googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Evolution is Easy to Falsify

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Evolution is Easy to Falsify

That was the title of an online discussion I recently participated in; the title was actually written by an evolutionist. In a previous blog, I mentioned that a good theory should be falsifiable. This particular evolutionist agreed with me (at first) and even made the following remarks:

I am interested in clarification of terms because our friends on here in a few threads have shown some great misunderstanding of key concepts of a scientific theory and the scientific method.

Evolution IS falsifiable, it is science after all..

One of the requirements of a good scientific theory is falsifiability. [bold in original]

Needless to say, my ears perked up. Typically evolutionists are loathe to recommend a way ToE could be falsified but here was someone who seemed ready to do just that. He went on to say:

How can we falsify evolution you ask?Simple, we define a hypothesis from the question that we will should not find fossils in the strata out of order, and thus there should be no fossilized dogs in the Pre-Cambrian layers.

If we find a fossilized dog there, then evolution is over and we need to rethink the entirety of it and retool it, basically 'back to the drawing board'.
Ugh. It’s not like I’ve never heard that one before. Well I gave him kudos for trying but I reminded him of a quote I read on TalkOrigins (a pro-evolution web site):

“In order to falsify a theory, you need to know what the theory says. Finding an out-of-sequence fossil or an "impossible" animal may not falsify evolution, but it would falsify the particular theories (in this case historical theories) about that group of organisms - for example, if we found a modern rabbit in the Cambrian Era, we would have a massive problem with existing phylogenies. We might even say that if the program of constructing phylogenies based on the theory of common descent were that wrong, there might be a problem with common descent, and abandon that theory. But this, in itself, would be insufficient to falsify the entire set of theories of evolution, although it might be enough to make people think twice about the general set of assumptions on which they are based.” [Bold in original].

So, for the devout evolutionists, even a rabbit (or a dog) in the Cambrian would not be enough to falsify their theory. But I didn't want to let it go that easily. After all, this guy had said it was “easy” to falsify evolution so I asked him or other posters for some other ways we might falsify the theory. Here are some of the suggestions I got. I kid you not - these are actually quotes from real evolutionists (some of who claim to be scientists):

Find a mammal with a plant cell-wall.

you could demonstrate that speciation does not occur;

1. Visit every case study or scientific article of observed evolution in the wild and in the lab. This should keep you busy for quite some time

2. Show that in every case the experimental design was flawed, or the data was wrong, or the analysis was wrong. etc.

This is not like disproving parentage with a DNA test, it's like proving the entire science of Biology is wrong.
[bold added]

There you have it folks, if I can find a mammal with plant cell-walls, prove animals don’t speciate, read every technical paper ever written about evolution and prove them all wrong, AND overturn the entire science of biology, maybe I’ll falsify the theory of evolution.

There are only 2 possible explanations for the origin of life and the universe: we are either here as the result of a supernatural Creator or we are here by entirely natural processes. If you disqualify one option a priori, you have no choice but to cling blindly to the second. True believers in evolution aren’t really interested in seeing their theory falsified. Is ToE a scientific theory or not? If so, there should be a clear way to falsify it. But when you ask an evolutionist how, these are the kinds of answers you’re going to get.


C. David Parsons said...

Show that in every case the experimental design was flawed, or the data was wrong, or the analysis was wrong.

Okay we did it. Now what?


The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth.

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NP said...

Well, seeing as there are no rabbits in the Cambrian, it's not really a big deal.

Evolution is falsifiable, but that does just not mean it will be easily falsified. It would be fairly easy to come up with a number of potential ways to falsify any one of the tenets of evolution, but they will inevitably sound ridiculous since our observations corroborate the theory.

For example, finding any lineage of organisms that does not use DNA or RNA as its hereditary material would falsify common descent. But of course, given that every organism we know of uses DNA, it sounds a bit ridiculous.

Evolution is easy to falsify in theory, but in practice it is more difficult. There's a good reason for this - care to guess why?


(Guessed yet?)





Nope, it's because the wealth of evidence so far corroborates evolutionary theory.

RKBentley said...


Welcome back to my bolg. I dare say I'm starting to have "regular" visitors now.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. I'm going to address some of your dating comments from my other blog sometime soon. I do, however, want to make an observation on your comments here.

Curiously absent from your response is some valid way to falsify evolution. This is my complaint, after all. Darwin suggested a couple of ways, do you stand by his tests of his theory? Do you know of some other way to test the theory?

You said it's easy "in theory." I say it's not because I do not hear ANY evolutionists suggest ways to disprove their theory. No evidence, no matter how damning, will dissuade the devout evolutionist.

Thanks again for posting. God Bless!!


NP said...

RK, I already pointed out one. Find any organism that does not use DNA/RNA as it's hereditary material. That would falsify the notion that all life on earth has common ancestry. (Of course, it would not mean that organisms that do share DNA don't share a common ancestor, but it would mean that the new group of organisms lacking DNA has a different, independent ancestry).

Likewise, as it's already been pointed out to you, find any mammal in the Precambrian. I see the Talk Origins explanation says it would not disprove evolution, and I assume they mean that it would not disprove every tenet of evolution, e.g. natural selection, speciation, etc. But it would definitely falsify the current tree of life, and it would really force scientists to re-evaluate all the acumulated evidence in the fossil record to explain this finding. I assure you, if a legitimate fossil of a rabbit were found in the Pre-Cambrian, it would really shakeup the world of paleontology - but I doubt it's ever going to happen.

Another simple test; compare the genome of a chimpanzee to that of a human and a chicken. If the chimp and chicken have more homologous sequences than the chimp and human, that would falsify common ancestry between humans and chimps.

Now, let me just stress that evolution is not based on a single observation but rather a multitude of observations from different fields. Therefore, you can't expect there to be a single observation that would disprove every tenet of evolution from universal common descent to common descent of the greater apes to speciation to natural selection and genetic drift, etc. I'm sorry if it upsets you, but you have to be reasonable here. If we were to find a Precambrian rabbit, that would not falsify the mechanism of natural selection. We already know that natural selection occurs through independent observations.

Again, I must stress that in theory evolution is of course falsifiable. But you have to understand, given the vast amount of observations that do support evolution, it would be not easy task to falsify all aspects of the theory. It may be difficult for you to accept, since you are vehement that evolution is not true. It seems you expect us to give you a test that you could easily perform and thereby falsify evolution, but I have to say that we are not as intellectually dishonest as you might believe. I think it would be easier for you to understand where I'm coming from if I asked you what evidence would falsify the following: plate tectonics theory, cell theory, and kinetic theory of gases.

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Todd Williams said...

NP says, "Find any organism that does not use DNA/RNA as it's hereditary material."

If this were ever to happen, then evolutionists would simply adjust the theory to integrate the new findings. Perhaps there were previously undiscovered sequencing structures that were able to mimic DNA that resulted in ladadada, etc. I agree that there is no desire to scrutinize the validity of the theory itself, only the validity of certain aspects of the theory.