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Darwinism always predicts correctly – in reverse

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In “Darwinism and 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: The Parallels” (Evolution News & Views, September 8, 2011) , David Klinghoffer points out,

Darwinism is, again borrowing Meigs’s expression, “self-confirming.” Once posited, it tells a story that accommodates any observation. This is the brilliance of paranoia. Though Meigs cites Marxism and fundamentalist creationism as parallels, Darwinism offers one just as apt. Whatever nature brings forth can be squeezed to fit the effectively unfalsifiable Darwinian mold, which always turns out to predict, in retrospect, whatever is found.

You may recall P.Z. Myers’s assertion on this theme to our associate Jonathan M. in their Glasgow encounter. Arguing about homology and the evolution of developmental pathways, Myers explained his way of thinking: “I wish I could get that one thought into these guys’ heads: evolutionary theory predicts differences as well as similarities.” In other words, Casey Luskin notes, it predicts everything and nothing.

If you get into an argument with someone like Myers, he is not, in Philip Zelikow’s words, “really able to listen to you.” Every time you hear a Darwin activist repeat the formula that “ID is creationism,” that it “denies evolution” or “denies science,” that it is an argument from ignorance or incredulity or from the observation that life is “too complex” to explain in Darwinian terms, you can only throw up your hands and suppose it’s because he’s got a tape running in his head, looping back again and again, that feeds him these lines.

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4 Replies to “Darwinism always predicts correctly – in reverse

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    VERY WELL PUT!

    Darwinism always predicts correctly – in reverse!”

    So true. I’ll have to remember that one.

    No matter what observations are made, even if they are unexpected, as is so often the case, they find a way to spin it and claim it is what is expected in evolution.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    When a theory can readily explain any observation or discovery, it’s really not a theory, but rather a system of rationalization.

    It sorta reminds me of the story about the two farmers who were bragging to each other.

    “I once had a farm so large that it would take me an entire day to drive all they way across it!” said the one.

    The other one replied, “Yeah, I had a car like that once.”

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    Querius,

    I think I have heard that one too. Isn’t the first guy a farmer from Australia and the second guy a farmer from Texas?

    Yes, I’ve heard it said that a theory that can explain any observation or discovery – ie stasis or change in the fossils – is not a theory, but a system of rationalization.

    Saying Darwinism predicts everything accurately in reverse is quite similar – just a new angle on it I guess.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Yes, tjguy. And there are so many angles.

    One of my kids told me a few days ago that a professor said something like, “We’re not here to argue evolution. Evolution is a fact. We just don’t know the exact mechanism.”

    Oh joy. A “fact” that’s a shaky on details. I suggested that if the Theory of Evolution has been promoted, then it would become the Law of Evolution, especially if the process could be demonstrated in the lab.

    Then, I was assaulted with, “Dad, don’t you believe in change over time? That’s Evolution!” Woo-hoo, QED!

    “But then so is erosion,” I countered. I’m supposed to swallow ALL of the Theory of Evolution because a population has a variability potential and changes in response to environmental pressures? And then I should accept that some species don’t change at all over millions of years because they are (obviously) perfectly suited to their environment, which (equally obviously) cannot have changed at all over those same millions of years? Or maybe the environment did change, but the environment is tricky and then changed back, restoring the previously evolved species to its former state. Hah, got me.

    My suggestion was to “follow the data” to see where it would most logically lead without worrying about where it might end up. My kid later concluded that the professor was being as doctrinaire as the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages on this issue . . .

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