Darwinism Falsified in Science Long Ago?

Nope. Blind and unguided is not assumed. In fact, it was an open question at the inception of the Modern Synthesis. That is why amazing scientists like the Lederbergs, Luria, and Delbruck devised experiments that tested the hypothesis of blind and unguided mutations. Check out the links in my response to colewd.

Then check out those very hypotheses in the links in the other post.

I know I"m jumping into a long running argument, so maybe I’m reading out of context.

But I’ll take one more stab at this. (I’m not a biologist, so I’m happy to admit the details of the science are beyond me).

The the hypothesis of the experiments you have linked to I understand them are that it is possible for mutations / modern synthesis to occur blind and unguided. This I’m happy to accept.

However you seem from there to be drawing a conclusion that all evolution occurs unguided. I’m having trouble seeing how the evidence supports that conclusion.

I agree. Nothing rules out God guidance.

1 Like

First off, @swamidass is entirely correct when he states:

I am speaking strictly about the limited conclusions science can make. In essence, if mutations look like they are blind and unguided then they are treated as if they are blind and unguided. This is called the rule of parsimony. For example, if we observe a planet moving about star in an orbit consistent with general relativity then we conclude it is being moved about by gravity instead of invisible supernatural forces.

What we observe in the lab are mutations that are consistent with a blind and unguided mechanism. Therefore, scientists tentatively conclude that they are blind and unguided. Scientists also look at the pattern of genetic differences between species, and they match the patterns produced by those blind and unguided mechanisms we observe in the lab. Therefore, scientists tentatively conclude that the genetic differences between species were created by the same mechanisms we see in the lab and in the field.

Science can’t make any ontological claims about the ultimate truth of reality. What science can do is see if observations match the predictions made by hypotheses. Does that make sense?

1 Like

I agree with this, as well as @T_aquaticus latest response to me.

However, maybe I’m being pedantic (I don’t think I am), or maybe it’s a difference in the way a scientist and non scientist reads a statement.

In the original post I jumped off of

@colewd wrote " An example is text books insisting that evolution is blind and unguided."

@T_aquaticus responded “How is that ideological? That happens to be the scientific conclusion supported by mountains of evidence.”

If you replaced “is blind” with “can be blind” in the first sentence, then I have no problem with the response. Likewise if you replaced “conclusion” in the response with “consensus or working assumption” it works for me. However, I read “conclusion” as hypothesis that has been validated" which doesn’t seem to line up with either of your responses.


This, in my view, is exactly right. Making the situation more complex is several organizations whose reason for existence depends on misreading the scientific claims.

I agree with @swamidass on this one. I think it is in how scientists and non-scientists read a statement. Scientists do use a bit of shorthand since qualifying every single phrase in every single sentence would be overkill. The best analogy I know of is the phrase “found guilty in a court of law”. We all know that this comes with the qualifier “found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law”, but we often leave it out with the understanding that reasonable doubt is implied.

All scientific conclusions are tentative and open to falsification by new evidence. A consensus is when a majority of scientists share the same conclusion.

To use an example from a different field, astrophysicists assume that distant stars are fueled by fusion like our Sun is. That doesn’t mean they lack evidence for fusion in distant stars, it simply means that there is so much evidence for it that they focus on other aspects of those stars.

1 Like

Thanks, that’s interesting to hear from both you and @swamidass. It reinforces the importance of clarifying assumptions when we disagree, especially when dealing with others who have different backgrounds. I’ll admit I’m an engineer by training, so you’ll all know now that you need to communicate with me using short sentences and with small words so I can understand :slight_smile: (I’ve figured that out from watching the Big Bang Theory).


Let’s be serious @T_aquaticus, it need not even be in peer-reviewed articles. Even if they published a solid white paper, we would take it seriously.

1 Like

Agreed. I am looking for something with methods, results, and discussion sections, not necessarily something that has been accepted for publication.

1 Like

It’s generally very bad to ascribe motives to individuals and groups when they have explicitly stated otherwise. It’s the same as calling them liars. Can you read our minds? On what basis do you claim to have such insight into our motives that you are willing to call us liars? This is offensive. Was it your intention or was it carelessness?

