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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CA114.10:

Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915) was a creationist and strong opponent to evolution.


Morris, Henry M. 1982. Bible-believing scientists of the past. Impact 103 (Jan.),


  1. Jean-Henri Fabre did indeed reject evolution (or transformism). However, neither were his views those of a Biblical creationist. He recognized that life changed through the various periods of earth's history. For earth history, he took as his book not the Bible but the earth itself:
    Let us break off a slab and subdivide it into sheets with the point of a knife, a work as easy as separating the superposed layers of a piece of paste- or mill-board. In so doing, we are examining a volume taken from the library of the mountains, we are turning the pages of a magnificently illustrated book. It is a manuscript of nature, far superior to the Egyptian papyrus. On almost every page are diagrams; nay, better: realities converted into pictures. (Fabre 1914, 178)
    The "pages" tell of different life at different times.
    Life, at the start, fashioned oddities which would be screaming discords in the present harmony of things. When it invented the Saurian, it revelled at first in monsters fifteen and twenty yards long. It placed horns on their noses and eyes, paved their backs with fantastic scales, hollowed their necks into spiny wallets, wherein their heads withdrew as into a hood. It even tried, though not with great success, to give them wings. After these horrors, the procreating ardour calmed and produced the charming green Lizard of our hedges.

    When it invented the bird, it filled its beak with the pointed teeth of the reptile and appended a long, feathered tail unto its rump. These undetermined and revoltingly ugly creatures were the distant prelude to the Robin Redbreast and the Dove.

    All these primitives are noted for a very small skull, an idiot's brain. The brute of antiquity is, first and foremost, an atrocious machine for snapping, with a stomach for digesting. The intellect does not count as yet. That will come later. (Fabre 1914, 182)
  2. Fabre excelled at observation (Darwin called him "the inimitable observer"), but he was not a scientist. He had no formal scientific training, and he set himself apart from the scientific community, acting instead as naturalist. His hard life left him nither time nor inclination for theorizing (Favret 1999).

Links: 2000-2003. Jean-Henri Fabre, sa vie, son oeuvre. English version at


  1. Fabre, J. Henri. 1914. The Life and Love of the Insect, transl. by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. (chpt. 13: "The old weevils"). London: Adam and Charles Black.
  2. Favret, Colin. 1999. Jean-Henri Fabre: His life experiences and predisposition against Darwinism. American Entomologist 45(1): 38-48.

Further Reading:

Fabre was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature; his writings are still thoroughly enjoyable.
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created 2004-12-31