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Author Topic:   Potential falsifications of the theory of evolution
Taq
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Posts: 8207
Joined: 03-06-2009
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(2)
Message 962 of 968 (605183)
02-17-2011 1:23 PM


Summary
Preface:
It is impossible to summarize every argument in this thread for this post so I will only speak in generalities. I will instead focus on how scientific theories are falsified and why creationists consistently fail to do so. If others are still interested in specific topics I urge them to open new threads that focus on that specific topic.

Summary:

To falsify any scientific theory you first need to understand what the theory actually predicts and what facts it is trying to explain. For example, the precession in Mecury's orbit did not falsify the theory that electrons move about the nucleus of an atom. As it relates to evolution, the theory makes no predictions on how many fossils there should be nor which species should have been fossilized and in what number. Fossilization is a process of geology, not biology. Therefore, citing the lack of fossils in the fossil record is not a valid criticism of the theory of evolution which makes no statements on the actual processes of fossilization.

This leads to another common mistake made by creationists trying to falsify the theory of evolution, or any theory for that matter. Lack of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can only falsify theories with evidence that actually exists. Using the example of fossils again, the lack of a specific fossil intermediate between two species does not falsify the theory of evolution. What you need is a known fossil that does not fit the predictions made by the theory. A lack of transitionals between non-avian dinosaurs and birds does not falsify the theory of evolution. A known fossil with a mixture of avian and mammalian features WOULD falsify the theory of evolution. All scientific theories predict what one should NOT see if the theory is correct, and it is those things that you must find.

A third mistake that creationists make when trying to falsify the theory of evolution is citing a lack of knowledge as an indication that the theory is false. We are told that unless we can explain every single mutation that has happened over the last 3.5 billion years that the theory is false. IOW, we either have absolute knowledge or no knowledge. Any sane person would not expect us to know everything before we can know something, but that is the creationist argument nonetheless.

Creationists seem to think that theories are simply something that is taught, just as theology is something that is taught. What they don't seem to understand is that science is an activity. It is something that you DO. Theories guide research. The whole point of science is to use theories to discover what we DON'T know and then design research programs to fill those gaps. This is an ongoing process, not one that was finished when Darwin finished the last page of "Origin of Species". Do we know the step by step evolutionary pathway of every single protein complex in every cell of every species? No, but how does that falsify the theory of evolution? Quite simply, it doesn't.

There is no theory in science that is complete. If the lack of complete knowledge falsifies a theory then every theory in science has been falsified. It would seem that creationists are not only after the fall of evolution but of science as a whole. They can't seem to understand that "I don't know" is a perfectly valid scientific answer, and one that is actually very exciting. The whole idea of science is to confront our ignorance and try to solve the problem. This seems to upset creationists who would rather accept faith based explanations and never question them.

So my advice for creationists is this. Understand what the theory predicts we should not see and try to find those pieces of evidence. Arguments from ignorance and incredulity only expose your ignorance and your lack of imagination.


Replies to this message:
 Message 967 by Robert Byers, posted 02-19-2011 6:04 AM Taq has not yet responded

Percy
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Posts: 19069
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 963 of 968 (605212)
02-17-2011 5:00 PM


Summation
First, about Shapiro and as was mentioned several times early on after he came up, there's nothing in his research that would falsify the theory of evolution. Shapiro isn't claiming the modern synthesis is wrong, just that it doesn't adequately cover everything we've learned since it's inception. He thinks of the modern synthesis in terms of what was known at that time over a half century ago, while most of the rest of biology demurs and thinks of the modern synthesis as inclusive of what we've learned since. The modern synthesis isn't a theory explaining what we knew in the 1930's about evolution and genetics. It's a theory combining what we learn over time about evolution and genetics.

One could falsify the modern synthesis by showing that the work of the population geneticists in the 1920's was wrong, that they're not really complementary to each other. That's how they became combined in the first place, through mathematical demonstrations that varying allele frequencies over time were consistent with observed evolutionary changes in populations.

One could falsify evolution by finding evidence of organisms that do not fit on the tree of life.

One could falsify random mutations by finding evidence that they're not random with regard to fitness.

One could falsify natural selection by finding evidence that adaptation does not occur.

As Taq noted, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about how theories are falsified. Falsify means proving them wrong. To prove them wrong you have to know what they say. Both Bolder-dash and Shadow71 employed arguments that indicated profound misunderstandings. Bolder-dash misunderstood the evolutionary processes of random mutation and natural selection, while Shadow71 misunderstood Shapiro's admittedly hard-to-understand use of terminology. I expect that in their summaries we'll see the same misunderstandings.

--Percy


dwise1
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Posts: 3867
Joined: 05-02-2006
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Message 964 of 968 (605258)
02-18-2011 1:25 AM


Summation
In the end, the topic has become defined by the most recent messages, namely shadow's persistent misinterpretation of a source against all evidence to the contrary. All I could think while watching that was that he was insisting on straining at imaginary gnats, most of his own manufacture, to deny the real evidence. I cannot say with certainty that he displayed the other side of that analogy which so many other creationists do, that being the swallowing whole of entire camel caravans of false creationist claims.

shadow71
Member (Idle past 1271 days)
Posts: 706
From: Joliet, il, USA
Joined: 08-31-2010


Message 965 of 968 (605305)
02-18-2011 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 961 by AdminPD
02-17-2011 8:25 AM


My Summation
Summation

The purpose of a summation in a civil law trial is to discuss the facts ,what or where they lead to , so the Jury can make a decsion if the Plaintiff' case or theory is consistent with the evidence and is more probalbly true that not true.

