Is Evolution Speculation?


#1

It has been suggested by some that evolution is speculative, or that it isn’t testable. I can understand why someone coming from a creationist background might think that because they are continually told that this is the case. The science behind evolution is a bit opaque and is much harder to understand than the straightforward arguments used by some creationists. There are lots of reasons why a well meaning person may not have a full appreciation for the science that backs the theory of evolution.

Perhaps the first question a person should ask, if they think evolution is speculative, is why so many biologists have no problem with the theory. This includes thousands of christian scientists. This isn’t an atheist only thing. This is 99+% of biologists regardless of religious or political affiliation.

A creationist named Todd Wood had this to say about 9 years ago:

“Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.”
Todd Wood

Again, this is a creationist saying this. There is no conspiracy to hide a failing theory. There is no way that a conspiracy would even work given the global nature of the scientific community and the diversity of its membership.

In the name of Peaceful Science, I think it would be helpful if creationist realize that there has to be something to the scientific theory in order for so many scientists to accept it. On the flip side, those of us who accept the science of evolution should be a bit more forgiving for those well meaning people who have not spent as much time looking at the science as we have. Just to continue on with Todd Wood’s thoughts:

“Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn’t make it ultimately true, and it doesn’t mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don’t be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don’t idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that’s not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you.”


(T J Runyon) #2

My favorite creationist saying is, “evolution isn’t science. You can’t test it. It isn’t falsifiable.” Then immediately after they will make arguments about proteins or something to show evolution is false. So you mean… You just falsified evolution? Something you just said can’t be done. Can’t count how many times I’ve seen that.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

Would it not be a better world if more people took this deal?


#4

You have to start somwhere. :wink:


(Dan Eastwood) #5

Gaslighting themselves. :frowning:
There is so much more to say here I don’t know where to start. Lately I’ve been making an effort to have sincere discussions with some people like this, but it’s very hard to find any common ground from which to build honest communications.

I regularly encounter the claim “There is no evidence for evolution - not repeatable - not falsifiable” and similar variations on Facebook. I can easily give counter-examples, but it never seems to make much of an impression.


(Dan Eastwood) #6

I keep a file of some of the best quotes, quips, and retorts I have encountered, including one very much like that. I’m tempted to post some of my collection here, but I don’t want to start fight. Maybe just a few …

So, here's what you're saying in a nutshell:
1) My theology is not science.
2) I want you to teach my theology in science class.
Can you see what is wrong with this picture now?

“This isn’t really and never has been a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy.”
-Philip Johnson, a formulator of ‘The Wedge’ movement: World Magazine (1996).

"Evolution cannot be falsified. This evidence disproves it.”

“Creationism can never be disproven because it is based on the absolute truth of the infallible Word of God!"
"Creationism should be taught in public schools because one man’s opinion is as good as another.”

That’s enough.


#7

I keep trying to find a solution to this situation, but sometimes there just isn’t one. At some point you just have to respectfully agree to disagree. In these types of topics people have to be willing to wade into rather deep scientific waters, and that willingness isn’t always there.

I like to tell myself that it may make an impression on others who read the material. I don’t know how true it is, but it helps to cut down on the frustration.


(Dan Eastwood) #8

I have encountered people who admit to being influenced that way, but not a lot of them. I suspect there are more, but they are not so strongly influence that they ever talk about it.


(Nonlin.org) #9
  1. Because they have been brainwashed
  2. Because opposite views are systematically censored
  3. Why would biologists matter more than others? Do they know something about “evolution” we were not told? If so why don’t they share? If not, who cares about them?
  4. Because you simply cannot get a biology degree without proving your allegiance to Darwin

Darwinism has never been the dominant view until recently and, mark my words, it will be acknowledged as fraud and gone within the next 100 years.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #10

I just want to add that creationists includes all forms namely YEC, ID, OEC, and TE/EC. Some may look less egregious than others but they are all the same in that they all say that evolutionary science doesn’t work without some sort of creator, interloper or manager . YEC, OEC, ID and TE/EC are not evolutionary science and should be treated as religion and not science in discussions.


(Nonlin.org) #11

…and hopefully a lot sooner.
I’m cheerfully doing my part to expose the Darwin fraud. :grinning:


(T J Runyon) #12

Hear that guys? We have been brainwashed. We didn’t come to conclusions we did because of evidence and our honest investigation of it. We were just brainwashed. But not @Nonlin.org. He came to all his beliefs rationally. He wasn’t brainwashed.


(T J Runyon) #13

Funny how “Darwinism”, a view rejected by pretty much every biologist in the 60’s, just now became the dominant paradigm in biology…


(Bill Cole) #14

What does this mean for neutral theory?


(T J Runyon) #15

Neutral theory is what made Darwinism fall out of favor


(Bill Cole) #16

What has brought it to become the dominant paradigm in biology?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #17

@Nonlin.org I’m very sad for you. Darwinian evolution was falsified in the 1960s by Haldane and Kimura. That is not current evolutionary science. You might need to find something else to expose.

I got a biology degree before I realized ID arguments were false. No one asks in science what you believe in your heart. There are no allegiance tests in science. I know many scientists that are even YECs and accepted by their colleagues as legitimate scientists.

A rock solid mathematical theory, validated by experiments, simulations, and more. There are just 1000s of papers on it now.


(T J Runyon) #18

See: The Neutral Theory of Evolution.


(Bill Cole) #19

This was Ann Gaugers claim which went unchallenged. Looks like a weak argument unless the mutations are indeed guided.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

Look, maybe evolution was guided by God. We certainly have not ruled that out. However, the question at hand is something different. Can we demonstrate that he guided it? That is a much higher bar. I have not yet seen an ID argument clear that bar.