Intelligent Design

Negative Predictions: A Double Standard

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A commenter here remarked that negative predictions that ID makes such as we won’t ever demonstrate an unassisted way that a flagellum could evolve are not valid predictions. Yet I’ve heard Darwinists claim that we won’t find a pre-Cambrian rabbit or human and dinosaur fossils together. Are those then not valid predictions of Darwinian theory? Help me out here. My momma always said what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Was she wrong?

19 Replies to “Negative Predictions: A Double Standard

  1. 1
    gleaner63 says:

    I think your mother was right. And even if we found a rabbit in the pre-cambrian, the evolutionists would never accept it. They would find some plausible way that the fossil rabbit “worked” its way down into the strata. In the book “The Hidden History of the Human Race”, there is a case if I remember correctly (don’t have the book handy) of a spear tip embedded in an animal when humans weren’t supposed to be able to do that. The evolutionists of course rejected it. There are many other reasonable cases in this book that are similar. One reviewer refered to the authors as “Hindu Creationists”…

  2. 2
    Dog_of_War says:

    They would find some plausible way that the fossil rabbit “worked” its way down into the strata.

    I think you mean some implausible way to explain it. They’d just wave their hands around, finding a new just-so story, be done with it, and shout down any objections.

  3. 3
    jjcassidy says:

    As, your mama wasn’t an credentialed scientist at an accredited university publishing in peer-reviewed journals, I doubt she can speak about Science that way.

    Of course, Dawkins can always say “Sauce for the goose…” but that doesn’t mean that ID proponents won’t somehow misunderstand the principle in a novel application.

  4. 4
    gleaner63 says:

    To bad Michael Crichton or another gifted writer is not so inclined, but one could concoct an interesting plot. For example, the femur of a T-Rex is found to have an embedded spear point. The person making the discovery is an ardent atheist evolutionist…every tests points to the discovery being genuine…
    In the book SF book “Inherit The Stars” there is a similar incident, only this time it was the remains of an astronaut found on the moon that is apparently thousands of years old.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    The thing about negative predictions is that they cannot be tested by an experiment unless and until they are proven false. However, when Darwinists predict that a certain missing link will be found in the fossil record, that too, is not immediately testable. And when you think about it, such a prediction can be turned into a negative one. What it’s really saying is that nobody can prove that the missing link does not exist (they can always claim that the fossil record is incomplete). That, too, is a negative prediction.

  6. 6
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is an unfortunate expression. What’s good for the female of a species is not always what’s good for the male; and vice versa.

  7. 7
    StephenB says:

    —–jj cassity, “As, your mama wasn’t an credentialed scientist at an accredited university publishing in peer-reviewed journals, I doubt she can speak about Science that way.”

    —–“Of course, Dawkins can always say “Sauce for the goose…” but that doesn’t mean that ID proponents won’t somehow misunderstand the principle in a novel application.”

    Mixing a little bit of home-style philosophy with the principle of even-handed justice seems pretty reasonable to me. Scientists who worship precision while sneering at wisdom often end up being very imprecise.

    In any case, you have put the cart before the horse, laboring over the application of the principle without having yet accepted or even commented on the principle itself. Why is that? Are you siding with the goose who demands perfectly- defined, narrowly-focused predictions from the gander, while declaring himself immune from those same standards?

  8. 8
    jjcassidy says:

    “Are you siding with the goose who demands perfectly- defined, narrowly-focused predictions from the gander, while declaring himself immune from those same standards?”

    Nope, I’m satirizing that the idea that a folk saying could have a more controlled definition in regard to Science. Which immediately becomes impenetrable to the uninitiated.

  9. 9
    marzioli says:

    “Nope, I’m satirizing that the idea that a folk saying could have a more controlled definition in regard to Science.”

    But in this case, the saying was just a representation of the larger point, which is that negative prediction is actively practiced in science. Granted, the more improbable the prediction the more helpful it is in corroboration, but even high probability predictions can add some substance to a theory or argument. Take the science of fingerprint identification. This is corroborated, largely, by repeated testing of a high probability statement: these two fingerprints are not the same.

    Taken on an individual level this is not that impressive. However, when you collect the sum of all tests (i.e. every fingerprint comparison ever made), you have a theory (i.e. that all fingerprints are different) that is pretty close to, if not entirely, the truth. This is a theory built on negative prediction and is the most enduring method of identification we have.

