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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yet Another Failed Evolutionary Prediction

Posted by jlwile on November 13, 2012

This species of catus worm, Priapulus caudatus, falsified another evolutionary prediction (click for credit)

Look at the unassuming worm pictured on the left. It is commonly called a cactus worm, but this particular species is known as Priapulus caudatus. According to evolutionists, cactus worms have been around for at least 500 million years.1, but they just recently falsified yet another prediction made by the hypothesis of evolution. To understand the prediction and why it has failed, you need to learn some background information.


There are many different ways scientists classify animals, but one of the broader ways it is done is by symmetry. Most of the animals with which you are familiar are bilaterally symmetric. This means their bodies can be split into a left half and a right half, and those two halves are roughly mirror images of each other. Cats, dogs, and horses are all bilaterally symmetric, as they all have distinct right and left sides that roughly mirror each other. In addition, cactus worms are bilaterally symmetric. Since there are a lot of animals that have this kind of symmetry, scientists have to find characteristics among the bilaterally symmetric animals that will further classify them.

Well, there are two different ways that bilaterally symmetric animals develop their digestive tract. In all these animals, a puckered indentation forms in the embryo. This indentation, called the blastopore, forms the beginning of a tube that will eventually develop into the digestive tract. However, in some bilaterally symmetric animals, that blastopore ends up becoming the mouth, while in other bilaterally symmetric animals, the blastopore ends up becoming the anus. In other words, some animals start their digestive system with their mouth, while others start their digestive system with their anus. The “mouth first” animals are called protostomes, which is a combination of the Greek word “protos” (which means first) and “stoma” (which means mouth). The “anus first” animals are called deuterostomes, which means “mouth second,” since the Greek word “deuteros” means “second.”

So when a biologist looks at an animal that is bilaterally symmetric, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “How does the digestive tract develop?” That tells the biologist whether the animal is a protostome or a deuterostome. Well, it turns out that studying the embryonic development of animals is rather time-consuming, so scientists often use other characteristics to infer the group to which an animal belongs. With all that under your belt, you are now ready to learn about the falsified evolutionary prediction.

No one had bothered to study the embryonic development of a cactus worm in a detailed enough fashion to determine how its digestive tract forms. Nevertheless, cactus worms have been classified as protostomes for a long, long time. Why? Because they share major genetic and anatomical features with other known protostomes. In addition, they do not share nearly as many characteristics with the deuterostomes. For example, a study that analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of cactus worms as well as 42 genes from their nuclear DNA confidently stated that cactus worms are actually “slowly evolving ecdysozoans.”2 Why is that important? Because ecdysozoans are protostomes. From an evolutionary point of view, then, it is obvious that cactus worms are protostomes.

After all, cactus worms are so genetically and anatomically similar to protostomes and so different from deuterostomes that they must be very closely related to the protostomes. Since they are very closely related, they must share all sorts of similarities, including the way their digestive tracts develop. From an evolutionary point of view, then, there is just no need to study their actual embryonic development, right? Wrong!

José M. Martín-Durán and colleagues actually watched the embryonic development of a particular species of cactus worm, Priapulus caudatus. They found that in fact, the anus forms first, not the mouth. Thus, while cactus worms have been classified as protostomes for quite some time based on evolutionary reasoning, the fact is that the one species whose embryonic development has actually been studied is a deuterostome. The title of the paper says it all: Deuterostomic Development in the Protostome Priapulus caudatus.3

So while evolutionary reasoning confidently predicted that cactus worms are protostomes, the actual data indicate the exact opposite. The more we study nature, the weaker the evolutionary hypothesis becomes.

REFERENCES

1. Dong X, Donoghue PCJ, Cheng H, and Liu J, “Fossil embryos from the Middle and Late Cambrian period of Hunan, south China,” Nature 427:237-240, 2004.
Return to Text

2. Webster BL, Copley RR, Jenner RA, Mackenzie-Dodds JA, Bourlat SJ, Rota-Stabelli O, Littlewood DT, and Telford MJ, “Mitogenomics and phylogenomics reveal priapulid worms as extant models of the ancestral Ecdysozoan,” Evolution & Development 8(6):502-10, 2006.
Return to Text

3. José M. Martín-Durán, Ralf Janssen, Sofia Wennberg, Graham E. Budd, and Andreas Hejnolsend, “Deuterostomic Development in the Protostome Priapulus caudatus,” Current Biology doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.09.037, 2012.
Return to Text

Comments

82 Responses to “Yet Another Failed Evolutionary Prediction”
  1. jlwile says:

    Mia, I am happy to admit when I am wrong. Indeed, I just did that in my most recent reply to Shrunk. I have done that previously on this blog, and I did it when I was a professor. When I was an atheist, I had to admit that I was wrong before I became a Christian.

