There are a number of arguments that inevitably surface in the creation vs. evolution debate, and I want to address a few that are frequently misunderstood. The arguments I want to focus on are whether or not evolution is “testable”, how evolution is defined, and the difference between historical science and operational science. I’ve even decided to break this down into two articles just to keep it from becoming too lengthy.
I don’t think any one of the above topics is too difficult to understand. Whether or not evolution is testable is fairly easy to determine. But first it’s necessary to review one of the staples of science- the scientific method; we need to know what this is, and we need to understand its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its limitations.
The scientific method, according to Wikipedia, “refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”
Based on these definitions, evolution is not science. Evolution is not based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to the principles of reasoning; there is no systematic observation, measurement or experimentation involved. It’s assumed by some evolutionists that dinosaurs evolved into birds, and that ape-like creatures evolved into humans. But there’s no way to systematically observe the very process evolutionists believe happened; further, there’s no way to measure such hypothetical scenarios without assuming the very process being called into question, and there are no repeatable experiments that may be conducted that would substantiate such claims.
So then, what evidence have evolutionists presented that can measure up to the established criteria? Well, they trot out fossils such as Australopithecus and Paranthropus– two alleged ancestors of man. But what empirical and measurable data do these fossils provide? None. Examining these fossils does not lead us to conclude that they’re related to humans- at least not if we apply principles of reasoning. We could just as easily conclude from the fossil evidence that these apes are not related to humans. How could someone, just by examining all the fossil candidates, conclude that the only reasonable explanation is that they’re part of the human lineage? I think one could only come to that conclusion based on secular assumptions, not upon any measurable or conclusive evidence. The conclusions are purely circumstantial, and are not subject to verification. This means that believing in evolution is based upon faith, and not empirical, observable scientific fact; it’s entirely subjective. Saying that humans are related to apes is merely an assertion- not a fact. You can’t scientifically test or measure evolution, so it can’t possibly be used as a scientific argument.
Evolutionists attempt to sort out the fossil candidates on a timeline based on dating techniques, and study skull measurements and compare the fossils to various species of apes and man; they hope to present a gradual transition over time and reconstruct them into a family tree. Of course it’s necessary to realize that most fossil candidates are based upon incomplete fossil specimens, so there’s no way to get a true picture of what all these candidates really looked like or behaved.
Unfortunately for evolutionists, there’s no real, clear, gradual transition over time… at least not the type traditionally expressed in textbooks. The connection from one ape to another is choppy and entirely subjective. No evolutionist can say for sure which candidate evolved into the next, and so on.
In the end, the conclusion as to whether or not the fossil is considered a relative of man is nothing more than an assumption. There’s nothing conclusive about it. And that’s because the conclusion (however sound or flawed the reasoning is) is not observable, testable or open to repeatable experimentation. The fact that evolution is not scientific is the only thing that is certain. In addition, there are plenty of honest evolutionists who have openly admitted that the fossil evidence is so poor that there’s no way to know if the conclusions they believe are true or not. The late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould acknowledged that the data is “so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” He also admitted that “The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” Another paleontologist, Dr. Colin Patterson, said, “I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them… . I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”
Many other evolutionists have also openly expressed their frustration with the fossil evidence, so I think it’s disingenuous when evolutionists claim that the available evidence is enough to lead us to a correct conclusion regarding the evolutionary history of organisms, such as dinosaurs and man. And it’s a rejection of logic to presume that a lack of observational evidence is not a weakness of evolution. Without being able to observe and test the assumed evolutionary lineages, the claim of evolution is nothing but a fanciful imagination that would do well in science fiction writing.
I find it interesting that many evolutionists mock the creationists who question their conclusions, as if it’s ludicrous to demand real scientific evidence, and that anyone who doesn’t accept their sensational claims (based on circumstantial evidence) are somehow unscientific. I think their argument is backwards. We should be demanding rigorous evidence for such sensational claims that are being called into question. If there’s no observational evidence or repeatable experiment that can be conducted to substantiate the claims, and the circumstantial evidence is weak, then questioning evolution is more than reasonable, and offering an alternative believed by most humans is appropriate.
Now I’m not saying that just because any particular event wasn’t witnessed by scientists doesn’t logically mean that available evidence cannot lead us to a correct conclusion about the event in question. This happens all the time in science. What I am saying is that we need to be careful and understand that there are limitations, and that it’s perfectly reasonable to question those conclusions and offer alternative explanations. Those who dogmatically insist that students may only be educated to believe in evolution are doing everyone a great disservice. Such demands go against the very nature of our freedoms; they stifle critical thinking, academic freedom, debate, and intellectual honesty, as well as the religious beliefs of many who believe in the same God who created the heavens and earth in six days.