Changing the name doesn’t make it any less an ideology or a scientific theory. Any more than if I decided to call you T_thermatoga. The name Darwinism is old, has baggase, but is well understood to mean evolution in general terms. The only ones who care about including the additional “modern” mechanisms of change are the evolutionary biologists themselves, and they already know about them.

It is not well understood to mean this. I suppose that is the point. It also means atheism, and other things also. ID often uses those other meanings for Darwinism too.

I didn’t name you specifically, and I was talking about the larger movement. I have come to this conclusion based on reading what they write, such as the articles at ENV. If you don’t use Darwinism as a philosophical cudgel then exclude yourself from the criticism.

That’s news to me. What does “Darwinism” mean? There are scientists who think epigenetics falsifies Darwinism. There are others who think neutral drift is non-Darwinian. There seems to be a lot of different opinions as to what Darwinism is.

1 Like

Let’s take a look at what Evolution News considers to be Darwinism, and what falsifies it.

We have supposed genetic changes that are not the result of natural selection. Therefore, as described by @swamidass, mechanisms like neutral drift which change genetic sequences without natural selection falsifies Darwinism. Therefore, Darwinism was falsified 50 years ago. So why keep calling the theory of evolution “Darwinism” if it left Darwinism behind years ago?

Of course, ENV also contradict themselves since they also think Darwinism predicts the accumulation of non-functional DNA. I guess they aren’t that big on consistency:

1 Like


People at DI have been pretty consistent about using neo-Darwinism, and it means random mutation and natural selection to them. That’s how Steve Meyer uses it consistently. I have tried to get people to add in genetic drift and recombination with limited success. I think epigenetics would now be included, but outside neo-Darwinism.

It’s funny though. You were directly contradicting something I wrote, and I think my knowledge of what the “ID movement” means by Darwinism is more accurate than yours.

I am going to be prickly here. You don’t like us to use the term Darwinism or neo-Darwinism. You say it’s out dated. Fine. I have told you our reasons which are valid. Maybe we should use the names pre-Kimura and post-Kimura evolution. That will really make things clear.

1 Like

Suffice it to say, there appears to be many different definitions of Darwinism out there.

Why not use the term “theory of evolution”?

It has been falsified as the ONLY important mechanism. Non-darwinian processes are needed too. That means this definition of evolution was falsified 50 years ago:

Which is why I am justified in asking why Behe is arguing against a theory falsified a long time ago by other people. We all agree that we need non-Darwinian evolution too, so at some point he has to engage with that to make a real argument against evolutionary science.

Read more here: The Neutral Theory of Evolution.

I think it is incorrect to say Darwinism (or neo-Darwinism which includes the modern synthesis) was falsified. You yourself just said positive selection still had a role to play, as does mutation, of course. You could say neo-Darwinism was “superceded by” or “expanded to include”, but not falsified. Rhetorically of course it is more effective to say Behe is arguing against a theory that has been falsified. It’s not as impressive to say he is out of date.

1 Like

Of course it is rhetorically stronger to say it is falsified, and you can’t fault me for using strong rhetoric.

What I can say is that neo-Darwinism as defined by Behe and the DI was FALSIFIED a long time ago. Based on an overwhelming amount of information it was shown to be an insufficient explanation for evolutionary change. Then it was SUPERCEDED by an extended synthesis (not the EES) that continues to this day.

The analogy to General Relativity and Newtonian Physics is correct. In some senses, the precise senses relevant to this situation, the evidence FALSIFIES Newtonian physics in important domains. The same is true for Darwinism. Just like Behe argues, knowledge of DNA FALSIFIES darwinism. The problem is that we already knew this. At some point he had to engage with the extended synthesis, and he has not done so in any of his three books.

You are right too that this is a rhetorically strong rebuttal of Behe. Thanks for the compliment. That is partly why it will objected to, even though it is 100% correct.

1 Like

The Discovery Institute has said that Neo-Darwinism has been falsified by the observation of neutral mutations accumulating in genomes due to the lack of natural selection.

1 Like