    You might agree with Shrunk, but he has not done anything to demonstrate that the points raised in my post are wrong. He has repeatedly denied that this is a failed prediction of the evolutionary hypothesis, but he has offered no evidence to support that denial. He has tried to tell a bedtime story to get around the obvious fact that this is a problem for the evolutionary hypothesis, but as I have clearly demonstrated, that bedtime story is utterly inconsistent with the evidence we have. I am happy to follow the evidence wherever it leads, but that’s the key – there must be evidence to follow. The evidence we have right now shows that this is a failed evolutionary prediction and a problem for the evolutionary hypothesis.

  2. Shrunk says:

    So the final point you are desparately clinging to, after having to backtrack on several of your key claims, is that priapulsida represents a “problem” for evolutionary theory, because its precise place in the phylogenetic tree remains uncertain.

    Very well, then. Tell us how creationism solves this problem. If your claim is true, it should be that all creationists will be able to determine where it belongs, without any disagreement or controversy. After all, you are saying this is “problem” for evolution, but not for creationism.

    I guess, in your case, this question is more specifically worded as “In what form did the prepulsida ‘kind’ exist on Noah’s ark? And what other organisms, currently alive, were descended from this ‘kind’”?

    And please, scientific evidence only. No “bedtime stories”, if you will.

  3. jlwile says:

    Shrunk, I haven’t had to backtrack on any of my “key claims.” The fact is that this study represents a falsification of a prediction made by the evolutionary hypothesis. It also represents a problem for evolution, because there is no way to explain how the Priapulida could retain their deuterostomal development while sharing so many supposed common ancestors with the protostomes, which is what the data clearly indicate from an evolutionary point of view. It’s not that the phylogenetic tree remains uncertain. It’s that no phylogenetic tree makes sense given the data we have. Despite your protestations, you have not provided any evidence against either of those key claims. In fact, in the course of this conversation, you have actually bolstered those claims.

    I will note, of course, that you have had to backtrack on several of your key claims. For example, early in this conversation, you claimed:

    Your claim that the phylogenetic analysis was incorrect is also false. The phylogenetic tree remains unchanged. Only the name of one phylum may have to be changed The finding seems more signficant because earlier taxonomists had the bad luck of naming the phylum after a trait that they believed all members shared, mistakenly as it turns out. They could have just as easily named the group after some other shared trait.

    At least you are now willing to admit that there is definitely something wrong with the current phylogenetic tree. That’s an improvement…

    I also think you need to understand creationism a bit better if you really want to enter into a discussion about it. You ask, “In what form did the prepulsida ‘kind’ exist on Noah’s ark? And what other organisms, currently alive, were descended from this ‘kind’” The fact is that the Priapulida did not go on the ark. They are marine worms. They didn’t need to be preserved on the ark. Now, of course, your real question is the “kind” to which they belong. I have seen no studies on the baraminology of the marine worms. Thus, I don’t think we know the kind to which the Priapulida belong.

    I have already told you how creationism could solve this problem, if we had enough information. Because creationism sees development following pre-designed function, the key would be to understand the functional significance of deuterostomic and protostomic development. At that point, we would probably understand why the Priapulida use the former, while so many similar animals use the latter.

  4. Shrunk says:

    Ah, so the correct classification of priapulids represents a “problem” for creationists, as well. Yet somehow you don’t see this as reason to doubt the truth of creationism, or as “another failed prediction.”

    A guess “double standard” is another concept on which you are unclear.

    I also asked for scientific evidence, not a “bedtime story” about priapulids not going onto the ark.

