What would be a way that evolution could be falsified?
Updated to add…
This is a post that I started to avoid derailing a comment thread on a birth blog. For usage of the term “falsify” as I’m using it, see the Wikipedia definition, for the full description; here it is in part:
Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion could be shown false by a particular observation or physical experiment. That something is “falsifiable” does not mean it is false; rather, it means that if the statement were false, then its falsehood could be demonstrated.
So, can evolution be shown false by a particular observation or physical experiment? Is it falsifiable?
On the Science & Sensibility post about epidurals and micro-trauma, Dr. Amy said that Amy Romano was dangerously close to “pseudo-science” in her analysis, by (in her view) refusing to allow that epidurals had some benefit. She said, “A key characteristic of science, as opposed to pseudoscience, is that all possible outcomes are allowed. That’s why “intelligent design” is not science; there is no evidence that would lead it’s advocates to announce that there is no “intelligent designer.” The conclusion is predetermined.”
I countered that the conclusion of evolutionists, that evolution is a fact, is predetermined, and that there is no evidence that would lead its advocates to announce that there is no such thing as evolution. [Evolution, here defined not merely as “change,” which anybody with one eye and half a brain can see occurring; but as the term is commonly used to mean the spontaneous generation of life from non-life (at some point in the past), and then that early life giving rise to all other life over the course of millions if not billions of years, so that humans are descendants of ape-like ancestors, and that chickens are descendants of dinosaurs (I think that’s the current theory in vogue, anyway), and that we’re all descendants of that same one-celled life that just happened to appear way back billions of years ago.]
While Dr. Amy not surprisingly ignored my comments (indeed, I did not expect anyone to take it up; I just wanted to get my point out there), Dr. Nicholas Fogelson did, not quite understanding what I said, saying in part, “…there is really no question that the variation of species on this earth is due to evolution. From phylogeny to DNA evidence to fossil record, everything is absolutely consistent with evolution of species over the millions of years that life has existed on this planet.”
I responded that evolution is not falsifiable, and then opened up this post should anyone wish to take me up on it.
Someone named “Aly” responded,
Here’s a quick primer on the falsifiability of evolution, Kathy: http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Disproving_Evolution
But that’s a joke. Here is how it says that evolution could be falsified:
Evolution is based on three principles: variation, heritability and selection; if any of these were shown to be flawed then the theory would be untenable. Consequently any of the following would destroy the theory:
- If it could be proven that mutations did not occur.
- If it could be proven that although mutations did occur they were not passed down through the generations.
- If it could be shown that selection or environmental pressure did not favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals.
What makes it a joke is that while these things are necessary for evolution to be how everything came about solely by blind chance and natural laws (i.e., no creator nor intelligent designer, no force or being outside our world or universe creating or causing things to come into existence), the existence of these things does not prove that evolution is valid. Mutations do occur, they are passed down to succeeding generations, and natural selection does favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals. But the man who came up with the idea of “natural selection” predated Darwin, and was a creationist! As was the “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel. In fact, his theories were not accepted for a long time, because it overthrew so much of what Darwin believed. [At the time of Darwin, it was widely believed that characteristics were passed on based on their use or disuse — so that if a bird didn’t use its wings very much, the bird’s offspring would have smaller, less useful wings. This was the “engine” of evolution prior to the acceptance of Mendelian genetics — organisms would swim in the ocean, but eventually come onto the land, and those that used their flippers for moving about on the land would pass on stronger land-motion limbs, so that their offspring would be better land-movers than water-movers, and by this means fish would turn into reptiles and land-dwelling mammals would turn into water-dwelling mammals; but Mendel’s work disproved that theory.] Finally, there was so much weight of evidence that Mendel was right, that evolutionists couldn’t deny it any longer… and then they co-opted genetics as the vehicle for changing not just moths into moths and dogs into dogs (change we see, due to the built-in variety of genetics), but changing microbes into microbiologists (over billions of years).
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