Not All Science is Created Equal

Why do we, as Christians, think that we have any intellectual basis to reject evolution?  Is it just that we hate science?  If that’s true then why do we accept anti-biotics, built on the same principles as evolution, from our doctor, expecting them to work?  It seems that we are being hypocrites, accepting science where it helps us and rejecting it when it doesn’t agree with a two thousand year old book.

This would be true if all science was created equal.  To be fair, let’s start with some scientifically acceptable definitions of evolution and go from there. 

Brief Definition of Evolution

“In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.” (Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974)

The change in alleles in humans is easily observed every generation (you don’t look EXACTLY like your parents do you?).  In fact, it is this change in alleles that we are trusting every time we use something that ends in cilin.  This doesn’t sound like such a bad definition.  Why are we Christians up in arms about something so obviously true?  But wait, here is a more extensive scientifically acceptable definition of evolution.

Expanded Definition of Evolution

“The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.” (Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986)

If you aren’t careful they almost slip it past you.  Did you catch it?  According to this more extensive definition, evolution accounts for everything from bacterial adaptation “…to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes and dandelions.”  So basically the small changes of allele frequency that we can easily view today inevitably lead to the entire tree of life we see around us.  So what the difference between the two definitions?  Why make a distinction?

Procedural Science vs. Historical Science

The brief definition of evolution is all the things we can see around us.  We can observe bacteria developing resistances or a species of moths’ coloring changing over several generations to match their new surroundings.  This is called procedural science.  We can observe it, test it (manipulate it) and falsify it

The expanded definition of evolution includes the brief definition and expands it to other heights.  It literally takes what we can see around us and purports to explain what we cannot.  This is called historical science which is an attempt to explain the origin of things or “where it came from”.  The difference is subtle but momumentous to one’s thinking when one realizes it.  Historical science is neither observable, testable or falsifiable.  Let me show you.

Observable

Has anyone seen a fish develop legs fit for walking, an amphibian developing lungs fit soley for air, or a mammal developing the ability to drink salt water over thousands of generations?  Of course not.  And evolutionists will agree.  “But,” Mr. Evolutionist will be quick to tell you, “we observe lobe-finned fish, we know frogs already have lungs, and we have the intermediate fossils showing whale evolution.”  The astute evolutionary skeptic will notice that the question wasn’t answered.  The evolutionist gave you nouns when you asked for verbs.  You asked for “developing legs” and he gave you lobe finned fish?  Which is just that, a species of fish.  You asked for amphibian “developing lungs” fit solely for air and he gives you frogs that must ALSO breath through their skin to survive?  You asked for mammals “developing the ability to drink salt water” and he gives you dead animal bones?  Shaky indeed Mr. Evolutionist. 

To be fair, this inobservability of evolution in action is part of evolutionary theory.  Since these changes described above must take place over thousands of generations, evolutionists wouldn’t expect to see them in action.  Wether it’s expected or not, can we can observe evolution, as described in a more expanded way? The answer is a resounding “No”. 

Testable

Since we cannot directly observe evolution, in the expanded sense, are we at least be able to test wether or not it might happen?    Mr. Evolutionist will point you to the many experiments done, the most common of which is with fruit flies,  that show we can cause a change in species, a process called speciation.

The astute evolutionary skeptic will notice that the question was not answered, again.  We asked to test wether or not evolution can happen, and the experiments we are pointed to are with fruit flies being manipulated to change species.  The fruit fly, however, is still a fruit fly.  It did not change into a beetle, or a butterfly, or a giraffe.  I’m being a little sarcastic, but the point remains.  Evolution requires MUCH bigger changes than a fruit fly that is still a fruit fly although it is called another name in Latin.  These changes have never been observed and, obviously, cannot be tested.  And here is the kicker, even IF scientists were to actively change the genetic code of a fruit fly to give birth to a beetle, we would be proving that it takes intelligence to manipulate the change evolution requires.  So can evolution, in the expanded sense, be tested to see if will actually happen?  No it cannot.

Falsifiable

Most of the time, in science, you will not be able to “prove without a doubt” that a certain phenomena takes place.  To ask this of evolution would be unfair.  If evolution has the ability to be proven wrong and we are unable to do so, then it’s still a scientific theory.  However, if we cannot possibly prove evolution wrong, then it cannot be considered scientific.  So the question is asked, “Is evolution, in the expanded sense, falsifiable?” 