  10. 10
    StephenB says:

    —–jjcassidy, “Nope, I’m satirizing that the idea that a folk saying could have a more controlled definition in regard to Science. Which immediately becomes impenetrable to the uninitiated.”

    Bless your heart jj, you did it again. The folk saying appeals to the concept of fairness, no more, no less. Dave was doing the science; his ma was making the common sense observation about justice. Are you complaining about Dave’s application of his Ma’s principle or his Ma’s principle. Or are you saying that his Ma must be a scientist to appreciate the importance of fair play?

  11. 11
    Clarence says:

    DaveScot,

    I think the point about “not finding rabbits in the Cambrian” is not that it is a prediction of the theory of evolution (it IS a prediction, but not scientifically useful) – the Cambrian rabbit was used as an example that would falsify evolution (I think it came from Haldane).

    Despite previous comments, rabbit fossils in Cambrian strata would, if genuine, be a slam-dunk against evolution, for reasons of probability that you and I went into on a previous thread – i.e. the chances of getting two independent but identical evolutionary paths to arrive at rabbits is vanishingly small.

    The sort of useful predictions evolutionary theory makes are those like the ones that led to the Tiktaalik find – i.e. predicting when and where transitionals would be found. Those are the sort of specific predictions ID will also have to make.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Gerry (@6) – for what it’s worth, the phrase my mum use to use was “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”. Apparently it’s from at least 1692.

    And no, my mum isn’t that old.

    Bob

  13. 13
    ari-freedom says:

    since when did Darwinists care about probability? There are many examples of convergence for example placental and marsupial animals. There are also quite a few lazarus taxa and living fossils.

    The coelacanth is probably the most famous as it was an index fossil and claimed to be a missing link between fish and tetrapods (it is a lobe finned fish like tiktaalik). Yet it was discovered alive after millions of years supposedly ‘extinct’ and doesn’t use its fins to walk at all.

  14. 14
    Unlettered and Ordinary says:

    Greetings!

    ari-freedom has a point.

    Since when do Darwinists care about any math. Or any rational thought for that matter. And definitely you won’t get any fairness or justice from them either. All Darwinists care about is protecting their little story because their scared little atheists.

    Really after you sift through their predictions, its just 20/20 hindsight, assumptions based on faith, presumptions base on ignorance, and assertions based on a prior commitment to materialism, and an agenda to protect Darwinian Evolution.

    The only good thing that came out of all of this is a more complete fossil record. The more fossils the better.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    Clarence

    As I’ve written before Tiktaalik’s predicted location is a prediction made by the theory of common descent. While it is true that many IDists don’t believe common descent is true I’m not among that number. It’s the mechanism driving descent with modification that is the point of contention. ID holds that intelligent agency is required for the formation of complex biological novelty and furthermore that at least some instances of intelligent design in nature are detectable.

  16. 16
    Semprini says:

    Unlettered and Ordinary missed a bit “its just 20/20 hindsight, assumptions based on faith … and an agenda to protect Darwinian Evolution.” Well that’s not all it is; there’s also a big dose of contempt for the unlettered and ordinary herd who have to pay for their “research programs”

  17. 17
    CJYman says:

    Food for thought:

    Physicists make negative predictions based on what is known about the laws of nature and the constraints placed upon probabilities by these laws of nature. ie: perpetual motion machines are impossible — not merely improbable.

    Furthermore, apparently a similar principle extends into information theory and as far as I am aware was not even originally proposed by an IDer. It is that computational (information processing or universal turing) machines do not create information, but merely transform it from one form into another. IOW, claims of “free” information are similar to claims of “free” energy, and based on known laws of information, it can be said that a claim that information (complex and specified organization — not mere complexity) can be generated for “free” — that is, from a low information, high thermodyamic entropy (random) source — can be placed in the same category as any claim that prepetual motion, “free” energy machines are possible.

    Since Hubert Yockey has shown in his work published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology that life is founded upon an actual communication channel and information processing system, then any claim to a random, accidental abiogenesis can thus be placed in the same category as any claim to a perpetual motion machine.

  18. 18
    DaveScot says:

    The concept that information can be neither created nor destroyed has long standing as well. For years Stephen Hawking asserted that information can be destroyed in a black hole but recently even he relented and admitted that not even a black hole could destroy information.

  19. 19
    Unlettered and Ordinary says:

    Greetings!

    Semprini, Oh so true… Talk about bitting the hands that pays for all the neat gizmos and gadgets.

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