Taking on TalkOrigins: Evolution IS an Unfalsifiable Tautology


Recently, a blogger challenged my claim that evolution is an unfalsifiable tautology.

He stated that an internet search would provide all I needed [dare I remind my gentle readers that not eerything on the internet is entirely credible?] and specifically directed me to this site:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211.html

TalkOrigins.org [certainly not the most unbiased site where the evolution/creation debate is concerned] gives the following 4 examples of how evolution might be falsified. They’re all bunk:

1. A static fossil record.

Ironically, we do have a static fossil record. Every kind of species appears in thnbe fossil record fully formed and identical to what we see today. There are variations within each kind of animal, but there is no evidence of transitional forms leading up their development. Yet they’ve explained the fossil record away as being imperfect*, which was Darwin’s original fudge.

2. A true chimaera.

The platypus is a true chimaera and they had no problem shrugging it off. To say a chimaera would falsify evolutionary tautology when irreducible complexity did not phase these demogogues is purely misleading. Their modus operandi for processing evidence that does not fit their preconceptions is well documented: they either ignore it, explain it away or adapt the theory to fit it.

3. A mechanism that would prevent mutations from accumulating.

Mutations weren’t the original candidate for how changes accumulate. It is part of the modern synthesis, not the original theory. Many scientists are now dissatisfied with the theory of accumulated mutations and are searching for a new candidate.

4. Observations of organisms being created.

This is just another red herring. If scientists created life they would crow that evolution had triumphed, even though it would really only be evidence for life being created or designed. What they mean is if God were observed creating. Oh, if only God would submit himself to scientific verification! they lament falsely. If God created anew, we would not see God creating, only the effect [the new creation] since God creates by speaking. Scientists would likely explain it away as an as yet undiscovered species or evidence of punctuated equilibrium. But they would in fact explain it away.

The allegation that Creationism is nothing more than unsubstantiated claims that evolution has been falsified is a straw man. Creationists do in fact believe that evolution is an unfalsifiable tautology. We believ it can neither be proven nor disproven, much like the belief in God. On the other hand, we believe that, while evolution cannot be falsified, it is in fact false or untrue. We believe that belief in theistic origins is more reasonable than evolutionary speculation.

Yet in the end it is simply this: or beliefs supported by weights of evidences and lines of arguments versus their beliefs supported by weights of evidences and lines of argument.

And that’s what they don’t want to admit.

–Sirius Knott

*Another blogger suggested that out-of-place fossils [like a Triceratops fossil in the Devonian rocks] would falsify evolution, but she was unaware that such out-of-place fossils do exist and are explained away by the imperfect fossil record.

Addendum: Several bloggers have mentioned a famous rebuttal that evolution would be falsifiable simply if we found rabbit fossils in Pre-Cambrian rocks. Unfortunately, they forget that fossils are not dated by the rocks they are found in; quite the opposite, rocks are dated by the fossils they contain. Any rocks containing rabbit fossils would be dated accordingly [as least where evolutionists are concerned].

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Robert says:

    Hello, thank you for responding to my post.

    “He stated that an internet search would provide all I needed [dare I remind my gentle readers that not eerything on the internet is entirely credible?]”

    Very true. This blog, for example? 😉

    In any case, I’m not sure what to make of various comments you make. For example,

    “Every kind of species appears in thnbe fossil record fully formed and identical to what we see today.”

    Say, what? Identical to what we see today? This is such a gross misstatement, it cannot mean what it actually says. Can you please clarify?

    “There are variations within each kind of animal, but there is no evidence of transitional forms leading up their development.”

    On the contrary, there are plenty.

    “The platypus is a true chimaera…”

    Unfortunately, it’s not.

    “Mutations weren’t the original candidate for how changes accumulate. It is part of the modern synthesis, not the original theory.”

    So? No scientist proclaims his theory to be infallible the moment she proposes it. Please address the example, and not some pointless strawman.

    “This is just another red herring. If scientists created life they would crow that evolution had triumphed, even though it would really only be evidence for life being created or designed. What they mean is if God were observed creating. Oh, if only God would submit himself to scientific verification! they lament falsely.”

