Evolution is not falsifiable.

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Zeno, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Zeno Registered Senior Member

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    I have come to the conclusion that evolution is not falsifiable. The evolutionists can always make up some kind of imaginary story to fit the evidence. Why don't we see evolution occurring today? That's because evolution is too slow. It takes millions of years. Why don't we see evolution in the fossil record? That's because it was so fast, you know, punctuated equilibrium. What about genes that are not in agreement with the phylogeny? That is explained by incomplete lineage sorting. Fantastic complicated genomes that appear to be the result of some kind of intelligence? That's an argument from incredulity. What would falsify evolution? How do evolutionists respond to such a question? They simply pick X. X is something that either doesn't exist or is impossible to exist. They then say that if X did exist then evolution would be falsified. They thereby prove that the theory is not falsifiable.
     
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Do you have a better theory?
     
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  5. Zeno Registered Senior Member

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    What kind of evidence would falsify evolution?
     
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  7. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    The oft quoted example, complete with its own wiki page, is the Precambrian rabbit.
     
  8. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution still happens today. Ever get the flu more than once? That's because the flu virus is constantly evolving in response to our immune response.
     
  9. Zeno Registered Senior Member

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    So here we have an example of X being a rabbit in the Precambrian strata. Something has been picked which does not exist. The claim then is that if X did exist, evolution would be falsified. X does not exist, therefore evolution is not falsified. This merely proves my point. Evolution is not falsifiable. Even if this were found, there would be some kind of explanation as to how this has occurred through evolution. Something else would then be picked instead. Evolution must not be considered a scientific theory if it can't be falsified.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    It's just a particular example of the "Fossils in the wrong place or out of order" general approach to invalidating evolution. Arguably not sufficient in itself, but part of a multi-prong strategy of potential observations which many "Is too falsifiable!" campaigns have submitted for evolution in the Popperian context (as to what qualifies as science).

    Karl Popper: "There exists no law of evolution, only the historical fact that plants and animals change, or more precisely, that they have changed." --Conjectures and Refutations ... 1963

    "Evolution" broadened in meaning to "descent with modification" opens the door to many specific, rival possibilities as the "cause" (i.e., difficult to deny that changes occur over time, as Popper asserts). But "evolution" narrowed down to distinctions and explanatory frameworks that are the proprietorship of current biology is accordingly more vulnerable (though warranted or amply defended with evidence for the time being).

    - - -
     
  11. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    What's the alternative?
     
  12. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Falsify your idols.
     
  13. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    The one that made a wrong turn at Paleoquerque?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    At it's most basic, 'evolution' means 'change over time'. Things are observed to change over time. Complete stasis of whatever we are talking about would falsify the hypothesis that whatever we are talking about does indeed change.

    I assume that you are talking about biological evolution by natural selection. What evolutionary biologists do is hypothesize about phylogenetic relationships, about relationships of deep ancestry. These can be corroborated in a variety of very different ways. Oftentimes the fossil record provides evidence. And in the last twenty years, a whole different (and highly consilient) line of inquiry has opened up, genomic evidence. Comparative anatomy and biogeography provide evidence. Even geochemistry can give us evidence of things like microbial chemical activity in precambrian times.

    So suppose that evolutionary biologists hypothesize the the camera-like eyes of mammals and evolutionary very distantly related cephalopod molluscs, along with the compound eyes of insects, are all independent examples of convergent evolution. (The idea that they all had different evolutionary origins but evolved to fulfill similar functions. Textbooks used to say this was probably the case.) One way to test that hypothesis is to look at the genomes of these various organisms and try to find the genes that stimulate the growth of eyes. That's been done and it seems that a highly conserved gene called pax-6 found (with some variations) in all bilaterally symmetrical organisms from the simplest flatworms to humans is deeply involved in eye growth in all of them. So that's evidence that the anatomically different eyes in these various taxa are indeed related and probably aren't separate examples of convergent evolution.

    https://web.stanford.edu/class/cs37...supplements/documents/CallaertsetalARN-97.pdf

    The discovery of conserved genes playing a role in the development of diverse eyes has led us to propose that the different eyes may have a monophyletic origin. At the same time however, these new data raise the issue of how the action of homologous regulators is interpreted differently to build the distinct eyes or, in other words, how subsequent evolution has modified the ancestral visual structure in numerous ways leading to the different eye types observed today. (p. 526)

    We do. It's most obvious in organisms (and viruses) that reproduce very rapidly. It's what accounts for the appearance of drug-resistant microorganisms.

    We do. The fossil record is a set of still-images of individual organisms when they died and their remains were preserved in mud or whatever. One wouldn't expect to see evolution occurring by looking at individual fossils. So what fossil hunters do is sample the history of organisms -- an example from here and one from there. Critics of evolution like to complain that what was found was different types of organism with gaps between them. When an intermediate type is found, they continue to complain that now we have three types of organism and two gaps, but still no evolution. But fossil hunters are never going to produce a continuous unbroken movie.

