The 15th foundational falsehood of creationism:
“Evolution has never been proved.
It’s still just a theory, not a fact.”
“Real men of genius”
“Real men of genius”
“Today we salute YOU...”
“So your evolution has got holes all in it; It’s just a theory.
There’s no… you have no way of provin’ evolution ever existed.
And if we came from apes, why are there still apes?”
Why are you still an ape? We can’t prove a theory only because that’s against the rules imposed by the game of science. But we can prove that evolution exists, and that it works, just like we can prove that gravity works, even though it too is ‘just’ a theory and has never been proved.
Atomic theory has never been proven either –not even in Hiroshima. But just as evolution is the foundation of modern biology, modern chemistry is completely dependant on atomic theory. And there are huge holes in that theory! Just look at our classic model of atomic structure; it’s wrong, and we know it’s wrong, but we still teach it in school anyway, because despite their virtual invisibility and being understood only in theory, atoms are still a matter of undeniable fact. So we have to use that in a series of imperfect models because we’re still trying to figure out one that works in all instances.
We’re also trying to devise a single theory to blend quantum theory with the theory of relativity, and act as a unifying theory of everything. The closest we’ve come is string theory; which really isn’t an actual theory yet; because it hasn’t been vindicated by substantial empirical evidence, and it hasn’t born itself through the battery of critical examinations which every hypothesis must endure before it can graduate to the highest level of confidence science can attain.
“I’ve not come across any book which says ‘fact of evolution’.
All the books say, ‘theory of evolution’.
There’s no book I’ve come across saying ‘fact of evolution’.”
A theory is made of facts. It’s is an analysis of how reality works, but every theory has holes in it and no theory is complete. That’s why science must remain objective. For example, expanding planet theory addresses some compelling points which plate tectonics doesn’t adequately account for. But it also calls for assumptions that can’t be justified, it’s refuted by definite observations that are only supportive of plate tectonics, and it can’t explain everything that tectonics does. But remember also that the man who first proposed the theory of plate tectonics was ridiculed for it ‘til the day he died, though his theory has since gained universal acceptance.
Other theories never had any competition at all. For example, Louis Pasteur, –who disproved the creationist hypothesis of spontaneous generation- also rejected the notion long promoted by religious leaders, that ailments of the body were of supernatural origin. Science can only examine natural explanations, and Pasteur provided that with his proposition that diseases weren’t caused by demons, but by germs. Like evolution, germ theory can never be proven, even though we know and can show that it is definitely correct beyond any doubt, and that’s why there’s no competing theory.
”Today the teachers in a rural Pennsylvania town
became the first in the country required to tell students
that evolution is not the only theory.”
“In looking at the biology book the teachers wanted,
I noticed that it was laced with Darwinism.
I think I listed somewhere between twelve and fifteen instances
where it talked about Darwin’s theory of evolution.
It wasn’t on every page of the book,
but like every couple chapters,
there was Darwin in your face again;
and it was to the exclusion of any other theory.”
There is no other theory. Creationists only ever had a few hypotheses, and all of them were utterly refuted; although they’ll never accept that. They’re still trying to revive arguments that have been already proven wrong at least a century ago. Evolution with natural selection is the only explanation of biodiversity with either evidentiary support or scientific validity. There has only ever been one alternative theory against it, and it was an earlier version of evolution.
Centuries before much of the Old Testament was even written, the Greek scientist, Anaximander had already proposed that modern forms of life, -including humans- had evolved from simpler forms. Similar ideas were echoed -and argued- by other figures of the age. The mutability of breeding populations has long been a well-known fact but not at all understood. The first attempted explanation was proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who suggested that giraffes stretching their necks to reach higher food would somehow bestow longer necks onto their offspring. His theory of evolution by acquired characteristics proved a failed hypothesis almost immediately, but it offered a sort of personal control over racial advancement which appealed to those ambitious in politics. Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung, for example both embraced Lamarckism and publicly denounced Darwinism, as Hitler did also; yet creationists label all three of them Darwinists and can’t distinguish Lamarck’s failure from Darwin’s success.
“And when it comes to the subject of origins, there are basically two views;
the evolution theory and the creation theory.”
No branch of creationism has ever met even one of the criteria required of a theory. They can’t because science demands both accuracy and accountability. So there has to be a way to detect and correct any errors in a given explanation, and determine for certain whether it’s wrong in whole or in part, or whether any of it is true to any degree at all.