  5. jlwile says:

    No, Shrunk, creationism made no false prediction regarding the Priapulida. However, the evolutionary hypothesis did. Also, it’s not classification that’s the problem for evolution. The problem is that there is no way to explain these data in light of the common ancestors that the evolutionary hypothesis requires for the Priapulida. Since creationism doesn’t require those common ancestors, there is no problem in the creation model.

    You are the one who brought up the ark, not me. I simply corrected your incorrect statement, which I have done several times throughout this conversation.

  6. Inazuma says:

    Hi Dr. Wile!

    I recently watched two lectures you gave that were posted on youtube. I was wondering if there were any others that I might have missed, or that were posted on other sites. You wouldn’t happen to have an archive would you?

  7. jlwile says:

    Inazuma, I don’t post things on YouTube. I guess people who have videoed my talks have done that. I don’t really do much video myself, so I don’t have any archives. I do have three videos posted here, though. This is a debate between me and a vertebrate paleontologist. This is a play that I wrote and performed at my church. This is a debate between me and an anti-vaccination scientist.

  8. Jason says:

    This thread has been very informative, thank you Dr Wile and Shrunk.

    What I found particularly interesting was how each of you interpreted the scientific data according to your worldview. Same evidence/data but different interpretation.

    Makes me wonder whether one can truly “follow the scientific evidence wherever it leads” when cherished beliefs, either religious and secular are challenged.

  9. Shrunk says:

    Well, I think we’re pretty close to exhausting all we have to say to each other, Dr. Wile. You clearly are not disposed to changing your mind. And reality, by its nature, is not disposed to arranging itself to accomodate your religious beliefs. So you and reality are at an impasse, it seems.

    I will just mention my amusement at your straight-faced reference to “baraminology”, as if it were a respectable and legitimate area of scientific investigation. The reality (there’s that pesky subject again) is that the following is just one typical example of the high standards of scientific rigour that exist in that discipline:

    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/creationism/creationist-discovers-plushie-baramin-t36025.html

    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/creationism/creationist-discovers-plushie-baramin-t36025.html

  10. jlwile says:

    Jason, I do think it is possible to follow the evidence. However, it does require being willing to admit that you are wrong. That’s what I had to do when I was an atheist.

  11. jlwile says:

    Shrunk, you are probably right. Reality, by its nature, is not disposed to arrange itself to accommodate your beliefs, and since you refuse to follow the evidence that reality presents, I fail to see what else I can do for you.

    I know that it is enjoyable to make fun of those with whom you disagree. However, if you ever want to deal with the data, you will have to evaluate the actual practice of baraminology, which is obviously much different from your mischaracterization of it. Perhaps this primer on baraminology will help educate you on the issue.

  12. Mia says:

    I think this podcast has particular relevance to this thread. It’s a discussion with the author of a new book called “Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe”. Great stuff. Mentions creationism of course.

  13. jlwile says:

    Mia, the book itself is very interesting. I really like what he says on page 206, which is a part of his “Conclusion” section:

    “Pseudoscience” is an empty category, a term of abuse, and there is nothing that necessarily links those dubbed pseudoscientists besides their separate alienation from science at the hands of the establishment.

    I couldn’t agree more. Dr. Dan Shechtman was thought of as a pseudoscientist. Later, he won the Nobel Prize because his “pseudoscience” turned out to be correct.

  14. Shrunk says:

    I agree that the case of a maverick like Schechtman provides an instructive example in the consideration of creationism. I would add, among several other possible examples, Lynn Margulis (endosymbiotic theory) and Barry Marshall and Robin Warren (the role of H. pylori in peptic ulcer disease). However, the examples of these scientists are not illustrative in the way you intend, Dr. Wile.

    When these researchers encountered resistance to their ideas, they did not hire lawyers to try to force the teaching of their ideas to school children. Nor did they spend millions of dollars creating movies about how persecuted they were, or erecting theme parks to promote their ideas, as creationists have done. Instead, these scientists hunkered down in their laboratories and within a few years produced the evidence that, ultimately, the scientific establishment could not ignore.

    This directly refutes the creationist narrative of science as an ideologically rigid institution that supressess and ignores knowledge, and instead demonstrates that science will accomodate any idea with the evidence to back it up, no matter how radical that idea initially appears.

