Re: Evolution's Imperative (was Def'n of Science)

Kevin O'Brien (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 06:27:36 -0700

I will respond to certain other points raised in this post privately when I
have more time. For now, however, I would like to make a brief comment on
the following:

Vernon wrote:

>(4) Among theories, it is unique in being the only one that cannot be
>allowed to fail! Kevin, you list several events which, were any to
>occur, should kill evolution stone dead. We could list a myriad more,
>but the practicalities are that these falsification scenarios - which in
>your view support the scientific legitimacy of the theory - are not
>worth the paper they are written on; here's why: included among your
>ranks are the likes of Dawkins and Crick for whom this doctrine is
>essential; is it likely that they would ever wave the white flag? If the
>offending data could not be suppressed then it would be explained away
>as a 'creationist plant'. And if these, and other, strategies were to
>fail, there - waiting in the wings - would be the ultimate,
>unanswerable, defence, viz that the offending manifestations are clearly
>attributable to the activities of some unknown exraterrestial beings who
>had visited this planet in times past! So, you see, the universal
>expectations of evolution (clearly unfalsifiable!) create a caudal
>safety-net. All very neat really, and rendering your suggested tests of
>falsifiability, illusory!.

Brian has already noted this, but it seems to me that you do in fact believe
that the **science** of evolution can be falsified; you simply believe that
atheists who have adopted the **philosophy** of evolutionism would simply
refuse to accept that falsification. The latter belief may or may not be
true, but it does not alter the fact that evolution **as a scientific
concept** can be falsified, as you seem to agree with in the above
paragraph. The rest of the paragraph sounds more like speculation involving
paranoid conspiracy theories, which are invariably based on fear, ignorance
and hate. Such is unworthy of a Christian.

By the way, since there is no evidence that either verifies or refutes the
existence of extraterrestrials, trying to explain away falsifying evidence
by invoking this possibility would be futile, since no non-atheist
researcher (who make up the majority of scientists, by the way) would accept
it. In science, data cannot be refuted by groundless speculation (though
creationists often try this tactic themselves).

Kevin L. O'Brien