Posted by jlwile on January 12, 2012
In science, one of the most important things a hypothesis can do is make predictions that can be verified by experiment or observation. If a hypothesis makes predictions that are then confirmed by experiment or observation, its scientific value is high. The more confirmed predictions it makes, the more likely it is to be a good, scientific explanation for whatever phenomenon it is describing. However, if a hypothesis makes several predictions that are shown to by false by experiment or observation, its scientific value becomes questionable.
Dr. Cornelius Hunter has done an excellent job detailing many of evolution’s failed predictions. I have discussed a few on this blog as well (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Not surprisingly, as more and more research is being done, more and more evolutionary predictions are being falsified. The latest one involves bats and insects.
As most people know, bats have an amazing echolocation system that allows them to hunt in the dark. They send out high-frequency sound waves that bounce off anything in front of them. They receive the reflected sound waves, analyze them with sophisticated mathematics, and determine all sorts of useful information, such as the size, position, and speed of what’s in front of them. This amazing echolocation system allows bats to hunt and eat insects even when it is pitch black outside.
Well, it turns out that some insects are able to hear these high-frequency sound waves. This alerts them to the fact that a bat is hunting them, and they are then able to take evasive maneuvers. For many, many years, evolutionists have claimed that this kind of hearing in insects evolved after bats evolved. For example, a book that discusses the echolocation systems found in bats and dolphins says:1
The evolution of ultrasound sensitivity in nocturnal insects evolved in response to predation pressures exerted by echolocating bats.
Another evolutionary book makes a very similar statement:2
…before bats evolved…moths and other nocturnal insects owned the night sky, flitting about unmolested by predators. The appearance of bats forced them to evolve a novel antibat strategy – a way of hearing the echolocating calls of hunting bats, in effect a radar detector.
So evolution predicts that the high-frequency hearing in some insects arose after bats evolved, as a response to the bats’ new way of finding prey among the insects.
Like most evolutionary predictions, however, this turns out to be dead wrong.
Dr. Roy E. Plotnick and Dr. Dena M. Smith studied well-preserved fossils of crickets and katydids from the Green River Formation found in the western United States. According to questionable evolutionary dating techniques, these fossils are supposed to be 50 million years old. This is roughly the same age that evolutionists date the first definitive bat fossils. So…assuming that these insects did evolve their ability to hear high-frequency sound waves in response to the appearance of bats, what would you expect these researchers to find when they studied the hearing organs found in those supposedly 50-million-year-old insect fossils? The hearing organs should look quite different from those of their modern counterparts, right? After all, the insects wouldn’t have yet had a chance to evolve their high-frequency hearing, given that the fossils are supposed to be just as old as the earliest bat fossils.
What Drs. Plotnick and Smith actually find? Here’s how they put it:3
Here we describe and document the exceptionally well preserved tympanal ears found in crickets and katydids from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado, which are virtually identical to those seen in modern representatives of these groups.
In other words, the fossil evidence indicates that crickets and katydids had essentially the same hearing before and after the supposed evolution of bats. If Dr. Plotnick and Dr. Smith’s analysis is correct, then, these insects did not evolve their ability to hear high-frequency sound in response to the predation of bats. How will evolutionists explain the evolution of high-frequency hearing in some insects now? Here’s how a web article puts it:
The findings suggest that this group of insects evolved their supersensitive hearing long before bat predators came to be, the researchers say.
“Their bat-detecting abilities may have simply become apparent later,” Smith said.
That’s pretty convenient. Evolution just happened to prepare these insects for bat predators long before the bats actually evolved! What an interesting way to explain around this most recently-falsified prediction of the evolutionary hypothesis.
1. Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins, Jeanette A. Thomas, Cynthia F. Moss, and Marianne Vater, ed., University of Chicago Press 2003, p 324.
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2. Nicholas Wade, The Science Times Book of Mammals, Lyons Press 1999, p. 20
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3. Roy E. Plotnick and Dena M. Smith, “Exceptionally Preserved Fossil Insect Ears from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado,” Journal of Paleontology, 86(1):19-24, 2012
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