    Creationists, OTOH, have been claiming for a century and a half that they have the evidence to disprove evolution. And yet in all that time they have yet to publish a single, solitary paper in a reputable peer-reviewed journal to back up this claim. Perhaps that’s because the evidence simply does not exist.

  15. Shrunk says:

    Or,more succintly, as Carl Sagan said:

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

  16. jlwile says:

    Shrunk, you really need to investigate creationism seriously, as your comments illustrate that you have not. Scientists fighting against the hypothesis of evolution do hunker down in their labs and produce evidence that is slowly changing the orthodoxy of the evolutionary hypothesis. In addition, they have produced several papers in reputable peer-reviewed journals to further their case. Here are several such examples:

    Chase W Nelson and John C Sanford, “The effects of low-impact mutations in digital organisms,” Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling, 8:9, 2011

    Brand, L. and Tang, T., “Fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: Evidence for underwater origin,” Geology 19:1201–1204, 1991

    S.C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117:213-239, 2004

    M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, “Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,” Protein Science, 13:2651-2664, 2004

    D. A. Axe, “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,” Journal of Molecular Biology, 341:1295-1315, 2004

    W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements,” Annual Review of Genetics, 36:389-410, 2002.

    M.J. Denton, J.C. Marshall & M. Legge, “The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 219:325-342, 2002

    D. A. Axe, “Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,” Journal of Molecular Biology, 301:585-595, 2000

    Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-Of-Function Mutations, And ‘The First Rule Of Adaptive Evolution’,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 85(4):419-445, 2010

    The fact that there are so many studies in the peer-reviewed literature illustrates just how strong the case of creationists and intelligent design advocates is, because we know that the peer-reviewed literature is hostile to paradigm-breaking papers, as this E-MAIL from a journal editor to Dr. Michael Behe clearly demonstrates:

    Hi Mike

    I’m torn by your request to submit a (thoughtful) response to critics of your non-evolutionary theory for the origin of complexity. On the one hand I am painfully aware of the close-mindedness of the scientific community to non-orthodoxy, and I think it is counterproductive. But on the other hand we have fixed page limits for each month’s issue, and there are many more good submissions than we can accept. So, your unorthodox theory would have to displace something that would be extending the current paradigm.

    So yes, the cases of Dr. Dan Schechtman, Lynn Margulis, Barry Marshall, and Robin Warren are very instructive when it comes to creationism. Like creationists, they were all considered “cranks” or practitioners of “pseudoscience.” In the end, however, the data demonstrated them to be correct, just as the data are demonstrating creationists to be correct.

  17. Shrunk says:

    Nine articles is a pretty pathetically small total, especially since most of them are included here:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html

    And I never denied that creationists occasionally publish research. Rather, I claimed that there has yet to be a single piece of evidence published to support creationism. And that includes the papers above. To the extent that they are not simply invalid, at most they raise questions (usually misguided) about details of the evolutionary process. Positive evidence to support creationism itself, and YEC in particular, will not be found if you look thru those articles. (Most of which I am already familiar with).

  18. jlwile says:

    Shrunk, once again, your comments indicate you have not investigated this very much at all. You are clearly not familiar with most of the papers, as they most certainly do provide evidence to support creationism. They all demonstrate the weakness of the evolutionary hypothesis, and many of them confirm the creationist view of variation. For example, the Behe paper demonstrates that in laboratory experiments on evolution, the main way that variation is produced is by loss-of-function mutations, which is a direct prediction of creationism. As a side note, one of the predictions made by Behe in that paper was recently confirmed. This, of course, is a stark contrast to evolutionary papers, whose predictions are routinely falsified by data such as those presented in my original blog post.

    The Brand paper presents evidence that the Coconino Sandstone was formed by water, which is a direct prediction of young-earth creationism and runs counter to the evolutionary view of how it was formed.

    The Meyer paper demonstrates:

    An experience-based analysis of the causal powers of various explanatory hypotheses suggests purposive or intelligent design as a causally adequate–and perhaps the most causally adequate–explanation for the origin of the complex specified information required to build the Cambrian animals and the novel forms they represent. For this reason, recent scientific interest in the design hypothesis is unlikely to abate as biologists continue to wrestle with the problem of the origination of biological form and the higher taxa.

