low forehead, the chinless jaw,
and protruding teeth, still recall the gorilla or the chimpanzee.

That’s how evolutionists used to sell Neanderthals to the public: as ape-men. Part man, part gorilla, part chimpanzee. A Neanderthal was a “squat, powerful, stunted savage, with brain and facial features going back toward those of the ape.” “The massiveness of the jaw and complete absence of chin bring it closer to the ape-type than any other” “It is midway in profile between the jaw of the gorilla and that of an Australian native” “it is… nearer to the Ape-man than any of the others,” “the beetling ridges over the eyes, the low forehead, the chinless jaw, and protruding teeth, still recall the gorilla or the chimpanzee.”

You know, if you said that, thousands of years ago, gorillas roamed all over Europe, people would say you’re crazy. Perhaps that proposition doesn’t sound ridiculous enough. Tell them that, thousands of years ago, “pithecoid” savages or chinless semi-humans who grunted a lot, were perpetually hunched-over, had nightmarish dentition and “brutally” retreating foreheads, with such powerful musculature as would make Vasily Alexeyev look like a weakling, roamed all over Europe… people would say, right, that sounds reasonable.

On the positive side, without all this ape-man stuff, we would have been deprived of some good cartoon moments.

By the way, how can a skull be “brutal”? Does that even make sense?

May Haeckel Expunge your Superstitions!

Haeckel. The name sounds like a curse.

Way back in 1878, Rudolf Virchow predicted that if Haeckel wasn’t stopped, his biological fantasies would bring doom upon a future generation of Germans. “Imagine what shape the theory of descent takes in the head of a Socialist.” This is a scary and uncanny prophecy, when you think about the Nazis and their biological politics that were to come. Modern research shows that the Nazis were influenced by Haeckel’s work. How could they not have been? He was one of the most popular and most widely read figures of the pre-war era. The generation of Germans prior to the rise of the Nazis learned evolutionism from him. Which brings us to another prophetic comment, this time by an atheist, Van Buren Denslow. Unlike Virchow, whose prophecy came true in the way he forsaw, Denslow’s prophecy about Haeckel turned out true in a way he may not have forseen. In his book Modern Thinkers (1880, introduction by Ingersoll), he says this about Haeckel:

…it is not without reason that we designate the recent work of Ernst Haeckel on
“The Evolution of Man,” the English translation of which has just been published by
Appletons, the greatest scientific work of the century. Throughout
this work Haeckel evinces a bold and manly scientific recognition of the fact that, as
its discoveries come to be accepted and digested, Christian and all other teleological
theologies are brought to an end… [Haeckel’s] “Evolution of Man” is a very great and
masterful work. It secures to its author the very front rank among naturalists and
materialistic philosophers. It will be read with avidity by millions, and its effect
upon human thought cannot be predicted — except to say that it will be lasting and profound.

At the beginning of Aveling’s translation of a collection of Haeckel essays called Pedigree of Man there appears a curious advertisment by the “Freethought Publishing Company”. The advertisment is a good example of the sort of self-delusions under which atheists labor and how easily they wander off into the weeds all by themselves:

In issuing, under the name of the “International Library of Science and Freethought,”
a series of books of which the present volume is the sixth (Volume V., being a continuation
of Mr. Bradlaugh’s commentary on Genesis, is now preparing for the press), the Freethought
Publishing Company desires to place at the service of English Freethought the weapons
wielded against superstition in foreign countries as well as those forged in England itself.
The writings of foreign scientists are not as well known in England as their merit deserves;
there are some valuable text-books — such as those of Gegenbaur and of Thome — which
have their place on the bookshelf of the student; but the aim of the Freethought Publishing
Company is to issue such works as will reach the general reader, as well as the scientific
student, and render Buchner, Haeckel and others as well-known to the English public as are
Huxley and Darwin. German science is one of the glories of the world; it is time that it should
lend in England that same aid to Freethought which in Germany has made every educated man
a Freethinker.

This induction of Haeckel into the world’s hall of glories was published in 1883. But it was known long before then that Haeckel was a fraud. Haeckel’s reputation as a scientist began to erode as early as 1868 when he was first accused of doctoring illustrations. But do not think that Haeckel’s forgeries of science were limited to illustrations of embryos. His essays and major works are so full of confabulations, demagoguery, pseudo-scientific rot and misleading illustrations that nothing of his — not a page — can be trusted. Huge slabs of made-up stuffing line his writings on primate anatomy, ape-men, protoplasm, the races of man, embryology, the origins of life, the habits of savages, the history of man, the history of civilization and religion, phylogenic trees, etc. Even his work on monera was fake. Why, Haeckel even conned a rich american benefactor to finance a search for more ape-man fossils in Java. Haeckel spent the money doing something else, and in his defense he claimed that man’s descent from apes was so well established it needed no further proof from fossils. So, Haeckel made every educated German a freethinker, they say. This doesn’t offer much evidence to support the “freethinker’s” typical portrait of himself: as being someone with superior mental faculties — compared to the next guy — to sort fact from fiction, science from superstition and rational thought from delusion.