Thursday, November 15, 2007

Unfalsifiable

"Some evolutionary biologists are of the opinion that it is not necessarily the fittest that survive through the evolutionary process, but those that are best adapted to the requirements of evolution. Others have emphasized that survival of the organism is not as important as its fecundity. In both cases the problem of predictability remains. In a symposium volume celebrating 100 years of Darwinism the prominent geneticist Waddington (1960, p. 385) evaluates the matter of fecundity. He states:

Natural selection, which was at first considered as though it were a hypothesis that was in need of experimental or observational confirmation, turns out on closer inspection to be a tautology, a statement of inevitable although previously unrecognized relation. It states that the fittest individuals in a population (defined as those which leave most offspring) will leave most offspring.

Another problem associated with the untestability of evolutionary theory is that the theory explains too much. Grene (1959) points out that "whatever might at first sight appear as evidence against the theory is assimilated by redefinition into the theory." Evolutionary theory is broad enough to accommodate almost any data that may be applied. Two ecologists Birch and Ehrlich (1967) emphasize this. They state:

Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus 'outside of empirical science' but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it.

No matter what is observed, there usually is an appropriate evolutionary explanation for it. If an organ or organism develops, it has positive survival value; if it degenerates, it has negative survival value. If a complex biological system appears suddenly, it is due to preadaptation. "Living fossils" (contemporary representatives of organisms expected to be extinct) survive because the environment did not change. If the environment changes and an evolutionary lineage survives, it is due to adaptation. If the lineage dies, it is because the environment changed too much, etc. Hence the concept cannot be falsified. Platnick (1977) states that this type of situation "makes of evolutionary biologists spinners of tales, bedtime storytellers, instead of empirical investigators."

(Ariel A. Roth, 'DOES EVOLUTION QUALIFY AS A SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLE?'
from: http://www.grisda.org/origins/04004.htm )

6 comments:

kbguy said...

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Daikazu said...

You should probable read more up to date information and opinions on the subject. You appear to be quoting ideas that are at times over thirty years old. The Human Genome Project wasn't completed until 2003 and has been a valuable tool in the corroboration of evidence for the evolutionary process. It just seems some of the ideas you’ve stated have been disproven or have changed significantly. Such is the way of science.

Daikazu said...

de Queiroz A.

Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology and Natural History Museum, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0334, USA. dequeiro@stripe.colorado.edu

Key innovations have often been invoked to explain the exceptional diversification of particular groups. However, there are few convincing examples of traits that are repeatedly and consistently associated with increased diversification. The paucity of such cases may reflect the contingent nature of the diversifying effect of key traits. These contingencies can be viewed as statistical interactions between the trait and at least three kinds of factors: (1) other taxa, (2) other traits of the group itself, and (3) the physical environment. I describe tentative examples in each of these categories: (1) a dampening of the diversification of clades with image-forming eyes by groups that earlier evolved such eyes, (2) an effect of growth form (woody or herbaceous) on the diversifying effect of biotic seed dispersal in angiosperms, and (3) an effect of atmospheric CO(2) level on the diversifying effect of C(4) photosynthesis in monocots. These examples suggest the need for more complex analyses of the relationship between possible key traits and diversification. They also suggest that radiations may be predictable given certain circumstances, thus supporting a view of evolution as both predictable and contingent. Ironically, a certain degree of predictability may be critical to arguments for evolutionary contingency.

PMID: 12554458 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Jeff said...

As far as 'reading more up-to-date information,' how about this:

"In July 2002, anthropologists announced the discovery of a skull in Chad with "an unusual mixture of primitive and humanlike features." The find was dubbed "Toumai" (the name give to children in Chad born close to the dry season) and was immediately hailed as "the earliest member of the human family found so far." By October 2002, a number of scientists went on record to criticize the premature claim -- declaring that the discovery is merely the fossil of an ape."

from:
http://www.allaboutcreation.org/human-evolution.htm

Daikazu said...

Yay! You have discovered the scientific process at work. By doing that what exactly are you proving or disproving with that statement?

Jeff said...

It's simply another case where Evolutionists have claimed evidence which has later turned out to be false.

And to call it the "scientific process" is dishonest, because, according to Wikipedia, the 'scientific method' means that the "steps must be repeatable in order to predict dependably any future results."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Even calling 'Evolution' a 'theory' is not strictly accurate, because "a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory#Science

The origin of the universe is not repeatable. And evolution of new species is not observable. Therefore, neither one can be proved or disproved by the scientific method; this means that Evolution is a philosophy rather than true Science.