Scientists have a duty to represent accurately what they know, and what they don’t know, to the public. They should not oversell their favorite ideas or undersell ideas they oppose. Those ideas probably don’t seem too controversial but a debate can take on a life of its own. In the heat of battle truth is the first casualty. Now new research confirms Aeschylus’ age old observation. The research concludes that it is right to overstate the validity of Darwin’s theory to ensure success in public debate. The ends justify the means.
But arch evolutionist PZ Myers objects as he rehearses the familiar “evolution is a fact” refrain. Echoing Joseph Le Conte who found that evolution is not merely as certain as gravity, “Nay, it is far more certain,” Myers explains that evolutionists’ high claims are entirely warranted:
The evidence for evolution really is overwhelmingly in its favor. It isn’t proven in a mathematical sense, there is no illusion that we have accounted for every single possible mechanism, and there is still active exploration of all the details, but there is no doubt anywhere sensible that evolution, that populations change over time driven by natural processes, and that all life on earth shares a common ancestry, is a fact, amply confirmed and tested.
That would be a difficult claim to defend. In fact, given the current state of science it would be impossible to defend as evolution’s predictions seem to be continually turning out to be false. For instance, the reconciliation of the molecular and the visible, morphological, features has been a major problem in trying to resolve the evolutionary tree. The molecular and morphological features often indicate “strikingly different” evolutionary trees that cannot be explained as due to different methods being used.
The growing gap between molecular analyses and the fossil record, concluded one researcher, “is astounding.” Instead of a single evolutionary tree emerging from the data, there is a wealth of competing evolutionary trees. And often what evolutionists conclude is downright strange. Over time insects must have evolved wings, then lost them in the evolutionary process only then later yet again to evolve them (or less parsimoniously, the wings could have disappeared over and over throughout the tree). Or again, bats must have independently evolved, in separate lineages, the same intricate echolocation capability.
As one researcher put it, “Phylogenetic incongruities can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.” These are not minor statistical variations and the general failure to converge on a single topology has some researchers calling for a relaxation from “tree-thinking.”
A relaxation from tree-thinking? And this is but a sampling of the many falsified predictions of evolution. There are many more where these came from as evolutionists are constantly surprised. You can see 14 fundamental predictions that were falsified here. Predictions which evolutionists are absolutely sure of are routinely found to be false. “I about fell off my chair” is the typical refrain of evolutionists.
We can argue about the epistemological standing of evolution, but a scientific fact it is not. But for Myers it’s all so simple:
We tend to assume the creationists can’t really be that stupid, and figure they must have some legitimate complaint about some aspect of evolution with which we can sympathize. They don’t. They really are that nuts.
Truth is the first casualty.