Another Failed Evolutionary Prediction

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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25 thoughts on “Another Failed Evolutionary Prediction”

  1. As is usual, your deluded creationist nuttery misrepresents the information.

    “Insects have evolved ears at least 17 times in different lineages”–Dena Smith, co-author of the study.

    The ears of insects could have evolved due to various influences, predators such as bats being just one example.

    You pathetic assumption that if one particular theory about how one particular body part may have evolved turns out to have a different explanation, then the only other possible explanation would have to be “God did it”!!!

    Scientists have indeed come to have different views about certain aspects of evolution in the 150 years since Darwin’s time. But at no time has a new consensus of opinion in the scientific community been attributed to the belief that– “Well, the only other rational explanation for this phenomenon is that the invisible sky-god [edited due to vulgarity] must have done this!!!!!!”

    Do you Jesus nutters really not see how embarrassingly absurd that you are?

    1. L.W., I think you need to read the post more carefully. Nowhere do I misrepresent anything. I show quite clearly how the evolutionary prediction was that insects which can hear high-frequency sound evolved that ability in response to the evolution of bats. I then show how the scientific data falsify that prediction. I also show that evolutionists now have no explanation for how these insects developed the ability to hear high-frequency sounds.

      You are most certainly correct that the “ears of insects could have evolved due to various influences.” However, what evolution said that influence was has now been falsified by the data. Also, evolutionists now have no idea what those “various influences” might be.

      So once again, another firm prediction of the evolutionary hypothesis has been falsified. This is how hypotheses are tested in science. Time and time again, evolution fails the test. This is why so many scientists are abandoning the view.

      Also, I am certainly not saying that “if one particular theory about how one particular body part may have evolved turns out to have a different explanation, then the only other possible explanation would have to be “God did it”!!!” I am simply saying that the data indicate the evolutionary explanation for how the body part came to be is wrong. I am not sure why you are so upset by that. Even the authors of the study admit that!

      Finally, I do have to once again point out to you that no Christian believes that God lives in the sky. I have told you this before, but I will tell you again. God is omnipresent. He does not live in the sky. He is everywhere.

      Please do try to refrain from being so vulgar. I hate having to edit people’s comments in order to keep this site clean. I understand you are frustrated. It is hard to see how the data support an idea you don’t want to accept. I would ask that you please try to calm yourself as you comment. I would hate to ban you simply because you cannot contain your growing frustration at how the evidence keeps showing that you are wrong!

  2. There remains a possibility that L.W. is a mere troll. I was once one myself and, though I generally did not resort to ad hominem attacks, I enjoyed harassing people over the internet with the most outrageous and pathetic claims. If L.W. is serious, he commits the rampant fallacy of calling creationists (e.g., Dr. Wile) nutty. EVEN IF THEY ARE NUTTY, they are not necessarily wrong. A person’s mental state does not falsify his claims. Also, calling a person deluded is extremely risky, because there is a 50/50 chance that the accuser of another person being deluded is deluded himself. Richard Dawkins, in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, states that the hypothesis of intelligent design is viable–as long as we were planted here by life forms that evolved on another planet. So, L.W., you may be wrong in saying that a fairy in the sky did not create us.

    1. You may be right, Waffles. Regardless, if he continues to post, I will continue to try to educate L.W., as long as he stops his vulgarity.

  3. L.W, that’s pathetic. The doctor never mentioned God at all. You’re showing that you can’t even read thoroughly. He only mentioned that the hypothesis had predicted incorrectly, which is correct. Do you have a problem with scientific facts that you don’t like? I suppose that a tornado that swept through a junkyard and made some sophisticated radar technology would be quite commonplace, and wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.

  4. I agree with Calvin and I cringed when I read my own response. I fear I sounded a bit too vitriolic. My apologies.

  5. O.K. Jesus nutters, let me try to explain this to you again.

    Just because we may not at the present time know for sure how a particular animal trait came to exist, that doesn’t mean that we won’t sometime in the future have the answer to that question. Or that the answer will not be completely compatible with biological evolution.

    And if it’s not compatible with evolution, then those theories will be discussed and scientifically examined.

    And the answer won’t come from you ancient book of myths!

    1. L.W., I am afraid you still don’t understand the point of the article. I assume this is because, like the information I have linked to you in other comments, you have simply not read it. Nowhere do I even imply that because we do not at the present time know for sure how high-frequency hearing in insects came to exist, we won’t sometime in the future have the answer to that question. Neither do I indicate that the answer will not be compatible with biological evolution. All I am pointing out is that the data as currently understood contradict the predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis. This, of course, is not an isolated incident. Time and time again, the data have demonstrated that the predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis are wrong. All these incorrect predictions indicate the scientific weakness of the hypothesis.

  6. Thanks again Dr. Wile for posting this interesting find. The folks at RTB will be glad to incorporate this into their model. I did not go see what “evoltionary dating methods” entailed. I am very glad that there is significant consistency among a plethera of valid dating methods that point to an earth and extra solar world incomparably greater than 10000 years. Soli Deo Gloria

    1. You are welcome, Mark. I think these data are already compatible with the RTB model, as their model does not need the presence of predators to explain the appearance of a predator-evasion characteristic.

      I strongly disagree that there are a “plethera of valid dating methods that point to an earth and extra solar world incomparably greater than 10000 years.” In fact, I think that while there are a few lines of evidence that indicate an ancient earth and solar system, science as a whole points very strongly to an earth that is roughly 10,000 years old.

