The late Karl Popper, universally regarded as a referee of what constitutes a valid scientific theory, complained that Darwinian selection is not, strictly speaking, a scientific theory because it can neither make predictions nor be rigorously tested abve the micro-level, where it is a mere truism. Unlike Einstein’s theory of gravity, the idea of evolution by natural selection is in principle not falsifiable. No matter what the complexity of an organism, a Darwinist can always make up an “adaptive” story explaining its origin. And when pressed to explain a severe problem like the usefulness of incipient organs, he can take refuge in the unobservable. This was Darwin’s own tactic in later editions of the Origin , where he seems chiefly to argue that since the transitional stages of animal groups are hidden, his theory cannot well be refuted.
Fierce protests from the Darwinian camp eventually caused Popper to retract his criticism without explaining why. The retreat was also demanded by Popper’s own philosophical materialism.
– Catholic writer George Sim Johnston, Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1998), p. 62.
Fast forward from 1978 when Popper recanted with no clear explanation to 1998 when Sim wrote, to 2011, and we find that philosophical materialists such as Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini have no problem critiquing Darwinism.
Are atheists braver today? Or has something changed?