If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.
While providing a test of falsification sounds scientific, this was just another one of Darwin’s protectionist moves. For in science, theories should be tested against realistic criteria, not universal negatives. How could a scientist, who is skeptical of the notion that all of biology spontaneously arose on its own, prove that a biological structure “could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.”
Biology is chocked full of such structures, but there is a catch. Darwin was requiring that the skeptic prove that such structures “could not possibly” have evolved. Given the evolutionist’s liberal use of imaginative just-so stories, this requirement would seem practically impossible.
Darwin was not looking for examples that show evolution to be unlikely. He did not say “did not likely” evolve. He said “could not possibly” evolve. Darwin was erecting high walls around his idea.
Nonetheless, Darwin’s defensive strategy was doomed to fail. The idea is so scientifically flawed that even its own Maginot Line could not save it. Today, the question is not is there a structure that “could not possibly” have evolved, but rather which one of the thousands and thousands of examples in biology should we pick? In recent years proteins have provided yet another army of examples where even the evolutionist’s own numbers show a twenty seven order of magnitude shortfall between expectations and reality.
What is interesting about all this is not that evolution is riddled with failures, but the denial that is universal amongst evolutionists. In fact, evolutionists not only deny there is any problem, they insist evolution is a fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Some wonder why the failure of Darwin’s own Maginot Line left evolution unharmed. How could evolution be the worst theory of all time yet nonetheless continue to hold onto its facthood status?
The answer is that evolution is deemed a fact because evolutionists know the world could not have been intelligently designed. The world’s evil, inefficiency and inelegance all mandate a thoughtless creative force. Like a fancy sports car with its steering wheel on backwards, this world doesn’t make sense. No designer capable of creating this world would have intended for it in the first place.
But of course intent is not a scientific quantity. The evolutionary mandate derives from secret knowledge, not public knowledge. Its foundation is gnosis, not scientia.
And so how well evolution fares in light of empirical science matters very little. That is a topic for research. It falls in the category of how evolution occurred, not if evolution occurred. No amount of empirical, public, evidence can change the private fact of evolution. Gnosis trumps scientia every time.
All of this means that one cannot argue with evolutionists from the scientific evidence. What a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from a scientific experiment. It does not derive from empirical findings. Rather, evolution is mandated by personal, religious beliefs that are not open to debate. Evolutionists accuse their skeptics of religious bias when they themselves are the ones who infected science with a metaphysical Trojan horse.
All of this means that evolutionary predictions and their falsifications mean very little. If a prediction or a test, such as Darwin’s proposal above, turns out to be false, it simply means that the test was ill conceived. Perhaps evolution needs to be modified, but it cannot be refuted.
As Lakatos explained, the sub hypotheses can be forfeited. They are the protective belt shielding the theoretical core. Evolution’s theoretical core is creation by natural means. The particular details don’t so much matter. Selection can be replaced by drift, gradualism can be replaced by saltationism, random mutation can be replaced by pre programmed adaptation, the evolutionary tree can be replaced by a web, even common descent can be replaced. But naturalism cannot be replaced.
So when a prediction goes bad, it is the fault of the sub hypothesis, not the theoretical core. Naturalism can never be questioned, regardless of the evidence. A good example of this came in a paper by evolutionist David Penny published last month in which Penny explained how we should understand the failure of a prediction he used to uphold evolution thirty years ago.
As I have explained, evolution predicts that different traits point to the same tree. Various evolutionary effects may cause occasional differences between the trees, but roughly speaking, if different traits are used to reconstruct the evolutionary tree, they should produce similar trees.
Thirty years ago Penny attempted to use this prediction to make evolution truly testable. In a paper published in the world’s leading science journal, Penny argued that dissimilar trees would “refute the existence of an evolutionary tree”:
Our strategy is to take different protein sequences for a common set of taxa, find all the minimal (and near minimal) evolutionary trees and then compare them. Should the probability be high that these trees are unrelated, this would indicate that the protein sequences do not contain similar evolutionary information, and hence would contradict the existence of an evolutionary tree for those taxa.
Penny used five proteins (cytochrome C, hemoglobin A, hemoglobin B, fibrinopeptide A and fibrinopeptide B) to infer the evolutionary relationships between eleven different species (rhesus monkey, sheep, horse, kangaroo, mouse, rabbit, dog, pig, human, cow, and ape). There are millions of different ways that eleven species can be arranged in an evolutionary tree. Penny used the protein comparisons between the different species to judge which of the arrangements would be more likely if they indeed were related via evolution. Penny repeated this process five times, once for each protein, and he obtained similar results. That is, the most likely evolutionary trees suggested by the five different proteins were all similar (actually there were significant differences, but as usual the test was against purely random trees). Penny concluded that “the existence of an evolutionary tree for these taxa is a falsifiable hypothesis.”
Today, thirty years later, things have changed. We now have orders of magnitude more sequence data and Penny’s prediction has been falsified many times over. There are plenty of protein and DNA sequences that do not agree, but produce incongruent evolutionary trees.
So did evolutionists reevaluate their beliefs? Did Penny conclude there is no evolutionary tree? Of course not. As Penny now writes in his new paper, he is “not rejecting the tree per se but enriching the tree concept into a network.” The new answer is horizontal gene transfer, which evolution is supposed to have created against all odds so that evolution could happen.
Evolution’s falsified predictions—and there are many, most of evolution’s predictions have turned out false—do not matter. For none of this changes the evolutionist’s certainty that the alternatives are wrong. In other words, evidence against evolution does not remedy the problems with the design hypothesis. The intent problem is no less a problem simply because biology doesn’t support evolution. Perhaps we can’t figure out how the sports car came to be, but it still has its backwards steering wheel. It must not have been intended that way.
Religion drives science, and it matters.