The Truth

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In Flock of Dodos oceanographer Randy Olson makes a number of false assertions about Discovery Institute and scientists and scholars associated with the Institute. Here we expose some of the most egregious false facts in the film.

Haeckel's Bogus Embryo Drawings


Olson's Hoax on Haeckel's Embryos

spendingFlock of Dodos Filmmaker Claims Haeckel’s Embryo Drawings Weren’t in Modern Textbooks–But They Really Are

Were Ernst Haeckel’s bogus embryo diagrams ever used in modern textbooks to prove evolution? Not according to filmmaker Olson, who in the film portrays biologist Jonathan Wells as a fraud for claiming in his book Icons of Evolution (2000) that modern biology textbooks continue to reprint Haeckel-based drawings.

But it turns out that Olson is the one who is promoting a fraud. The diagrams in question were unquestionably used in modern textbooks.

Ignorance is no excuse. At a pre-release screening of Olson’s film at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography in San Diego in April, 2006, Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin confronted Olson with copies of recent textbooks that reused Haeckel’s drawings.
Click here to download a PDF with all documentation.



Olson's Hoax Discovery's Budget

Flock of Dodos Filmmaker Uses Fuzzy Math and Falsehoods
to Distort the Truth about Discovery Institute

According to Flock of Dodos, Discovery Institute has a huge budget for its embryo drawingsintelligent design program that dwarfs the resources of evolution’s supporters. “The Discovery Institute is truly the big fish in this picture, with an annual budget of around 5 million dollars,” Olson tells the audience. Later, a woman is shown repeating the same figure. The clear impression left with viewers is that the Institute spends $5 million a year to promote intelligent design.

Not even close.

The budget for the entire Discovery Institute, including expenditures on non-intelligent design programs such as transportation, technology, foreign policy, bioethics and other topics, has never reached $5 million a year.