    The producer of red herrings here, is, unfortunately, yourself. The example is valid, and your red herring is that God does not allow himself to be tested in this way…except when he DOES create…which is allegedly explained away by scientists.

    So what is it? God creates new species even today?

    Or he doesn’t?

    “The allegation that Creationism is nothing more than unsubstantiated claims that evolution has been falsified is a straw man.”

    No, it’s the truth. Where is the evidence for Creationism? Answer: None, but we know that the alternatives are false, so therefore Creationism must be true.

  2. Sirius says:

    Robert,

    You’re a perfect example of the denialism prevalent amongst proponents of darwin’s flawed belief system.

    The platypus is, in fact, a chimaera. I love the fact that you linked a blog that provides a perfectexample of how nontheistic scientists have attempted to explain away this glitch in their perfect little picture.

    I also loved the false geneology trees. You see, the fossil record does not show intermediate forms. You’ve got species like rabbits and horses, with variations in size and minor adaptations within the species, but horses nonetheless. You have insects appearing as insects, fully recognizable and functional as such. You have no record of any intermediate changes, only species and vafriations within the species.

    Now, I see you’ve gone through all the trouble of providing a link which allegedly proves intermediate forms do exist. Unfortunately, even we Creationists admit to changes and adaptations WITHIN THE SPECIES.The examples you’ve provided would only be proof of intermediate forms IF evolution were true and that could only be proven if we had TRUE intermediate forms, none of which have been either discovered in the fossil record or observed.

    My point about mutations not being the original or even the only candidate is valid. The existence of a mechanism that prevents mutations from accumulating would ONLY be a means to falsify evolution IF mutations were the ONLY [or more specifically a NECESARRY] means of change.

    Too, the example of watching God create is a perfect red herring UNLESS you concede the existence of God. Do you?

    Now, the last sentence of your fundamentalist hubris is also aperfect straw man. There are loads of sites which offer evidence FOR Creation, not merely against evolution. We do not deduce out of a vaccuum. Evolution is flawed to the point of being incredulous AND there is evidence for Creation.

    –Sirius Knott

  3. Steve F says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the platypus in not a chimera, not even close. It is a wonderful example of divergent early mammalian evolution with many derived, unique new features. The platypus is a modern animal with primitive mammalian characteristics. It gives us a clear window into the sequence of evolutionary traits that define modern eutherian mammals, especially now that their genome has been completely sequenced.
    Likewise, evolution is entirely falsifiable. While fossils are used to “date” sedimentary strata relatively, the verification of age is done on volcanic strata localized to the fossil bearing layers. Any undisturbed strata that contained any eutherian mammal and any Cambrian fauna such trilobites would be sufficient to falsify ToE. In fact, any verifiable combination of plant or animal fauna significantly out of evolutionary order would suffice.
    It is god that is an unfalsifiable tautology, not evolution.

  4. Sirius says:

    Steve,

    That window is as opaque as it was before. The genome is not irrefutable proof of evolutionary sequence or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The genome shows similarity of design; it does not prove common descent. Some organisms are simpler and some more complex, but this the Great Chain of Being, not a genealogical record as Darwinists would speculate PAST THE FACTS.

    The platypus is a true chimaera. It stumped Darwinists for decades. It’s only been explained away with such doublespeak as you offer, so that they can get along with their program.

    Now, if a playpus and a trilobite were found in the same undisturbed strata, they would simply decide that trilobites [at least some] survived to a much later date than originally thought despite the fossil gaps [much as they explained the Coelacanth].

    You may want to read more on my views of transitional forms here:

    https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/transitional-forms-why-the-speculative-nature-of-darwinism-makes-it-unfalsifiable/

    –Sirius Knott

  5. Steve F says:

    Your cynism is misplaced. Anyone finding irrefutable evidence that would falsify any major “Theory” of science incuding ToE gets an automatic pass to the Nobel. This is the power of science over religion. Science is an evolving process of explanation of the natural world. It is not fixed in dogma (not that scientists can’t be dogmatic).

  6. Sirius says:

    My cynicism is certainly not misplaced! I know exactly where it is. Furthermore, I know its cause: people.