Darwin's theory has been modified substantially because of new discoveries in science.

Darwin's theory is basically descent with modification, the origin or herediatry variation, and natural selection.

It is my opinion that the theory will be falsified in regards to "random mutations with regard to fitness", and Natural selection as an unguided process.

The discoveries of the cell's ability to repair and restructure their genomes and the non-randomness of biochemical systems that moblize DNA and carry out what Shapiro calls Natural Genetic Engineering will in the future show that herediatary variation is not random but planned and that natural selection is a planned process.

One call look at the complexity described in the scientific investigations of all aspects of biology and must come to realization that this could not happen randomly. It was once theroized that this so called random variation could not happen again and was basically a one shot phenomen. I believe this has been disproven by scientific discoveries.

The biggest factor in disproving the theory as it is stated today is the Origin of Life. How could all of this information and decision making in the cell have originated without guidance?

Most scientists on this board will reply that the Origin of Life is not an evolutionary theory component so it is irrevelant to Darwin's theory.

How can how life started and began to evolve not be a part of the therory of evolution?

Just as the Big Bang theory requires a beginning, so does the Darwin theory need a beginning. That beginning is planned and directed thereby falsifying the random mutation of fitness and "natural" slection.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 961 by AdminPD, posted 02-17-2011 8:25 AM AdminPD has not yet responded

jar
Member
Posts: 31760
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 966 of 968 (605310)
02-18-2011 1:04 PM


Summary
So far no signs have ever been found for planning or direction has ever been found when examining either living or non-living natural components of this universe.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

Robert Byers
Member (Idle past 2705 days)
Posts: 640
From: Toronto,canada
Joined: 02-06-2004


Message 967 of 968 (605406)
02-19-2011 6:04 AM
Reply to: Message 962 by Taq
02-17-2011 1:23 PM


Re: Summary
Taq writes:

Preface:
It is impossible to summarize every argument in this thread for this post so I will only speak in generalities. I will instead focus on how scientific theories are falsified and why creationists consistently fail to do so. If others are still interested in specific topics I urge them to open new threads that focus on that specific topic.

Summary:

To falsify any scientific theory you first need to understand what the theory actually predicts and what facts it is trying to explain. For example, the precession in Mecury's orbit did not falsify the theory that electrons move about the nucleus of an atom. As it relates to evolution, the theory makes no predictions on how many fossils there should be nor which species should have been fossilized and in what number. Fossilization is a process of geology, not biology. Therefore, citing the lack of fossils in the fossil record is not a valid criticism of the theory of evolution which makes no statements on the actual processes of fossilization.

This leads to another common mistake made by creationists trying to falsify the theory of evolution, or any theory for that matter. Lack of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can only falsify theories with evidence that actually exists. Using the example of fossils again, the lack of a specific fossil intermediate between two species does not falsify the theory of evolution. What you need is a known fossil that does not fit the predictions made by the theory. A lack of transitionals between non-avian dinosaurs and birds does not falsify the theory of evolution. A known fossil with a mixture of avian and mammalian features WOULD falsify the theory of evolution. All scientific theories predict what one should NOT see if the theory is correct, and it is those things that you must find.

A third mistake that creationists make when trying to falsify the theory of evolution is citing a lack of knowledge as an indication that the theory is false. We are told that unless we can explain every single mutation that has happened over the last 3.5 billion years that the theory is false. IOW, we either have absolute knowledge or no knowledge. Any sane person would not expect us to know everything before we can know something, but that is the creationist argument nonetheless.

Creationists seem to think that theories are simply something that is taught, just as theology is something that is taught. What they don't seem to understand is that science is an activity. It is something that you DO. Theories guide research. The whole point of science is to use theories to discover what we DON'T know and then design research programs to fill those gaps. This is an ongoing process, not one that was finished when Darwin finished the last page of "Origin of Species". Do we know the step by step evolutionary pathway of every single protein complex in every cell of every species? No, but how does that falsify the theory of evolution? Quite simply, it doesn't.

There is no theory in science that is complete. If the lack of complete knowledge falsifies a theory then every theory in science has been falsified. It would seem that creationists are not only after the fall of evolution but of science as a whole. They can't seem to understand that "I don't know" is a perfectly valid scientific answer, and one that is actually very exciting. The whole idea of science is to confront our ignorance and try to solve the problem. This seems to upset creationists who would rather accept faith based explanations and never question them.

So my advice for creationists is this. Understand what the theory predicts we should not see and try to find those pieces of evidence. Arguments from ignorance and incredulity only expose your ignorance and your lack of imagination.

Take your first stuff about fossils.
If evolutionary theory is using fossils as evidence for the theory then one CAN note the lack of intermediates as a flaw in the theory. For the theory is itself based on a line of heritage. The fossils being used as a connection, yet without a intermediate, then lose their support for being in a line.
You can't draw a line between a and c and ignore b missing when without b being there THERE is no reason to draw a line in the first place. its just speculation .
This is why creationisms attack against the gaps in fossils is so persuasive. Evolution needs to fill in the gaps because the connections are speculative.
i would add further that a biological theory can not use geological presumptions as its main point and still say its a biological idea.
Without the geology evolution claims are worthless. So evolution can not claim to be based on biological research to a great extent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 962 by Taq, posted 02-17-2011 1:23 PM Taq has not yet responded

AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 968 of 968 (605408)
02-19-2011 6:58 AM


Topic Closed
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