The argument is quite obsolete, and thus many evolutionists decline to employ it in today’s world of biotechnical sophistication. More than a third of a century ago, George Simpson of Harvard, in concert with his colleagues, conceded that: “It is now firmly established that ontogeny does not repeat phylogeny...” (Simpson, et al., 1957, p. 352, emp. in orig.).
Be that as it may, evolutionists are not above resurrecting this defunct argument whenever they feel it suits their purpose. A case in point is that of the prominent astronomer Carl Sagan, widely known for his PBS television series Cosmos. In April 1990, Dr. Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan, produced a piece for the weekly Parade magazine. Therein the authors contended for the ethical permissibility of human abortion on the ground that the fetus, growing within a woman’s body for several months following conception, is not a human being. The conclusion drawn, therefore, was this: The killing of this tiny creature is not murder.
What was the basis of this assertion? Without overtly saying so, Sagan and Druyan argued their case by subtly suggesting the concept of embryonic recapitulation. Progressively, they described the development of the fertilized human egg in terms of “a kind of parasite” that eventually begins to look like a “segmented worm.” Further alteration reveals “gill arches” like that of a “fish or amphibian.” Supposedly “reptilian” features become apparent subsequently, which later give way to “mammalian...pig-like” traits. By the end of two months, the creature resembles a “primate but is still not quite human” (1990, p. 6).
The argument thus employed is wholly specious, has long been discredited, and graphically reveals the current desperation of those humanists who disregard the sanctity of human life.
Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan (1990), “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.
Simpson, G.G., C.S. Pittendrigh and L.H. Tiffany (1957), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company).
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on embryonic recapitulation, see Reason & Revelation, September 1994.]
Copyright © 1995 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.
For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558