  7. If you ban L.W., who will the rest of us laugh at? Too bad people can’t make ridiculous assertions without vulgarity.

  8. L.W… there are programs that will actually read text to you. Perhaps that way, it would be mutually understood that you’re making up rubbish and then saying Dr. Wile had stated that… and it’s obviously rubbish… if people read the article and then your comments, even people that agree with your ideology will have a good laugh. Especially at your fervent desperation to find something to support you. The only way you can find this in this article, of course, is to fabricate nonsense, which are accompanied by the ever-present logical fallacies.

  9. I have been silent for a while but following and I thought I would jump on the bandwagon.

    LW, your statement: “Just because we may not at the present time know for sure how a particular animal trait came to exist, that doesn’t mean that we won’t sometime in the future have the answer to that question. Or that the answer will not be completely compatible with biological evolution.

    And if it’s not compatible with evolution, then those theories will be discussed and scientifically examined.”

    To recap your stance:
    1) Presently we don’t know how anything was created/evolved.
    2) Current science might be completely wrong on the whole biological evolution
    3) One day we might have an answer…maybe
    4) As long as that answer has no basis in say “ancient myths”
    5) Contradictions to current thinking don’t contradict current thinking…

    Very insightful of you.

    BTW before you completely discount those “ancient book of myths” you might want to do some research. There is a plethora of scientific findings that prove most of biblical scripture. And no I do not take my facts from fellow Christians. Recently the guy who found the Titanic, located a line of Egyptian swords, chariots, etc at the bottom of the Red Sea. That is just one, I won’t waste your time with more since you seem to have some deep seated resentment toward religion but more specifically Christianity. Bet you have no problem with other religions, say Buddhism, et al. Not that it matters since like Dr. Wile has repeatedly said, he is simply pointing out that there are serious and repeating flaws.

    BTW, LW, your actions and lack of reason border on a religious zealotry despite your dislike of religions.

  10. Great Blog Dr Wile.

    I saw this comment from you on another one of your articles but you did not have comments there.

    “If you believe that all life on this planet is linked by common ancestry, you have to assume there is no limit to biological change. After all, if bacteria-like organisms eventually evolved into people, there would need to be a lot of change upon which natural selection (or spatial sorting or some as yet unknown mechanism) can act. ”

    I was wondering if you could explain this more on why there would need to be massive change because I am not clear on this, Also when I have argued against evolution it was on the basis that natural selection just means the unfit are weeded out and that nothing is being selected, so maybe you could clarify for me.

    I am not making fun of evolution believers but would that mean that in principle that they could believe something like flying dogs are possible? Because evolutionists would insist such a thing is not possible but if evolution has no goal of what organisms should be and biological change for them has no limits then isn’t it true that all kind of odd things like dogs or pigs with wings would be possible.

    Best wishes


    1. Thanks for your questions, Chris. WordPress (the software that runs this blog) turns off comments after a set length of time. However, this seems like an appropriate thread in which to discuss your questions.

      To answer your first question about change, all you have to do is look at the genome of the bacterium and compare it to that of a human being. First, a free-living bacterium usually has about 1,000 genes. While we still don’t know for sure, most geneticists think that humans have about 20,000 – 21,000 genes. So at minimum, the gene count had to increase by a factor of 20 during the course of evolution if we are all linked by a common ancestor. In addition, there are some fundamental differences between the genome of a bacterium and that of any animal. For example, animal DNA (and the DNA of all eukaryotes) has “spacers” in its genes called “introns.” This allows the cell to paste together different parts of different genes to make unique proteins, and it is why human cells can make more than 100,000 proteins, even though they have only 20,000 – 21,000 genes. Bacterial genomes do not have introns. There are many other differences, but hopefully you get the idea. In the end, the basic genome of a bacterium is so different from the basic genome of a human that an enormous amount of change had to occur if they are both related through some common ancestor.

      I would disagree with your interpretation of natural selection, and most biologists would as well. Natural selection does more than just weed out the unfit organisms. For example, in the presence of antibiotics, a strain of bacteria can arise that is resistant to that antibiotic. These “antibiotic resistant” bacteria are more fit to survive in the presence of antibiotics, and thus natural selection preserves them. Without the antibiotic, the strain either wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be the dominant form of the bacterium. However, when the antibiotic is present, the strain will often arise. This indicates that natural selection can, indeed, select changes that occur within the genome. Now while this is powerful evidence for natural selection, I must point out that it is actually evidence against “flagellate to philosopher” evolution.

      I don’t think that evolutionists would necessarily believe in flying dogs, as the mammal design would never work aerodynamically. However, some evolutionists (not all) believe that all manner of odd organisms could form, given the right conditions. A famous evolutionist named Dr. Stephen J. Gould thought that evolution was so dependent on chance that if the earth’s history were restarted, the life that evolution would produce the second time would be radically different from the life that it produced the first time. An evolutionist who holds such a view would not believe in flying dogs because of the aerodynamics issues, but he or she would believe in the possibility of all manner of incredibly odd organisms, given the appropriate conditions at the appropriate time. Other evolutionists (like Dr. Simon Conway Morris) think that evolution is so constrained by environmental issues, that no matter how many times you restarted earth’s history, evolution would produce exactly the same result.

  11. “Recently the guy who found the Titanic located a line of Egyptian swords, chariots, etc. at the bottom of the Red Sea.”
    That sounds too good to be true. Do you have good sources on that? Maybe Dr. Wile could do an article on it. If it is true, I certainly want to know about it.

    1. Excellent suggestion, Grace! I am not an archaeologist, so I am not familiar with what Sensei Mitch is talking about. I would love to see something more in depth on the matter.

    1. Thanks Sensei. The National Geographic link is interesting. I think it is difficult to attribute such layers to individual years, and unlike the link says, those layers are a lot more complex than tree rings. Nevertheless, the data do seem to support the Biblical record.

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