    Biological change needn't be the gradual accumulation of minute changes. It needn't happen at one constant speed. Suppose that a single point-mutation has an effect on fetal development producing a sudden new phenotypic variant. For example, a bird with a stouter beak that's better for cracking nuts appearing when the bird species is moving into a region with lots of nuts as potential food. If a small change in the genetics of bird fetuses can lead to such a change, it will appear to have to originated suddenly. Then after that sudden change, the bird beaks may not change for a long period, provided the birds are doing well eating nuts.

    Phylogenies are reconstructions of ancestral relationships. They are often very hypothetical. If genetic evidence (or the fossil evidence) isn't in accordance with the hypothesis, then either the hypothesis is wrong or there needs to be some other sort of explanation for what's observed. The pax-6 example above might be an example of that.

    By narrowing it down to particular phylogenetic hypotheses about particular organisms, taxa and lineages. Those hypotheses can indeed be falsified by the fossil record, by genomic evidence or whatnot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  15. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    Correct it is not falsified. But if there was a rabbit in a Precambrian layer that would be strong evidence for falsification.
    Not at all, because if there is was say, human bones found with dinosaurs it would be falsified. The fact that there are no such fossils does not mean it can't be falsified it simply means it is not false based on all of the evidence.
    These are your beliefs not science. You are coming from the view point that the scientific community wants evolution to be true and that is just your fantasy. If a scientist were to find that elusive Precambrian rabbit he would become a very famous scientist in deed.
     
  16. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Copying this from rationalwiki:

    Evolution would be falsified if:

    • If it could be shown that organisms with identical DNA have different genetic traits.
    • If it could be shown that mutations do not occur.
    • If it could be shown that when mutations do occur, they are not passed down through the generations.
    • If it could be shown that although mutations are passed down, no mutation could produce the sort of phenotypicchanges that drive natural selection.
    • If it could be shown that selection or environmental pressures do not favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals.
    • If it could be shown that even though selection or environmental pressures favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals, "better adapted individuals" (at any one time) are not shown to change into other species.
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    You are in respectable company at least: Karl Popper himself made the same error for a while, though he worked out he was wrong and revised his view accordingly. Will you be man enough to do the same, I wonder?

    1) We do see evolution occurring today. At the micro level we see that the resistance of microbes and cancers to drugs is due to exactly this process. At the macro level we have "ring species" , in which the process of speciation is caught in the act.

    2) The fossil record consists of little else but evidence of evolution. If that were not so, palaentologists would not have been able to construct such elaborate and consistent theories of ancestry, which predict successfully what types of feature should be expected in fossils in between. Archaeopterix being just the most obvious example.

    3) DNA relationships provide strong evidence of common ancestry and thus of evolution, that corroborates the fossil-based lineages by totally independent chemical means. DNA analysis has been a triumphant vindication of the work done by the palaeontologists.

    4) As has been pointed out, a rabbit in the Cambrian would falsify the theory. Your inability to grasp this argument means you do not understand - or do not wish to understand - what falsifiable means. Falsifiable does not mean falsified. Falsifiable means there is a feasible class of observations which, if certain results were to be obtained, would falsify the theory. The fact that no such observation has yet been made simply means the theory is for the time being intact, i.e. has not been falsified to date.

    But your approach is all the usual tired creationist claptrap you seem to have got from one of their imbecile books. This was all disposed of decades ago. Can't you come up with something original?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  18. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    We have bacteria now that live exclusively on nylon. We've observed the beaks of Darwin's Finches mutating to adapt to their food supply.
     
  19. Zeno Registered Senior Member

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    I don't really waste my time 'debating' evolution because it is very easily proven false. The idea that random changes to fantastically complicated genomes will be successfully integrated into the information that is already there and will lead to improved fitness and design is an absurdity of the highest degree. The information that is passed down to offspring was already in existence in the previous generation. No new information, therefore no evolution. The genome of a mouse is 2.7 billion nucleotide bases long. Only a mentally retarded person would believe that this was produced by random chance. If anybody believes that evolution is true then that person should simply write down the nucleotide base sequence that will create an organism. Organisms weren't produced by intelligence so writing down a nucleotide base sequence that will produce an organism should be very easy.
     
  20. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Random mutation is only part of it. Why don't you even know basic things about the theory you criticize? Natural selection is what weeds out and refines the solutions based on variations of previous forms in a process that is seldom random.

    Typing at random won't produce Shakespeare, but if you add that partially recreating Shakespeare, even just a letter, is preserved, and future typing includes all the letters you already got correct, it will lead to Othello surprisingly quickly.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Of course it's falsifiable. A single example of a trait that cannot evolve gradually, but instead requires a significant and simultaneous change of several parts of a genome, would show that evolution cannot be the only reason that populations change with time.
    Agreed. That's not how evolution works.
    Mutations = new information.
    Right. It wasn't. It was produced by random chance (=mutation) AND natural selection.
    Craig Venter did just that:

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6280/aad6253

    Any other questions?
     
  22. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    No questions, he doesn't debate.
     
  23. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    So what alternative do you propose?
     

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