Monday, May 04, 2009

Evolution isn't Science

Evolution isn't science.

It might be philosophy, which, according to Wikipedia, is "the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, law, justice, validity, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing these questions (such as mysticism or mythology) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument."

Or it might be religion, which describes as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

On further thought, I think it's more religion than philosophy since it specifically purports to answer the cause, nature and purpose of the universe.

In any case, it is not science, which is, again according to Wikipedia, a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, and the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. "To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."

In other words, you gather some data through first hand observation, consider it and devise a hypothesis to explain something about what is observed -- how it works, what causes the reaction, etc. Then you conduct controlled experiments to test the hypothesis and arrive at a conclusion. Should you conclude that HCL + NAOH will always equal salt (NaCL) and water (H2O) others should be able to perform the same experiment and produce the same results, independently verifying the experiment and the conclusion.

Evolution is none of this. No one has ever observed a progression wherein a fish's offspring eventually became frogs. We haven't even observed viruses mutating into anything other than another virus, and we surely haven't been able to cause any of that.

So the definition of science that I was given in school, doesn't apply to evolution and according to its proponents, that's fine. They admit it. According to evolutionists Gould and Eldredge,
"The general preference that so many of us hold for gradualism is a metaphysical stance embedded in the modern history of Western cultures: it is not a high-order empirical observation, induced from the objective study of nature.’[‘Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered,’ in Paleobiology 3 (1977), 145.]
Gould adds,
But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective “scientific method”, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology." [‘In the Mind of the Beholder,’ Natural History (February 1994), 103:14.]
The fact that the fossil record does not support the theory combined with the fact that the evolutionary process has never been observed nor replicated, means that the theory of evolution can legitimately be regarded as nothing but an unproved theory. Yet in all aspects of our culture it is presented as fact. All sorts of scientific words are associated with it, all sorts of speculations about what might have happened in terms of genes and populations and so forth... there are computer models of gene mutations that purport to predict how many years of incremental change stand between one organism and the other. And yet... it's all a house of cards.

One of the 20th century's most influential philosophers of science, Karl Popper, had it right when he wrote in his autobiography, Unended Quest,
‘I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme—a possible framework for testable scientific theories … This is of course the reason why Darwinism has been almost universally accepted. Its theory of adaptation was the first nontheistic one that was convincing; and theism was worse than an open admission of failure, for it created the impression that no ultimate explanation has been reached.’
Tomorrow: the results of the Theory