Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Evolution: A syllogism

Jay Wile's recent post on the falsifiability of evolution reminds me of the penchant that Darwinists have for quoting Karl Popper, who enjoys somewhat of a canonical status among them. He is their go to man on the demarcation question (the question in philosophy of science having to do with the determination of what is and isn't science), and his appeal to the falsifiability criterion is something of a refrain among Darwinists.

Popper believed that a scientific theory could never be proven, but only disproven. The scientist sets forth his theory and then makes attempts to find falsifying instances. This is, according to Popper, the appropriate activity of the scientist, much more so that finding confirming instances. Because of this, you find Darwinists readily saying (as they have on this blog) that you can't prove anything (scientifically).

The problem is, they will just as readily say, in other contexts, that evolution has been "proven." Put these two propositions together, and you get the following syllogism:
No scientific theory can be proven
Evolution is a scientific theory
Therefore, Evolution cannot be proven
Just thought I'd mention it.


KyCobb said...


This goes back to something I think Stephen Jay Gould said, that a fact is something that is so well supported by the evidence that it would be perverse to withhold assent. As I said in an earlier thread, all of the scientific evidence converges on evolutionary theory as the best explanation of the diversity of life on earth. But there's always the possibility, however slight, that I'm just a brain in a jar and all of what I think is reality is a figment of my imagination, among other highly implausible scenarios.

Lee said...

I think, in your own terms, Ky, you and everyone else are just the flotsam and jetsam of a universe brought about by cosmic accident. We don't even qualify to be a brain in a jar; we're just protoplasmic mush in a big space where there is no absolute truth, no absolute morality, no absolute beauty. no absolute anything. There was a big bang, stuff happens, we're born, we die, and there is no meaning. Above us, only sky, and all that.

I think I'd actually rather be a brain in a jar. At least, presumably, somebody put it there for a reason.

KyCobb said...


There are people I love who love me, that makes my life meaningful.

Lee said...

> There are people I love who love me, that makes my life meaningful.

I'm sympathetic to that viewpoint, and I'm glad you and I share enough in common to be able to say that.

But "love giving meaning" is a concept that only makes sense from a Christian perspective. From a materialist perspective, because love is immaterial, it doesn't really exist. It is simply an illusion, a placeholder for a bunch of chemicals in your brain that make you think love has any sort of higher meaning, put there by eons of evolution as a means to strengthen the survivability of the species.

As in most things, materialists have to borrow from the Christian worldview, and of course must be careful about it lest it be looked at too closely. They don't live their own lives as if they believe what they tell others. It may be a random universe, but they order their own lives. There may be no higher truth or moral absolutes, but they teach their children the difference between right and wrong even if they have no idea how to justify it. They argue and fulminate for certain concepts, such as evolution, even though by their own admission there is no higher truth. It's an interesting dance.