Mr. Evolutionist will tell you that evolutionary theory predicts many things, and they turn out to be true.  Since life began, we would expect life to become very diverse, and it has.  Since the first animals appeared we would expect there to be a fossil record cataloging common ancestry, and there is.  We would also expect their to be a genetic similarity between like species, and there is.  “See?”.  Says Mr. Evolutionist.  “If these predictions turned out incorrect, then evolution would have been wrong.  That makes it falsifiable.”

The diversity of life is no more evidence for evolution than it is for creation.  Christians would expect God to be able create a diverse tree of life as He said He did in Genesis.  Wether or not the fossil record supports common ancestry is a topic for another day that I will no doubt tackle.  However, it suffices, for our purposes, to say that Creationists are not surprised by fossils that are similar to one another in the fossil record.  God created similar species that died in different times and different places.  Creationists are also not surprised by the genetic similarity of living animals.  If God created one species more similar than another, monkeys and humans for example, then we would expect them to be more genetically similar to each other than a monkey is to a giraffe.

The part of the equation that is unfalsifiable is wether or not ONLY evolution can account for the diversity and similarity of life.  Sure, evolution is one theory for how what we see around us got that way.  But since we cannot observe or test evolution in action, we cannot test if it WOULD NOT have happened.  We can’t prove it wrong.  It’s very convenient for the evolutionist. 

Conclusion

When it comes to attempting to explain how life as we know it got this way, historical science is not that same as procedural science.  The answer, “Evolution did it” is not any more scientific then the answer “God did it” since neither phrase answers the question, “How?”.  So the next time you ask an evolutionist “How” and he gives you similar answer to our fictional “Mr. Evolution”, show him how he didn’t really answer the question, ask him the question again, and watch him squirm.  Don’t let him get away with it!

 (Writer’s note:  The above is, of course, a cursory treatment of the arguments and evidences on both sides.  I would be happy to discuss/divulge more upon request.  However, each example I gave from “Mr. Evolutionist” I recieved from a secular university biology class and are not examples of my own construction.)

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3 Comments on “Not All Science is Created Equal”

  1. bobxxxx Says:

    “Whether or not the fossil record supports common ancestry is a topic for another day that I will no doubt tackle.”

    Fossils are very useful for helping scientists learn how individual species evolved, but the most powerful evidence for the idea that all life shares common ancestors is from DNA analysis. Thanks to molecular biology biologists can determine evolutionary relationships with 100% accuracy. They don’t need fossils to prove evolution.

    The creationists don’t have any idea how massive and powerful the evidence for evolution is. If Christians don’t want to be laughed at, and if they don’t want to waste their entire lives believing in childish creation myths, they need to study evolution until they understand it.

  2. bobxxxx Says:

    “It literally takes what we can see around us and purports to explain what we cannot.”

    Wrong. Biologists can see the entire history of life in the DNA of living animals, including us.

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    bobxxx

    “Thanks to molecular biology biologists can determine evolutionary relationships with 100% accuracy. They don’t need fossils to prove evolution.”

    What they are proving are genetic relationships. I agree with that. Are those relationships “evolutionary” in nature? That’s the question.

    Can you observe the DNA of a reptile being added onto by thousands of random mutations over thousands of generations until it becomes a bird? Of course not. Can you test wether or not such an event would occur without outside help as evolution requires? Of course not.

    All you can say, is that those genetic relationships prove that those animals are similar in one way or another. And then you must make the logical leap from “similar” to “evolution”.

    Let me ask you: If God created all life on the planet, wouldn’t we see those EXACT same genetic relationships? What makes the relationships “evolutionary” instead of “creationary” (if that’s a word)?

    “The creationists don’t have any idea how massive and powerful the evidence for evolution is.”

    Instead of just stating it, show me how this “powerful” evidence proves my arguments wrong. Show me how evolution is observable, testable and falsifiable.

    Also, there are many Ph.D’s in molecular biology that think evolution is a crock, are you really telling me that Ph.D’s in the field don’t understand the theory?

    “If Christians don’t want to be laughed at, and if they don’t want to waste their entire lives believing in childish creation myths, they need to study evolution until they understand it.”

    I lay out the arguments in my post pretty clearly, and instead of responding to them you simply call me an ignoramous? Name calling is what sounds more childish than anything else. I basically showed you how evolution, in the expanded sense, is not science and you call MY beliefs myth? At what point did I misunderstand evolution? Please show me.

    I love it how just because I don’t come to the same conclusion you do, that means I don’t understand the theory well enough. As if “truly understanding” is something only evolutionists can do. It just CAN’T be that I do understand evolution and STILL find it bunk, nope, that’s just not possible.


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