Transposable elements are not merely a successful prediction of common descent, they are a powerful exhibit of dysteleology—the lack of design. We can hardly imagine that god would have installed these not very useful DNA segments at the same place in cousin species.
As theological evolutionists explain, transposable elements are an example where the design hypothesis fails and there really is no other explanation aside from common descent.
The IFF statement
In other words, this is not the usual case of IF theory X is TRUE, then we should observe Y. Instead, this is a case of IF AND ONLY IF theory X is TRUE, then we should observe Y. Not only does common descent explain transposable elements, but only common descent explains transposable elements.
The IF AND ONLY IF statement, also known as an IFF statement, is different from the usual IF statement in some important ways. First, given IF X THEN Y, it is not true that IF Y THEN X. In other words, a successful prediction does not mean the theory is true. That is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. A successful prediction merely means that the theory has passed a test.
Not so with an IFF statement. Given IFF X THEN Y, it is also true that IF Y THEN X. A successful prediction does mean the theory is true.
Another important difference between the IF statement and the IFF statement is that whereas the IF statement is scientific, the IFF statement is metaphysical. That is, in science a theory can produce predictions. If the theory is true, certain observations are expected. The IF statement is simply a statement about the theory and its predictions.
But the IFF statement is not merely a statement about the theory—it is a statement about all possible theories. The IFF statement is a claim that there does not exist any theory aside from X that can explain observation Y. Such claims are not possible within science.
In the case of transposable elements, evolutionists say god would not allow for the pattern of similarities we observe without common descent being true. This is because the transposable element patterns between species make common descent appear to be true. Therefore if god allowed for this pattern of similarities without common descent being true, it would be deceptive. Since god is not deceptive, only common descent can explain transposable elements. IFF common descent, THEN transposable elements.
IFF statements are common in evolutionary thought. The most famous one comes from one of the twentieth century’s leading evolutionists, Theodosius Dobzhansky, who claimed that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” If it isn’t already obvious, that claim is equivalent to an IFF statement, as the following sequence of equivalent statements demonstrates:
1. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution
2. Everything in biology makes sense only in the light of evolution
3. Only evolution can make sense of anything in biology
4. IFF evolution THEN biology
Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world.
The problem of unconceived alternatives
The history of science is littered with theories that were believed to be true and yet later dropped. In many cases a theory was held to be true not so much because it was convincing but because the alternatives were considered to be impossible. The theory was later dropped not because one of those alternatives became more palatable, but because an entirely different explanation was discovered. In other words, this reasoning by process of elimination is susceptible to unconceived alternatives.
The evolutionist’s many IFF statements are another example of this reasoning by process of elimination. They are certain their idea is correct because the alternatives must be wrong. As Ernst Mayr, another leading evolutionist of the twentieth century, once admitted, evolution achieved its predominance “less by the amount of irrefutable proofs it has been able to present than by the default of all the opposing theories.”
Just common sense
Now all this talk of theological premises, IFF statement and unconceived alternatives may seem unnecessary and irrelevant. Isn’t all this just an asterisk on what is obvious? As one evolutionist commented, yes it is a theological claim, but it is really amounts to common sense.
Transposable elements and their patterns obviously are not designed no matter how many technicalities one can raise against the clear conclusion. There is a theological claim there, but it is hardly important. It is nothing more than a teensie, tiny part of the reasoning.
This sentiment is typical and reminds us of Whitehead’s brilliant advise not to question someone on what he feels he needs to defend, but rather on what he takes for granted. The popular version goes like this: It isn’t what a man doesn’t know that scares me, but what he knows for sure.
Evolutionists know for sure that their idea is a fact. And if all the evidence aligned with their claims then we would join with them. After all, there’s nothing wrong with metaphysics.
The rest of the story
But this the rub. While evolutionists are convinced by evidences such as transposable elements, there are monumental problems with evolution and common descent. As for common descent, biology is full of patterns that, unlike the transposable elements, do not align with the expected pattern.
In fact, if this were about following the evidence, then common descent would have been falsified long ago. Even evolutionists are now admitting the venerable evolutionary tree is falling because the species comparisons are yielding similarities and differences that simply do not match the expectations.
Incredible similarities in distant species and incredible differences in similar species abound. No one knows what kind of pattern may emerge, but it isn’t looking like an evolutionary tree.
So while there are evidences, such as transposable elements, that predominantly support common descent, there are plenty of others that do not. If we want to evaluate common descent we would, like an accountant, tally up the gains and losses—the confirmations and contradictions.
But evolutionists don’t do this. Instead of cooly analyzing the various evidences and their implications, evolutionists are busy making unfounded and undefendable truth claims, and ridiculing those who don’t follow along.
This is where the metaphysics and theology come back to bite us. If we apply theology selectively to the evidence of choice, and conclude common descent must be true, then the rest of the evidence no longer matters. It is relegated to the status of a research problem.
Amazingly, evolutionists often are not even cognizant of contradictory evidences. Over and over they claim that all the evidence unequivocally supports common descent and evolution. That’s just bad science.
Evolution’s track record is that the more we learn about the evidence the more it contradicts evolutionary theory. New evidence is interpreted according to evolution and hailed as new proofs, but as more is learned the proofs turn to questions and finally to contradictions.
Today transposable elements are good evidence for common descent and evolution. Whether they remain that way is difficult to say. But what is clear is that evidences such as transposable elements are counter balanced by monumental problems for both common descent and evolution. And the transposable element evidence does nothing to clear up that conflict.
As it stands, common descent and evolution are not very good scientific theories. The fact that they enjoy the support of certain evidences puts them in the class of blood-letting and the flat earth theory.
Confirmed predictions are not hard to come by in science. The difference is that evolutionists apply religious mandates to the evidence. What is merely a confirmed prediction becomes something far more powerful. Religion drives science, and it matters.