It is generally agreed that for something to be considered scientific, it must at least in principle be falsifiable.
Let me suggest that evolutionary theory in all of its most controversial aspects is, at rock bottom, unfalsifiable.
I want to go right to the bottom: the claim and insistence that life on this planet can be explained satisfactorily as being the result of unguided, natural processes.
It is plain and simple common sense that tells us that in order to falsify the notion that something is unguided, we would need to show that it is in fact guided.
There is just one problem. The prevailing New Atheist Evolutionary Rabid Apologist froths at the mouth at the very notion that there could be any scientific validity to reliably detecting guidance, that is, intelligent agency and design. Unfortunately, if there is no scientific validity to design hypotheses, we are necessarily deprived of a scientific basis to falsify an ‘undesign’ hypothesis.
- In order for something to be considered robust science, it needs to be falsifiable.
- Modern evolutionary theory is usually presented so that it entails unintelligent operations.
- To falsify the claim that something is driven by unintelligent forces one would have to show how intelligent forces were at work.
- Evolutionary apologists insist (with heapings of derision) that such a showing is outside the bounds of science.
- But if showing design is outside the bounds of science than there is no reliable and objective way to conclude scientifically that something is not designed.
- Therefore, macroevolutionary theory cannot be scientifically falsified at the point that it is the result of unguided natural processes since they reject as unscientific the very things that could falsify it.
- Consequently, at one of its most controversial points- that it is unguided- macroevolutionary theory is shown to be scientifically unfalsifiable on the evolutionist’s own terms.
Unfortunately for modern evolutionary apologists, the ‘unguided’ part is a pretty important part and precisely the reason why so many of them pin their atheistic viewpoints on evolutionary rationale.
The only escape that I am aware of to this problem is to insist that scientific inquiry must take on a ‘methodological naturalistic’ approach. But this is not much of an escape at all, as it merely means that we have discovered that there is no scientific evidence for the notion that we are the result of unguided natural processes, rather we have assumed that we are the result of unguided natural processes.
To me the challenge seems pretty simple: show how you can falsify the claim that we are the product of ‘unguided natural processes’ without necessarily imparting scientific validity to methods of reliably determining ‘guidance’ or come clean and admit that your high flutin’ ‘scientific theory’ actually cannot be falsified on this point… and so, may not be the robust scientific theory you present it as.
One other alternative seems to be possible, and that is to tell me why I must adopt your assumption. But then, that’s the thing about an assumption: it’s axiomatic; you can give me no reason why I should adopt it.
In short, it seems to me that all this talk about science requiring ‘methodological naturalism’ is actually ‘philosophical naturalism,’ ie, a presumed atheism, masquerading as scientific inquiry. And obviously if you have assumed atheistic explanations for everything in the world then you will never- as you cannot in principle do it- come up with anything other than atheistic explanations.
Which is fine, I guess. I mean, you’d be upset with me if I said that we had to assume theistic explanations for everything in the world and insisted that science required it and you’d mock my theistic conclusions for the obvious reason that of course I’d get theistic conclusions since I began with theistic assumptions. But you want to tell me why it is different in the case of assumed atheism and ‘unguidance.’ I tell you, that’s unfalsifiable, and therefore not science.
You’ll tell me that I’m wrong. Spare me that and tell me why I’m wrong and that we really are the result of unguided natural processes despite the fact that we assumed it as the framework of our inquiry and moreover this is ‘unguidance’ is actually falsifiable even though the thing that would falsify it- ‘guidance’ is itself unfalsifiable. That’s your challenge.
(PS, as an aside, does anyone else see the logical incoherence in insisting that intelligent design is unfalsifiable while simultaneously saying that evolution falsifies it? These are the reasonable folk? really?)