Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Thu Sep 22 2005 - 12:14:01 EDT

Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Pim:
> I admire your steadfast faith and strong defense of your theory. And
> this is common amongst evolutionists. Very rarely can one find an
> evolutionist admitting to any sort of evidential problem. All the
> evidence supports the theory, and the theory is a fact. Consider this
> exchange:
In fact you often find evolutionists admitting to problems but rather
than let their ignorance lead to a rejection of evolution, they become
motivated to research these discrepancies. Too often people, unfamiliar
with the extent of the evidence supporting evolutionary theory see minor
discrepancies as evidence of the failure of evolutionary theory.

>>> This is
>>> an unambiguous falsifier and, needless to say, was very surprising to
>>> evolutionists.
>> Surprising yes, falsifier... Until we understand UCE it seems a bit
>> early to reject a solid theory especially since data are hinting that
>> UCE's are not functionless. [...]
>> Let's not blow this out of proportions just because of our ignorance.
>> Such gaps have more than once shown to be poor places to hide one's
>> hopes.
> Can we imagine this sort of leniency being granted to, for instance,
> special creation? Of course, it goes without saying that future
> research may provide new surprises that overturns what seems obvious
> now. But this is not license to overturn a falsification. The theory
> has been falsified.

What theory has been falsified here? You seem to be overselling a minor
puzzle as something major when science does not even understand the
details of UCE's.
Sure, special creation will always be granted such leniency since we
will never have much chance to have our ignorance removed here. But
special creation explains nothing scientifically. You seem to hold to
what is known as a naive stance on falsification.
Looking back in time one would be able to identify many examples of such
'falsifications' based on our ignorance. Remember adaptive mutations as
a more recent example, or the Cambrian explosion, which by some is still
portrayed as a falsification or problem for evolutionary theory, in
spite of the now available data?

> You can patch the theory or you can hold out for future findings to
> overturn the falsification. That's fine, but that doesn't change the
> fact that right now, once again we have evidence against the theory.

We have a minor puzzle which may or may not be evidence against the
theory. What may need to be patched is our understanding of the role of
non-coding DNA but again, that's a relatively minor change.

> Unfortunately, evolutionists routinely respond to problems with this
> conservativism. Nothing is really an evidential problem, just a
> research problem. Is it any wonder people say evolution is not
> falsifiable?

Evolution is not falsifiable because it is likely to be correct, which
of course does not mean that it is unfalsifiable but some people have a
somewhat naive perspective of what it takes to falsify a theory.
Can you explain UCE's ? Do you understand if they have a function or
not? Do you understand their history? Unless one has some understanding
of UCE's how can one claim it falsifies the theory of evolution? Just
because evolutionary theory did not predict it? Or what is your thinking
in this area? I am curious.

> Or again,
>> I find your claim to be highly at odds with what science suggests how
>> this universe works. Complexity under variation and selection is hardly
>> surprising. And the more we learn about life, the more it seems to
>> support
>> evolutionary theory.
> Hardly surprising? Well I guess anything is possible at this point.
> The trilobite eye, an all-time feat of optimization is "hardly
> surprising." The DNA code, hemoglobin, echolocation, the brain, and a
> thousand other wonders are now "hardly surprising." This is not science.

Of course this is not science as such but the DNA code, echolocation the
evolution of the eye have all unravelled from being minor mysteries to
plausible evolutionary pathways. Understanding the actual evidence and
the present day understandings is what makes the complexity of life more
and more understandable in terms of evolutionary processes. You look for
minor discrepancies, often based on our ignorance, as evidence against a
particular theory (and my feeling is that you see it as many ID
proponents do, as evidence for their own 'theory') and yet over time
many of these gaps have been filled by science and evolutionary theory
came out victoriously. Not surprising given the vaste amount of evidence
supporting evolutionary theory. I am familiar with the creationist
argument of the trilobite eye
( for instance), what
is your argument?

As far as science is concerned, details are slowly unraveling

"How did schizochroal eyes evolve?
Phacops rana has large, schizochroal eyes All early trilobites
(Cambrian), had holochroal eyes and it would seem hard to evolve the
distinctive phacopid schizochroal eye from this form. The answer is
thought to lie in ontogenetic (developmental) processes on an
evolutionary time scale. Paedomorphosis is the retention of ancestral
juvenile characteristics into adulthood in the descendent.
Paedomorphosis can occur three ways: Progenesis (early sexual maturation
in an otherwise juvenile body), Neoteny (reduced rate of morphological
development), and Post-displacement (delayed growth of certain
structures relative to others). The development of schizochroal eyes in
phacopid trilobites is a good example of post-displacement
paedomorphosis. The eyes of immature holochroal Cambrian trilobites were
basically miniature schizochroal eyes. In Phacopida, these were
retained, via delayed growth of these immature structures
(post-displacement), into the adult form"

Fortey's article on the Crystal Eyes makes for a good read as well

I should get his book *Trilobite! : Eyewitness to Evolution

*Work on the eyes of the brittlestar and other animals may help us
unravel this minor mystery of the trilobite eye.*

> Or again,
>>> Evolution would be just fine if there was no such complexity increase,
>>> no extinctions, a nice clean gradual succession of species with ever
>>> so slight changes between each, consistently evolving species, and
>>> gradual diversity increase (or no diversity increase for that matter).
>>> None of these observations are predicted by evolution. They are
>>> accommodated.
>> Your point being?
> My point being that an observation cannot be held to be compelling
> evidence if the theory can accomodate a range of alternative
> observations.
That's illogical. As I said, the fact that gravity can accellerate,
decelerate or make an object go around in circles hardly makes the
theory of gravity less compelling just because it can accomodate
alternative observations. It's the fact that evolutionary theory can
accomodate these observations which provides its present strength. That
you seem to believe this to be a weakness of evolutionary theory seems
to be a weakness in your own logic.
Received on Thu Sep 22 12:15:36 2005

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