    Of course, creationism also predicts a purposive or intelligent design as the explanation for the origin of complex specified information.

    The Lönnig & Saedler paper examines the role of transposons in the abrupt origin of new species and discusses the possibility of a partly predetermined generation of biodiversity and new species, which once again, is what creationism has predicted.

    As these papers indicate, the evolutionary hypothesis is failing. Not only do falsified predictions such as the one discussed in this post demonstrate that, but so do the increasingly frequent peer-reviewed papers from creationists and intelligent design advocates. You can desperately cling to your mischaracterizations if you like, but those of us who follow the evidence are not going to be distracted by such falsehoods.

  19. Shrunk says:

    You need to learn the difference between “evidence” and “unsupported assertion”.

  20. jlwile says:

    Read the studies, Shrunk. You will not find any unsupported assertions in them.

  21. Jason says:

    Shrunk says “You need to learn the difference between “evidence” and “unsupported assertion”.”

    Oh the irony :)

  22. Shrunk says:

    Maybe you can quote the parts that demonstrate that Noah’s ark really existed, or that the earth is 6000 years old, Dr. Wile….

  23. jlwile says:

    I never claimed those studies say that, Shrunk. However, you incorrectly claimed they didn’t support creationism, which they clearly do.

  24. Russell says:

    First I want to thank you for allowing open conversations within your blog. It’s very beneficial for everyone. I’ve been following your blog for about a month now and appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts and discoveries.

    I am a novice in the science realm so my knowledge of being able to discern truth is rather difficult. What Shrunk said about Noah’s ark (global flood) or the earth being 6k years old, are either of those a foundation for the creationist model? Are there currently any unrefuted studies suggesting a global flood?

    I have a couple friends who study a field of science at the university level, and one of them throws creationism science into the “brainless” / “religious driven” category, ergo they seem to suggest it’s not really science. I often wonder if this is due to not really understanding what creationism science really is or if there are a few bad apples who give creationism a bad reputation? Do you encounter this a lot as well?

  25. jlwile says:

    I am glad the discussion is beneficial, Russell. In answer to your question, a global flood and Noah’s ark are foundational for a young-earth creationist model. There are old-earth creationists who believe that the earth is roughly 4.6 billion years old but that God did create what we see today. Here is an example of such a group. Young-earth creationists think the earth is young, but not necessarily 6,000 years old. For example, I think the earth is probably closer to 10,000 years old.

    While there is certainly nothing “unrefutable” out there, I do think there is evidence for a global flood. You can find some of that evidence here.

    I do think that when people say that creationists are “brainless,” they really haven’t looked into creationism much. There are a lot of strong arguments for creationism, and even if you reject them, it is rather difficult to make the case that its serious proponents are “brainless.” At the same time, however, there are some really bad creationists out there, and they don’t help matters much!

    Now I do think that creationism is religiously driven. After all, if I didn’t believe in God, I probably wouldn’t consider creationism to be a viable option, either.

  26. Jason says:

    If Creation science is rejected because it is “religiously driven” I fail to see why Evolution should get a free pass.

    As Michael Ruse, anti-creationist committed evolutionist, an ardent Darwinian said:

    “‘Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality.

    I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr [sic] Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.

    ‘… Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.’”

    Further, in the prologue of his book The Evolution-Creation Struggle, he says:

    “In particular, I argue that in both evolution and creation we have rival religious responses to a crisis of faith—rival stories of origins, rival judgments about the meaning of human life, rival sets of moral dictates, and above all what theologians call rival eschatologies—pictures of the future and of what lies ahead for humankind.” [pg 3]

    Evolution is a religiously motivated, no doubt.

    In as far as Creationists being brainless:

    “It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

    ― G.K. Chesterton

    and

    One has to be insanely wedded to materialism and have more faith in the powers of chance, than any theist has in the powers of God. – Ben Wiker, Does science prove God?

    And finally

    Evolution is more ludicrous with each passing week. It is a religiously-motivated movement that force-fits scientific findings to its truth. Its unending trail of vacuous discoveries is nothing more than a reflection of the underlying religion.
    -Cornelius Hunter, http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.uk

    As Cornelius Hunter says “Religion drives science and it matters”.

