Saturday, July 11, 2009

Honest Question
Reading about the big hype surrounding Obama's appointment of Francis Collins, I had this thought:
These bigwig macro-evolutionists always say that creationism and ID are non-falsifiable. I have never heard any of them say how macro-evolution itself is falsifiable. How can anyone say that the theory of macro-evolution is falsifiable? I don't get it.

FreeThinker quotes this claim (by a non-bigwig) and handles it well, in my opinion.


  1. There are many conceivable lines of evidence that could falsify evolution. For example:
    • a static fossil record;
    • true chimeras, that is, organisms that combined parts from several different and diverse lineages (such as mermaids and centaurs) and which are not explained by lateral gene transfer, which transfers relatively small amounts of DNA between lineages, or symbiosis, where two whole organisms come together;
    • a mechanism that would prevent mutations from accumulating;
    • observations of organisms being created.

A couple of points on the level of meta-argument must be made here. First, one can always satisfy the Popperian falsifiability criterion by welding together a myth with a bit of genuine science. Thus, one may frame a "grand theory of love," according to which:

(a) God is love,
(b) Love created the world and infuses everything in it,
(c) Love is all you need,
(d) In the Age of Aquarius, peace will bind the planets and love will steer the stars,
(e) Love attracts all objects to one another with a strength proportional to the masses of the objects over the square of the distance, such that small unencumbered objects at roughly the Earth's surface will accelerate downwards at a speed of 9.8 m/s2.

Thus the "grand theory of love" splices a lot of mysticism and crankism onto the theory of gravity. As a result, it generates falsifiable predictions from part (e). The theory of evolution is the same way: some parts of it are scientific and generate falsifiable predictions, others are myths which do not.

Read more of this post here.

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