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

Vernon Jenkins (
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 21:41:52 +0000

Greetings Tim:

Thanks for writing. I believe the recently-discussed 'peppered moth'
fiasco underlines what we all know already, viz that atheists (such as
Dawkins and Crick) are desperate to find hard evidence supporting
evolution. From the examples of Haeckel and Kettlewell we see that such
desperation can lead even "reasonable people" to act wickedly (entirely
in keeping with biblical principles!). I therefore stand by my
suggestion that evolution, as a theory, is unique in being one that
would never be allowed to fail.

On the basis of it being true, much money, time, and effort is being
expended in detecting highly-developed forms of extraterrestial life.
Clearly, whether evolution is true or false, this 'daughter theory' (viz
that such life forms exist) is unfalsifiable. Yet, if firm evidence of
an alien civilization were to be found as a result of these ongoing
investigations, wouldn't that be hailed as a comprehensive vindication
of terrestial evolution? The possibility that it might represent another
of God's creative acts would, I suggest, be brushed aside.

In my view, this universalisation of the theory leads, logically, to the
conclusion I proposed, viz in extremis, the basis of evolution is
unfalsifiable in the true Popperian sense.

You suggest that this argument leads to a situation in which "... all
scientific theories can be similarly amended so as to make them
unfalsifiable." I've tried to think of an example. Do you have one?

> Note: Vernon, on one hand you seem to agree that evolution can be
> falsified. You write: "Kevin, you list several events which, were any > to occur, should kill evolution stone dead." In fact I get the
> impression that you think evolution is false or already falsified. Yet > later you argue that it cannot be falsified. I don't see how it can be > both. Either it cannot be falsified, in which case prudent dissenters > should stop wasting their time trying to disprove it, or it is
> falsifiable, in which case counter-arguments are worth making.

As far as I am concerned, evolution is a false doctrine - a conclusion
arrived at essentially from theological considerations. Regarding the
tangible falsification scenarios suggested by Kevin, each seems to be
watertight; yet, if one should arise, experience informs me that it
would immediately be 'interpreted' by the atheist lobby, and explained
away. In other words, the strongly-presented view that evolution is
science, is an illusion; it is, de facto, nothing more than metaphysics.

> Aside - In a later reply to Brian, Vernon suggests that birds
> were created on the 5th day and land animals on the 6th day.
> Let me comment that this hypothesis about the order of creation
> can be examined as a scientific question. Yet whether the "days"
> in question were 24-hours or longer periods of time, there is
> little evidence to support this hypothesis and much more that
> argues against it. If we are to use Popper's arguments, then
> we should conclude that this creation-order hypothesis is
> falsified. And if as Vernon claims, the existence of God is
> truly co-dependent on the creation-order hypothesis, then
> we should conclude that Vernon's God has likewise been falsified.
> I think this illustrates Brian's and Howard's concerns about
> rashly overconfident Biblical literalists driving people away from
> Christianity.

Tim, I hardly think my understanding of Genesis 1 constitutes a
'hypothesis'! The fact that you think it does raises questions about
your attitude to the scriptures in general. Can I ask on what basis you
decide what passages to believe, and what to discard? I seems clear to
me that your regard for evolution is greater than for God's word - a
situation which takes us to the Lord's warning concerning 'two masters'

If the created order is 'birds, then land animals', (your reference to
the meaning of 'day' is clearly irrelevant!) as I believe it is, where
does that leave the theistic evolutionist?

With regards,


Vernon Jenkins

[Musician, Mining Engineer, and Senior Lecturer in Maths and Computing,
the Polytechnic of Wales (now the University of Glamorgan), 1954-87]