Nothing is Going Rightnew study out of Harvard continues to find problems with the spider evolution story. This time it is a massive genetic study demonstrating that spiders that create orb webs do not fall into the expected evolutionary pattern. As usual, the problem cannot simply be explained away as a consequence of methodological problems and evolutionists are left with convergence or extinction as their only explanations. Either orb weaving evolved multiple times, or it evolved once, proliferated, and then a bunch of species became extinct. Ever since Darwin this denouement has repeated itself over and over—evolutionists apply their theory to a particular problem, their predictions turn out false, and they respond by accommodating the new findings. Skeptics say the theory is failing and evolutionists say this is just good science at work. Did you expect every prediction to be perfect? Inevitably the debate devolves into one over falsification and unfortunately misses what is really important.
There literally are thousands of stories like this spider study. Evolutionary expectations fail, evolutionists adjust and move on, explaining that there’s nothing there that falsified evolution, it was merely a particular prediction that was falsified.
But that doesn’t mean that such failures do not pose serious problems for the theory of evolution. Evolutionists go easy on their theory. They set the bar high and enjoy the ability of their theory to avoid falsification.
To be fair though, one should not expect the practitioners and promoters of a theory to be serious skeptics. Evolutionists sometimes say they would love to falsify their theory, as that would make them famous. But in science there are enormous conformance pressures, ranging from social to monetary. And this is even more so with evolution. If you genuinely question evolution (not just question a sub hypothesis) then you become an anathema. You will be called a creationist. You will be blackballed and rather than becoming famous, you become infamous.
So what is the problem with evolution’s failed predictions, such as this latest study of orb weaving spiders? Actually there are three problems. It is true that the predicted failure, alone, does not falsify evolutionary theory. That’s a rather silly notion given how evolution was never confirmed in the first place, and how flexible is the theory. Evolutionists cannot even explain, in any scientific sense, the evolution of a single protein.
Evolution is metaphysically motivated and has always failed on the science. So the problem is not that new prediction failures falsify the theory. The first problem with such failures is their quantity. There are thousands of such failures. Evolution is consistently coming up short. Its predictions are always wrong and evolutionists are always surprised. To say this steady stream of failure is just a sign of good science is an incredible euphemism.
The second problem with such failures is that they cause the theory to lose parsimony. With each failed prediction, the theory becomes far more complicated as patches and epicycles are added. And this brings us to the third problem, which is related to the second problem.
These failed predictions cause evolution to lose its smoking gun. The strong scientific argument for evolution was that in a stroke it resolves myriad puzzles in the life sciences. There is a consilience across a wide spectrum of disparate disciplines and data, and previously unlikely or bizarre findings are suddenly and simply explained by Darwin’s elegant theory.
This is all a myth as there never was any such genuine consilience. But if one selectively examines the evidence, one can construct such a story. And it is a powerful story. Why do so many species have the pentadactyl structure? It doesn’t seem to make sense, but with common descent it suddenly falls into place. Across those many species, the pentadactyl structure falls neatly into evolution’s common descent pattern. It is all so obvious.
Take this example along with so many others, and you have a consilience. These curious evidences are the smoking gun that compels us to accept evolution. There’s only one problem. There is no such consilience. This latest spider study is just one more example of how the evidence does not fall neatly into the evolutionary pattern—it contradicts that simple, elegant pattern.
Even the venerable pentadactyl structure failed. As Stephen J. Gould put it, “The conclusion seems inescapable, and an old ‘certainty’ must be starkly reversed.”
So it is not that evolutionists cannot explain away all these failures. Of course they can. Evolution is an over-arching, vague, notion that can accommodate myriad findings with all manner of creative explanations. The problem is there is no reason to think, from a scientific perspective, that evolution is a good theory. It cannot explain how the species arose, and the patterns that the species form don’t fit evolution’s expected pattern. There is no smoking gun.
Consider how one report explains the new spider study findings:
For decades, the story of spider evolution went like this: As insects became more and more diverse, with some species taking to the skies, spiders evolved new hunting strategies, including the ability to weave orb-shaped webs to trap their prey. From that single origin, the story goes, orb-weaver spiders diverged along different evolutionary paths, leading to today, where several species weave similar -- though not identical -- webs. It's a good story, but there's just one problem -- Harvard scientists now know it's not true. The largest-ever phylogenetic study of spiders, conducted by postdoctoral student Rosa Fernández, Gonzalo Giribet, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, and Gustavo Hormiga, a professor at George Washington University, shows that, contrary to long-held popular opinion, the two groups of spiders that weave orb-shaped webs do not share a single origin.
As the study explains, the findings demand “a major reevaluation of our current understanding of the spider evolutionary chronicle.”