  27. Mia says:

    Dr. Wile, you obviously didn’t listen to the podcast. You really should. The whole thing is good, but one part particularly deals with this thread. The author says that one reason that you can’t come up with a definition of science is those people who want to be thought of as scientists will just start doing whatever it is that the definition requires. Publish in peer-reviewed journals, make predictions (a favorite area of yours), do experiments, etc. What separates the wheat from the chaff is evidence. There is zero evidence that the earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old. (Again, that is one hell of an error bar). What evidence establishes the lower bound at 4004 BC besides a convoluted biblical chronology? What establishes the upper bound at 10,000 years besides it’s a round number?

  28. jlwile says:

    Mia, the book says the same thing. In other words, you can’t draw the distinction, because “those people” are doing science as well. That’s the point. You might not like that they are doing science, but they are.

    I agree with you that what separates the wheat from the chaff is evidence, and there is a lot of evidence for a young earth. I have never said that there is a “lower bound at 4004 BC.” I have repeatedly said that the earth is probably about 10,000 years old. Two very strong lines of evidence that support this number are the earth’s magnetic field (see here, here, and here) and dendrochronology.

  29. Shrunk says:

    Well, so long as we are using quotations in lieu of scientific evidence, how about a couple from the creationist side. For instance, this from Todd Charles Wood:

    “Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

    “I say these things not because I’m crazy or because I’ve ‘converted’ to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I’m motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

    “Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn’t make it ultimately true, and it doesn’t mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don’t be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don’t idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that’s not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you.”

    http://toddcwood.blogspot.ca/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html

    But, hey, no reason to go so far for evidence that even creationists themselves admit creationism is not a scientific idea. Look just a few posts above:

    “Now I do think that creationism is religiously driven. After all, if I didn’t believe in God, I probably wouldn’t consider creationism to be a viable option, either.”

    That should be game over for this blog.

  30. jlwile says:

    Shrunk, as you can see from the front page of my blog, I am very familiar with Dr. Wood’s work. I refer to him from time to time in my articles. I happen to disagree with him on his statement, however. While there is some evidence to support the evolutionary hypothesis, there is quite a bit of evidence against it, as this blog demonstrates time and time again. Indeed, you tried hard to rescue the evolutionary hypothesis from the failed prediction that generated this blog post, but you could not. The failed predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis are very real and growing in frequency, indicating its scientific weakness. In addition, there is strong evidence in favor of creationism. Thus, unlike Dr. Wood, I do find that evolution is a hypothesis in crisis. This is another indication that you haven’t really looked into creationism seriously. If you had, you would know that creationists are not monolithic. Like evolutionists, there is a lot of disagreement within our ranks.

    I am not sure why you think a belief in God makes it “game over” for my blog. I don’t hide the fact that I believe in God. Indeed, I have a hard time understanding anyone who studies science seriously and doesn’t believe in God. I say as much in the “about” section of my blog. Belief in God is what produced the science we have today (see here, here, and here, for example). Far from ending the game when it comes to science, then, belief in God is what started the game of modern science to begin with.

    In addition, consider the words of atheist philosopher Bradley Monton. In his book, Seeking God in Science, he says in response to the Dover decision:

    The reason this matters is that it’s a dangerous practice to try to impose rigid boundaries on what counts as science. For example, as I will show, a consequence of Jones’s criteria [for science] is that the aim of science is not truth…My position is that scientists should be free to pursue hypotheses as they see fit, without being constrained by a particular philosophical account of what science is.

    I agree. When you artificially constrain science to work in some narrow philosophical view (such as excluding a belief in God), it is no longer a pursuit of what is true. It is only a pursuit of what works within that narrow philosophical view.

  31. Mia says:

    Dendrochronology? Are you serious? At your link, you conclude:

    “Given the fact that tree rings indicate the oldest living tree to be about 5,000 years old (roughly when you would expect the worldwide flood to have happened), and given the fact that the oldest tree ring chronologies (which are upper limits) extend only to a bit over 10,000 years, it is hard to believe that these kinds of trees have existed for hundreds of millions of years.”

    You call that evidence? It’s not even coherent.

  32. jlwile says:

    Yes, Mia, I think it is strong evidence. I am not sure why you think it is incoherent. Perhaps if you explained your confusion, I could help clear it up for you.

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