Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Darwin's false predictions

This book claims that Darwinian theory has a history of false predictions which provides evidence against it.


Clayton said...

Not off to a good start:

"In logic, when a hypothesis predicts or entails an observation that is discovered to be false, then the hypothesis is concluded to be false. Not so in science."

Victor Reppert said...

On the face of things, it looks like you have to distinguish between predictions that were made by Darwin or Darwinists, and predictions that actually follow from Darwinian theory.

Clayton said...

Undoubtedly. That's part of the problem. The other is just that in science _and_ in logic when some proposition entails a proposition we discover is false we thereby discover that the first is false. I'm sure what the author meant to say was that in science we can only try to falsify a theory by helping ourselves to some auxiliary assumptions so we always face the choice between rejecting the theory, rejecting the additional assumptions we used in our tests, or rejecting both but we use logic to explain this point. If theory + assumptions entails some false proposition, it's not the case that the theory and the assumptions are true. Looks suspiciously like: (P&Q) --> R
Thus, ~(P&Q).

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD Walters said...

Because I haven't read the literature in the field, I tend to avoid these detailed technical arguments. However, I am fascinated by the possibility that modern evolutionary theory is the product of so many revised assumptions, theoretical revolutions and new facts that it can be called 'Darwinian' in name only. But that too is a question which I don't feel qualified to address.

Anonymous said...

I don't have time to read this book now, but a quick skim gives me the impression that there's a lot wrong with it. Some of his issues are addressed at
I can't resist pointing out that Hunter's preferred Intelligent Design theory avoids making false predictions by making no testable predictions at all. This is not generally regarded as a point in its favour.

Clayton said...


You might check out this book by Ernst Mayr if you're interested in the Darwinian theory:

You can get a used copy for less than $4. It does a nice job presenting the evidence in light of which the theory has changed and developed over the years.

Ilíon said...

Were a person interested in understanding (*) the fact, I could show him, using nothing but logic, and scientific fact, and 'modern evolutionary theory' itself, that 'modern evolutionary theory' is a self-contradiction.

Few persons, on either side, seem willing to work through the issue.

(*) And, of course, the person must be intellectually honest enough to admit that the demonstration has been done.

Clayton said...

Were a person interested in understanding (*) the fact, I could show him, using nothing but logic, and scientific fact, and 'modern evolutionary theory' itself, that 'modern evolutionary theory' is a self-contradiction.

Let's see it. I know I'm far too intellectually dishonest to see your proof for what it is, but think of the children.

Ilíon said...

Clayton, there is nothing at all intellectually honest about you.

This post brought to you by "ovenite"

J said...

The writer misuses Popperian falsification. Kuhn might have helped (though Kuhn is not w ithout flaws).

A scientific theory such as Darwinian evolution includes hundreds, if not thousands of empirically-verified fact-claims (which could be in principle listed as individual propositions). Yet at same time, some, if not many of these will be modified, or at times rejected. Some may be provisional, or a matter of probability. So the class of Theory includes hundreds of propositions, or fact-claims (contingent, really, in traditional philosophy) which support the theory. Rejecting one, or even dozens, merely updates the theory, but does not falsify it.

Darwin admittedly was no bio-chemist. So the discovery of DNA altered evolutionary thinking (and biochemistry)--as did Mendelian genetics. That's not to imply any designer mumbo-jumbo--and I think Hunter does want to suggest something like IDT, which is not really justifed by the facts. (A gap or problem with a theory does not at all imply a Designer filled it up--that's Ad Ignorantium). The theory-process is not static as many philosophers and some scientists hold.

Clayton said...

I was honest when I said that I wanted to see your purported refutation of Darwin and I doubt I'm alone in this. Show us the goods or admit that you are intellectually dishonest!

Ilíon said...

Clayton, you do not want to know.

Furthermore, even if I were to refuse to say anything more, that alone isn't enough to justify calling me intellectually dishonest.

Look, I already know how the charade goes -- I've already tried to discuss this with "Darwinists" and 'atheists' -- you will turn to illogic (most frequently, question-begging and special pleading), to ad hoccery, to pious fideism (i.e. you'll say things like, "Yeah, but "Science" have an answer for that someday" even though the 'that' is a logic contradiction).

Why, already knowing what *you* are like, and already knowing the lengths to which evolutionists will go to protect evolutionism from rational criticism, would I spend any more time with you on this?

What is in it for me?

Ilíon said...

Shoot, Clayton, just look at your very first post in the thread.

Shackleman said...

I was a committed Darwinist for most of my life until I read Behe's "Edge of Evolution". I read it at the same time I was reading Brian Greene's "Fabric of the Cosmos". The two reads, covering very different subjects from very different experts made for a very weird and unexpected symbiosis. After that experience I was *shocked* to discover that my faith in Darwinism was completely rocked, and I would say I lean strongly toward the ID position now.

Anyone interested in the subject owes it to themselves to read Behe's "Edge...". It might not change your mind, but if you're even just a tiny bit open, you'll come away from it with at least some meaty, if not SERIOUS food for thought.

More generally, I suggest anyone with a genuine interest, read the works by the best proponents of a particular position, not their opposition. That's what tends to happen with subjects related to evolution. People tend to get all their information on Intelligent Design (for example) from the likes of Dawkins, never stopping to get their info straight from the horses' mouths.

Give it a fair treatment, and read the works from Dembski and Behe and see for yourself. If you don't come away from it having any change of mind, fine, but at the least you'll understand that they present real and challenging opposition, and it's not this religious Trojan Horse their opposition disingenuously argues that it is.

Clayton said...

"What is in it for me?"

You can show the world that you're right. Some of us are skeptical. We think you're lying when you say that you can refute Darwin. I'm sure that if you could do it, some of those who are already more inclined towards your views will learn something.

Ilíon said...

The world doesn't want the truth ... about much of anything.

And, these days, I am more interested in more fully understand the AfR and its ramifications than in pursuing a merely scientific fact which I've understood pretty well since about 2002 or 2003.

Hmmm. This post brought to you by "cries"
'Science' is a game for little boys. Men turn to philosophy ... and to theology.

But, tell you what, Clayton. In this thread at "What's Wrong With the World," I have laid the groundwork for the explanation. The thread currently has 119 posts about something else; my seven or so posts on the matter are scattered within those.

The person ("Sarah") who was asking me to explain what I meant appears to have lost interest. Appearances can be deceiving, of course, but one can deal only with what one sees.

So, if you can ask some intelligible, logical, rational questions about what I've written so for, I'll continue.

Show me that I am wrong about your attitude. Show me that you are both capable and willing to critically engage an argument you do not wish to be true.