I could not believe this
thread at the forum. Wesley Elsberry pointed out an instance of blatant fraud in a creationist presentation by Cornelius Hunter:

Then there was the ID conference in San Francisco where Dr. Cornelius G. Hunter, the “expert” involved in the antievolution shenanigans in Roseville, CA, presented the wolf and thylacine as identical twins separated at birth argument. His visual aid, handily printed in the proceedings, consisted of two images side-by-side. On one side, you had the usual painting of two thylacines in color. On the other, you had the same painting, mirrored horizontally, and desaturated. Yep, you just could not tell the difference between the wolves on one side and the thylacines on the other. Uncanny, even.

At least, none of the ID attendees cottoned on. It wasn’t until I pointed out the problem to Paul Nelson that the ID community had notice of it.

Hey, if faking one image is good enough to condemn Ernst Haeckel, it’s good enough for Cornelius Hunter, I think. But we’re not done. Hunter himself replied, ignoring the accusation that he’d faked his images altogether, and instead citing another source, by biologists, to support his claim of unexplainably great similarities between marsupials and placental mammals.

It is strange that evolutionists never get around to addressing the scientific issue. Wesley Elsberry appears to be denying convergence, but that can’t be true. If he has an explanation for convergence then let’s hear it. If not, then admit it. Here is the question for evolutionists: How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?

What’s truly delicious there, besides the desperate evasion of the main point, is the quality of the images he then wants us to examine. It’s a nice site — it’s PBS’s Evolution page — but that particular pdf is part of a children’s section, and it’s a picture from a coloring book.

Yeah, marsupials and placentals are indistinguishable from one another…if you sketch them out in crayon.

Wesley has a more detailed discussion of the faked photos at The Austringer.


  1. #1 Brian
    January 26, 2007

    Well, they actually do look pretty similar when they’re not part of a coloring book. But since the LCA of marsupials/placentals was very probably small and rodent-like, that’s not incredibly surprising.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    January 26, 2007

    We don’t know anything about the designer and how it would design things, except that it would produce “convergent evolution”.

    In fact their “logic” about homologies would lead to that conclusion, the problem being that the thylacine happens to be very unlike the wolf in just about every way except in the aspects which are relatively easy to modify via gradual evolutionary change (gradual including punk eek). To entirely redesign the reproductive system, above all, would not happen easily and would not be expected in the recent evolution, while any “designer” would have no problem copying the wolf’s reproduction into the thylacine.

    OK, so another classic evolutionary prediction is fulfilled, and the IDcreationists claimed it for their own. You can see why they think that mining journals is better than doing research when all they have to do is to transubstantiate evolutionary evidence into ID evidence. After all, isn’t such magic what they claim a right to have?

    Glen D

  3. #3 Scott Hatfield
    January 26, 2007

    Sigh. Odious. And, ignoring Hunter’s mendacity / fraud / incompetence entirely, the claim that ‘evolutionists’ do not attempt to address convergence as a scientific issue.

    Simon Conway-Morris has written reams of words on that topic, for example, while remaining solidly in the evolution camp.

  4. #4 John Wilkins
    January 26, 2007

    Someone should tell Hunter about the difference between homology and homoplasy…

  5. #5 Inoculated Mind
    January 26, 2007

    Fazale “Fuz” Rana, from RTB, once tried to claim that two amphibians in different locations were identical. In his lecture slides, he used the exact same image of the same animal. They must think that people are fools.

  6. #6 Rey Fox
    January 26, 2007

    Someone should tell Hunter about the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground.

  7. #7 Zohn
    January 26, 2007

    A few tidbits: I met Hunter when he was a grad student at Univ of Illinois…he got into the Biophysics program there. Prior to that he was employed as a computer something in some tech company. He was already pretty old when he joined the Ph.D. program…had a wife and like 10 kids or something. He got a break and finished his Ph.D. real fast because he was encouraged to just write and submit when his advisor moved out to California…such shameful things as granting rushed “go ahead” to Ph.D. theses do occur in academia.