“Ah, so it's a test you're looking for. We don't do tests!”
“Sure you don’t. They never do tests. Not many real deeds either.
Oh, conversation with your grandmother's shade in a darkened room,
the odd love potion or two, but comes a doubter, why, then it's the wrong day,
the planets are not in line, the entrails are not favorable, “we don't do tests"!”
A theory has to be tested indefinitely. It demands understanding instead of belief. So it must be based on verifiable evidence; It must explain related observations with a measurable degree of accuracy; It must withstand continuous critical analysis in peer review, and it must be falsifiable too. If it doesn’t fulfill all these conditions at once, then it isn’t science. If it meets none of them, it may be religion.
“Intelligent Design is a theory that there was some, there is some master plan,
some creator of some type that that put together the world as it is.”
Intelligent Design isn’t a theory at all; it’s a scam, a scheme conceived solely to undermine legitimate science. It doesn’t even count as an hypothesis, because it isn’t based on evidence, offers no mechanism, and isn’t falsifiable either. It is backed by nothing and produces nothing because it is nothing but untestable conjecture. None of it has been shown to be right and lots of it have been proven wrong. So it’s useless in any field, because only accurate information can have practical application.
“I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!”
That’s why we have billion-dollar industries in medicine, toxicology, agriculture, and biotechnology, where we have Nobel prize-winning research that is all dependant on the functionality of evolution and would only work if evolution were factually correct.
“Doctor Behe, we believe that the purpose of science is to serve mankind.
You however seem to regard science as some kind of dodge or hustle.
Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy,
and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist, doctor.”
Just to illustrate how under-handed creationism’s tabloid ‘scientists’ are, let’s look at the BIG picture:
“Up until the 1920s, everyone thought the universe
was essentially static and unchanging in time.
Then we discovered that the universe is expanding.
Distant galaxies were moving away from us.”
This meant they must have been closer together in the past.
If we extrapolate back, we find that they must all have been
on top of each other about fifteen billion years ago.
This was the big bang, the beginning of the universe.”
Now very early stages of the universe are as yet unknown because our current theories are insufficient to explain it. So we can’t yet be certain what “the singularity” is, where or what it came from, or if it was eternal. How do creationists explain the evident expansion and its reverse implication? How do they account for the cosmic background radiation we discovered later on? They don’t. Creationists delight in saying that scientists have “proven” the universe had a beginning, and they use that argument against the big bang. But the discovery of the big bang is our proof that the universe had a beginning! That’s one example of how bewilderingly inane creationism is.
“We must require that evolution agree with all the facts
if it is to be promoted from theory to truth.
Evolution as an explanation of the origin of man
cannot pass this test.”
Nothing would ever be promoted to “truth” because truth implies that there’s nothing more to learn. That’s why science –being objective- demands that everything be considered theory no matter how proven it seems to be.
Evolution has survived every test the greatest minds of the modern age have ever been able to pit against it. It’s been demonstrated myriad ways with lab and field experiments, and is further enhanced by compounded revelations in paleontology and systematics, as well as developments in embryology and advances in genomic research and bioengineering. Evolution is now one of the strongest theories in science. There is no fact it doesn’t agree with, and it’s never failed any test. But sadly, those controlling education in the Southern United States don’t want students to know that. So what can you expect?
“I don’t believe personally that the evolution itself is anything more than a theory/"
“You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."
“Well you see, evolution is a theory,
not a scientific fact as it’s generally considered to be.”
It is a fact that evolution happens; that biodiversity and complexity does increase, that both occur naturally only by evolutionary means.
It is a fact that alleles vary with increasing distinction in reproductive populations and that these are accelerated in genetically isolated groups.
It is a fact that natural selection, sexual selection, and genetic drift have all been proven to have predictable effect in guiding this variance.
It is a fact that significant beneficial mutations do occur and are inherited by descendant groups, and that multiple independent sets of biological markers exist to trace these lineages backwards over many generations.
It is a fact that birds are a subset of dinosaurs the same way humans are a subset of apes, primates, eutherian mammals, and vertebrate deuterostome animals.
It is a fact that the collective genome of all animals has been traced to its most basal form, and that those forms are also indicated by comparative morphology, physiology, and embryological development.
It is a fact that everything on earth has definite relatives either living nearby or evident in the fossil record.
It is a fact that the fossil record holds hundreds of definitely transitional species even according to it’s strictest definition, and that both microevolution and macroevolution have been directly-observed.
Evolution is a fact!