    On a more serious note, I figured you might switch gears pretty quickly once you thought it over. Thank you for conceding my point. It’s unfalsifiable.

    As to your hubris that the evolving [try: self-correcting. As in, OK, we were wrong before, we got it right this time, er… dang. OK, THIS time…] process of science makes it somehow superior to religion: How is science these days anything but dogmatic? Not just the scientists, pal. Everywhere I go, I hear this insistence that “There is no science but naturalism and Darwin is its prophet!” Freedom of inquiry is dead, because modern science has a priori ruled out one set of possible explanation [the supernatural] and demanded that the answers be purely naturalistic/atheistic, instead of following the evidence wherever it leads.

    But that’s not dogma?

    Be honest,
    Sirius Knott

    1. D R Lindberg says:

      You say “Everywhere I go, I hear this insistence that “There is no science but naturalism and Darwin is its prophet!””

      Interesting! I’ve never seen any statement along those lines except on anti-evolutionist websites such as yours. This would seem to indicate that despite your claims, you have not seriously examined real science, and the evidence it presents.

      By the way, what is tiktaalik, with features of both fish, and tetrapods, if not intermediate?

      1. D R Lindberg,

        I did not mean that I hear this exact quote, but rather the sentiment or conviction that this is so. Or are you allowing for supernatural agency?

        The fact is: science presumes naturalism, which is to say it excludes the possibility of supernatural agency. This is all well and good unless God actually did something, as the Bible repeatedly claims [and not just in Genesis; cp. Exosus 20:11 or Rev 4:11, for example]. If God actually did something, well, by arbitrarily insisting upon purely natural answers to all phenomena, it’s inevitable that we will make up all-natural Just-so stories to account for things we ought to have given God credit for. In other words, we would exchange the truth for naturalistic fables.

        I would caution you against insisting that tiktaalik has both features of fish and tetrapods. In the first place, the same claim was made of the Coelecanth, until this presumed extinct fish actaully showed up “millions of years” after its absence in the fossil record declared it apparently extinct. Upon examining the live specimen, the opinions of scientists [which were made purely by looking at the fossils via evolutionary presuppositions] were proven erroneous. The Coelecanth is just a fish. Likewise, Tiktaalik has been disqualified as the missing link between fish and land-dwelling tetrapods precisely because landlubbing footprints that pre-date Tiktaalik [by evolutionist reckonings] have been found. So his point is rather moot, since Tiktaalik is no longer considered transitional. Before that discovery was made, we still had a viable explanation for Tiktaalik [just not an evolutionary one]: namely, that it was just a fish. In fact, transitional fossils are more of a problem for evolutionists than creationists: Instead of the innumerable transitional fossils Darwin predicted for his theory, we have only a handful of disputable candidates that are generally disqualified after new evidence is found.

        By the way, you seem to imply that the origins argument is simply about science or evidence, but this is demonstrably not the case. Consider the following from another post of mine:

        “The Origins Argument isn’t about facts. The creationist and the evolutionist have exactly the same evidence: we have the same universe, the same Earth, the same physics, mathematics, rocks, fossils – the same facts. And FACTS are not self-explanatory. Facts must be interpreted… usually according to our pre-existing beliefs and assumptions.

        And it’s not about science. There’s plenty of evidence for a Creator, if we’re at least willing to entertain the possibility that He exists! Still, when I announce that I’m a Creationist, some people ask, “How can you reject the same science that put man on the moon?” The irony is that it was a Creationist rocket scientist, Wernher Von Braun, who got us to the moon. He did it without need of evolution.

        Many inventions and discoveries and scientific disciplines that were founded were the work of Bible-believing scientists, who didn’t need evolution. The Scientific Method itself is credited to one of these Bible-believing scientists, Sir Francis Bacon, and is based on the idea that we have an orderly universe that may be rationally understood because both it and our minds were designed by a Creator.

        It’s about authority: The revealed Word of an infallible, infinite God versus the ever-changing word of fallible, finite men who reject Him and who weren’t there.

        Read the rest of that post if you’d like to see why Creation is a better fit for the world we see than microbes-to-man evolution.

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