    He told me that his sole goal in pursuing a Ph.D. was to act as a credible voice in the anti-evolution wars. He finished his Ph.D. on a project looking at electrostatic surfaces or proteins or something like that. At the same time, he wrote a book called “finding Darwin’s god” or something like that. Pleasant guy to talk to except for the rotten and dishonest core.

    A shame that Univ of Illinois gave him that Ph.D.

  8. #8 Caledonian
    January 26, 2007

    No, they think that people are brilliant. Just as brilliant as they are. They saw through the evil scientists’ lies, so all everyone else needs is someone to speak the truth and evolution will be rejected.

  9. #9 Dave Godfrey
    January 26, 2007

    There is only one way to do something. And that is the right way.

    Um. Jeezy Chreezy! Not that I expect stealth creationsits to understand the concept of primitive and derived characteristics, but even so! Given that every tetrapod (except possibly the extant amphibians) has a pentadactyl limb what the fsck are they exopecting? 7-digited felids and 2-digited canids (which might be a better way of designing the things).

    p.s. What’s the betting that non-one at the DI even knows what a temnospondyl is?

  10. #10 SEF
    January 26, 2007

    They must think that people are fools.

    Some people are. But consider precisely which subset of people the ID creationist leaders are most expecting to be (ignorant) fools – their own kind: fellow creationist religionists.

  11. #11 T
    January 26, 2007

    ‘They must think that people are fools’

    Well aren’t they?

  12. #12 Rhampton
    January 26, 2007

    I came across this rebuke of “missing links” (how they’re supposed to be poorly equipped for their habitat) which partly explains their flawed reasoning:

    Common sense and science – the argument from design
    by Stuart Burgess
    Evangelical Times, August 2006

    Fossil evidence, like the recently publicised fish Tiktaalik roseae (supposedly a transition between fish and land animals), does little to convince for evolution. Such creatures were well designed for their particular environment — and the fact that they exhibit unusual combinations of features does not mean that they are necessarily ‘missing links’ between other kinds of creatures.

    Only those already committed to a belief in evolution are forced to see them as evolutionary ‘links’ rather than well-designed creatures in their own right. Overall, the fossil record continues to provide more problems for evolution than support.

    The author is Professor of Design and Nature; Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bristol University; and recipient of the 1993 Turners Gold Medal for engineering design.

  13. #13 paul
    January 26, 2007

    Not his ass from a hole in the ground.

    A POUCH from a hole in the ground.

  14. #14 Caledonian
    January 26, 2007

    Sadly, I fear that T is correct. Most people wouldn’t be able to detect such deception, and many of them wouldn’t care even if it were pointed out to them.

  15. #15 Wesley R. Elsberry
    January 26, 2007

    Hunter’s pair of images is up now…



    here, with more commentary.

  16. #16 Chinchillazilla
    January 26, 2007

    Wow. Even in the coloring book, the thylacine’s back foot from the ankle down is clearly more kangaroolike than doglike. And in this picture, , the head looks like it’s been swapped from a kangaroo. But it’s not a crappy ‘shop job. (Or even, ye who would like to interpret that differently, a very good ‘shop job.)

  17. #17 plunge
    January 26, 2007

    “Someone should tell Hunter about the difference between homology and homoplasy…”

    What and spoil all the fun???!

  18. #18 Dave Godfrey
    January 26, 2007

    “The author is Professor of Design and Nature; Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bristol University; and recipient of the 1993 Turners Gold Medal for engineering design.”

    Someone needs to tell Mike Benton and the other Palaeo people at Bristol abou this. Mind you they may already know and can’t do anything about it they’re laughing so hard…

  19. #19 Dark Matter
    January 26, 2007

    Some choice examples of loving kindness from the god the IDists so feverishly
    defend are available for your perusal at The Dark Bible.

    A site best viewed with an empty stomach…..

  20. #20 Lago
    January 27, 2007

    I have never grasped the creationists premise on this one. It makes zero sense based on special creation, and only makes sense based on the most basic concepts of evolutionary biology.

  21. #21 Rey Fox
    January 27, 2007

    They’re just potshots, Lago. They don’t have to make sense.

