Evolution as a Theory

There are many reasons why some people become evolutionists, but few can articulate a logical explanation based upon empirical evidence. Most seem to follow the crowd and believe it because that’s what they’ve been taught to believe. So here’s an article I’ve previously linked to that attempts to explain the evidence for evolution, and I thought I’d critique the author’s work.

Evolution as a “theory.” This is a common phrase that comes up between evolutionists and creationists. Evolutionists get annoyed when someone says evolution is “just a theory,” and the author takes offense and tries to explain why this is a common “misconception.” First, he provides a definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I found seven different definitions, but he’s only interested in two of them. 1: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena, e.g., the wave theory of light. 2: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation; an unproved assumption.

To make his case he contends that evolutionists use the first definition, while the public tends to use the second, and he assures us that evolution is not called a theory because it’s “a sketchy conjecture that has never been seriously tested”. He makes it very clear that evolution is “a general principle with substantial explanatory power and falsifiability that has withstood very rigorous scrutiny over an extended period of time.” The author goes on to estimate the number of peer reviewed articles relevant to evolution, and strongly insists the claim that evolution is “just a theory” has nothing to do with real world scientific research and isn’t an “arbitrary convention among scientists”. He claims evolution is the “consensus” of hundreds of years of research across “many fields of science,” and, finally, he explains that evolutionary science uses “testable hypotheses” and conducts “rigorous empirical analyses, using the best available technology and analytic tools.”

This is the classic response from evolutionists to those who say, “evolution is just a theory.” Personally, what I say to evolutionists is, “evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis.” That’s more accurate. Why? Because evolution has never been shown to be plausible; evolution is based on limited evidence and has never been substantiated. For a scientific theory to be valid, it needs to be verified experimentally, and evolution has not. It’s theoretical and unverifiable.

Further, the author’s response is a canned response. It’s standard evolutionary fair that hasn’t been thought through, doesn’t address any real criticisms of evolutionary theory, and lacks substance.

While it may be true that evolutionary scientists use the definition proposed by the author, they do so out of necessity or self-preservation. Few evolutionary scientists would agree to a definition that doesn’t align with their perception, or one that undermines evolution, right? I’d suggest the major problem is that evolutionary scientists are using a self-serving definition. Merriam-Webster offers additional definitions, including “an unproved assumption: conjecture.”

While the author takes issue with evolution being labeled as an unproven assumption or conjecture, that’s exactly what it is. It’s assumed by some to be true and cannot be proven. It’s an opinion formed on the basis of incomplete information. It’s not a theory in the same sense as atomic theory, germ theory, or gravity. Those theories can be measured and observed in the present and are subject to the scientific method. Evolution is not.

When evolutionists claim evolution has “substantial explanatory power,” I call them out on this fib. For instance, evolution cannot explain why one organism evolves and another does not. Why would a dinosaur evolve into a bird, or why would a land animal evolve into a whale? How did this step-by-step process happen? What caused it? Evolution cannot explain these questions without assuming evolution or resorting to circular reasoning. Nor can it explain how the first living organism came to life, or where altruism came from. There’s a whole host of questions evolution cannot explain.

The author claims evolution is falsifiable, but it’s not. There are so many examples of evolutionary predictions that have been refuted and are demonstrably false, yet none of those failed predictions have overturned evolutionary theory. The existence of dinosaur blood and DNA should be enough to falsify the idea that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Debunking junk DNA should have been enough. The evolutionary theory claiming cells were simple blobs of protoplasm was falsified by technology, revealing a complex factory inside. Living organisms appear designed and optimized rather than poor, haphazard, suboptimal design predicted by evolutionists. The list goes on and on.

Next, he refers to an “extensive scope of scientific research” and peer-reviewed journals on evolution. Sadly, not all peer-reviewed papers have been scrutinized as he claims. Many have been revoked years later after fraud was discovered, or the work couldn’t be duplicated. It’s widely known that some scientists know how to play the game. If they know who will be reviewing the work, the paper can be catered to that reviewer’s bias. Some journals cater to an evolutionary agenda. Believe it or not, some peer-reviewed papers were published on the subject of jedi powers and midi-chlorian research just to demonstrate how weak the peer-review process can be.

Therefore, just because evolutionists get evolutionary papers published in peer-reviewed journals reviewed by other evolutionists doesn’t make evolution a fact, or even plausible. It may be “scientifically acceptable” to those in the field, but, nonetheless, many scientists accept it simply because the alternative- special creation- is excluded by secular scientists, making evolution the only option. Thus, evolutionists have stacked the deck in their own favor. Evolutionists affirming evolution isn’t enough to make evolution a valid scientific theory. That’s circular reasoning.

Then the author points to “consensus,” which is also circular reasoning. Centuries of consensus does not make evolution a valid scientific theory. It’s just not a good argument. Science is not open to a vote. Science is provisional and subject to revision or falsification. There are many examples where a consensus of scientists has been wrong. An appeal to consensus is unscientific.

Lastly, I’d argue the evidence favors creation over evolution. The scientific method, if applied without bias, shows that all organisms reproduce according to their kind, just as the Bible claims. While the author rejects the idea that evolution is “just a theory,” I think that idea is too generous. Evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis, at best.


One thought on “Evolution as a Theory

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s