A recent commenter Mynym wrote (I hope he doesn’t mind my re-posting his comment in full):
I would like to register my disagreement that that is what “evolution requires.” What is required is that evolution be a more plausible explanation than the alternatives.
If that’s the case then evolutionary theory hasn’t really yet been specified in a way that leaves it open to empirical verification or falsification, even its critics are still looking for possible “edges.” For example, as it stands now it “predicts” any genetic change. Ironically Darwinism was actually more specified and open to empirical verification or falsification than the modern forms of hypothetical goo that the elastic term “evolution” has degenerated to. The problem is, Darwinism was falsified by the evidence to the extent that it was specified and so its specification and requirements had to be blurred away. Now even proponents are left with a theory specified only as opposed to other theories rather than the empirical evidence. Darwin did the same thing to some extent but not to the same extent, i.e. he would often “verify” his arguments as opposed to creationism instead of based on the empirical evidence. For example, to argue that you do not believe that God would design the panda’s thumb the way it is or to engage in theology is not using the theory of natural selection to predict the emergence of panda’s thumbs based on a process of filtering random mutations and so on. It’s not the same thing as using a scientific theory to predict a trajectory of adaptation or to really predict anything. If the predictions, specifications and requirements of evolutionary theory are defined by their opposition to other theories or to creationism then taking the case of creationism as an example all that has really been said is: “I don’t believe that God would make thumbs like this.”
One of the thing I’ve been insisting upon, and will continue to insist upon, is that the explanatory power of the evolutionary hypothesis is drastically underestimated by people whose understanding of the hypothesis is based on misunderstandings, if not caricatures.
That’s just it, the explanatory power of the evolutionary hypothesis is too great and too “overwhelming” because it explains everything. It hasn’t been specified so it “explains” all possible empirical observations. It is often said to explain one set of facts as well as their exact opposite. If men are homosexual then it explains that, yet it also explains why men are heterosexual as well as why they are promiscuous, yet also why they are monogamous and it even contains explanations as to why they are celibate. How can you verify a theory based on empirical evidence when it explains everything? Many “explanations” can be proposed given the vast explanatory powers attributed to a theory that was never specified based on a rational view of the empirical evidence in the first place. Its explanatory power is a mental illusion brought about by its own lack of specification. After all, what biological observation would not comport with evolution?
The simple fact is that anyone criticizing the hypothetical goo typical to the theory of evolution will seem to be making a caricature out of it because it’s up to the critic themselves to specify it or to attempt to find its edge. There is no edge that has been specified by its modern proponents, thus its predictions are typically mental illusion which it never really predicted in the first place. Even in disagreements among themselves over their ridiculously low epistemic standards biologists have to point out that they’re not making a caricature out of that type of hypothetical goo:
The viewpoint of Coyne et al. (1988) is one in which past events are argued to explain, in a causal sense, the world around us. Such explanations cannot be verified or tested, and the only biological observations they require are that variation and differential reproduction occur. This is not a caricature, as a reading of Coyne et al. will verify. In keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population. According to Coyne et al., even the adaptive purpose of the changes that resulted in these mechanisms is irrelevant.
We would ask where biology enters into this schema.
(Points of View
Species and Neo-Darwinism
By C. S. White; B. Michaux; D. M. Lambert
Systematic Zoology, Vol. 39, No. 4. (Dec., 1990), :400-401) (Emphasis added)
It seems that because of the imagery and mental illusions brought about by such reasoning* it sounds better in your own mind but when someone else repeats exactly what you’ve specified back at you then suddenly it’s not what you said at all. Instead it’s a caricature, etc.
*Which is linked back to the modern philosophy that did away with Aristotle, a mechanical philosophy which actually denies a scientific understanding of present causal patterns in favor of imagining things about the past.
Mynym, I think you make a great point with the lack of specificity with Darwinism. The refrain of neo-Darwinists seems to be, “But we can explain that!” It doesn’t matter what it is. No matter what the criticism, they have an explanation. No matter what the phenomena, they have an explanation. They can explain everything from buttered bread to flyswatters to deodorant. There is no falsifiability, because “Evolution is true!” They can spin just-so stories all day long1, and it doesn’t matter because “Evolution is true! If you don’t believe it, then just ask scientists.” Often to me, the argument is no better than, “Evolution is true; therefore it happened. And anyone who believes it didn’t happen is stupid; therefore, evolution is true….Praise Science!”
And while Darwin posited a couple of ways his theory could be falsified (i.e., a lack of millions of transitional fossils and irreducible complexity), there are many religious arguments that are made on behalf of evolution as Mynym points out. Current Darwinists assert that Darwin was wrong on both accounts. These factors cannot falsify evolution, because evolution is true. And anyone who doesn’t believe it is well obviously a Cretard or an IDiot.
1 Darwin says “just so…” While I’ve written a number of naturalistic fairy tales going back well before the beginning of time, this site chronicles many naturalistic fairy tales of Darwinism. Even more than the 15 I have written thus far.