  22. #22 Dave S.
    January 27, 2007

    My favourite site for all things Thylacine. All in all, a disgraceful performance by Dr. Hunter. Sadly par for the course. Lucky for him there’s nothing in his religion about bearing false witness.

  23. #23 quork
    January 27, 2007

    Lucky for him there’s nothing in his religion about bearing false witness.

    Ha, but it says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor.” Hunter does not have a thylacine for a neighbor.

    Search high, search low, you will find nothing in the Bible contraindicating the bearing of false witness against extinct mammals.

  24. #24 quork
    January 27, 2007

    According to comments at, the original exchange took place at Uncommon Descent. Has DaveScot buried the evidence yet?

  25. #25 Wesley R. Elsberry
    January 27, 2007

    The present exchange (my comment, Hunter’s reply) can be found starting here. I don’t have the fondness for memory holes that the admins at UD do.

    What triggered that was a comment about a thread on the “Overwhelming Evidence” site that made much of the thylacine/wolf comparison as showing the difference between how ID advocates look at things and how “Neo-Darwinists” do. And it is right. OPAP’s vision of ID advocates sucking up “they’re so similar!” without engaging any tendency to check is spot-on. For the “pathetic level of detail” that evolutionary biologists insist upon getting into, check out the series of visual aids put together by paleontologist Kevin Padian for his Kitzmiller testimony, linked here.

  26. #26 Jonathan Vos Post
    January 27, 2007

    If one eliminates coloring books, especially those about dogs (i.e. Barney) and pet goats (as in 9/11), then how will we ever be able to explain evolution to George W. Bush?

  27. #27 quork
    January 27, 2007

    I’d like to point out that The Human Evolution Coloring Book, second edition, from Harper Collins (2000) ISBN: 9780062737175; ISBN10: 0062737171, is significantly more advanced than the coloring books most of us had as children.

    The completely revised Human Evolution Coloring Book
    * Provides an authoritative, scientific background for understanding the origins of humanity
    * Includes new discoveries and information essential for students of anthropology, primatology, paleontology, comparative anatomy, and genetics
    * Brings together evidence from living primates, fossils, and molecular studies
    * Explains the latest dating methods, including radioactive, paleomagnetic, and molecular clocks
    * Surveys the world of living primates, their ecology, locomotion, diet, behavior, and life histories
    * Clarifies the anatomical and behavioral similarities and differences between ourselves and our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee and the gorilla
    * Resolves some long-standing mysteries about our relationship to the extinct Neanderthals

  28. #28 John
    January 27, 2007

    Coloring is a great way to learn anatomy. There’s a superb neuroanatomy coloring book, too.

  29. #29 dorkafork
    January 27, 2007

    The thread at Overwhelming Evidence that Mr. Elsberry linked to contains:

    One might wonder why this idea has not occurred to the proponents of neo-darwinism? Actually it has, but they dismiss it because of a few small details here and there. One such difference between the Tasmanian and American wolf is it’s reproductive strategy: The Tasmanian wolves are “marsupial”, and other wolves are “placental” like our species.

    And that, apparently, is a “small detail”.

  30. #30 Tom Buckner
    January 27, 2007

    Never mind all that!!!!! Just tell me why there is AN ENORMOUS CHIPMUNK FETUS in the middle of North America! WTF. It must be true, it’s right there on the coloring book on the PBS website. The ID community should be breaking this story. What other giant animal fetuses are the ‘scientific’ evilutionists hiding?

  31. #31 Anton Mates
    January 28, 2007

    Well, they actually do look pretty similar when they’re not part of a coloring book.

    The marsupial mouse looks very different from the placental version to me. It’s got that distinctive dasyurid sloping brow and wide gape. Both “mice” are small and furry, with generalized body plans, but that’s about it.

    When creationists claim that these are the same kind of creature, as are thylacines and wolves and–no kidding–wombats and marmots…but that humans are totally different from chimps…I don’t know whether their eyesight or their sanity is to blame.

  32. #32 CCP
    January 28, 2007

    Murids and dasyurids do, in fact, both look exactly like small mammals. Neither one is a turtle, that’s for sure. Therefore, Darwin was wrong.

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