In this question, J McHue asks what observations would falsify evolution. As I read the answer it is “there is such an insurmountable quantity of evidence that it would require to demonstrate each and every study was wrong”.
But if I understand the logical philosophy of “a theory”, surely this is the wrong way around. J McHue, were he to desire to do so, need only show that one such claim is in error to undermine the whole argument for evolution, for the qualification of a scientific argument is that there would be some means to prove it wrong, this being the point asked.
If there is no distinct, objective means to prove the theory of evolution wrong, then can it claim to be a ‘theory’? Can it even claim to be ‘scientific’ without an acceptable objective means to unhinge it?
There is a further complication arising from the nature of evolution (which, I will add, I have no need to be convinced of, only whether it does actually qualify as ‘a theory’) and that is; it is clearly correct for some situations. Where one ties up a positive observation with an accumulated quantity of supportive evidence, then this is a ‘paradigm’ but it is not ‘a theory’, as I understand the etymology of the words.
Let me put this in context, albeit an extreme one; an evolutionary biologist sits in a field looking at cows and says ‘ah, all cows are black and white’, this being what he can see from his canvas chair. A creationist happens by and says ‘if you go into the next field, then you’ll find God has made some red cows’ to which [in the context of the answer to J McHue] the evolutionary biologist would say “but I have counted 1,000 black and white cows here and you’d have to show me these are all not black and white”.
So, as far as I can see, J McHue would only have to show one single observation on which David Hone relies to undermine evolution as a theory for if that creationist *could* show one cow in that field was red, then clearly the theory [that all cows are black and white] would be proved wrong. If this situation were to occur, then the 'theory' of black and white cows would be scientific, albeit limited to that field, because it can be disproved with an observation. But the answer given suggests that ALL the cows have to be shown not to be black and white for the theory to be shown incorrect, which would simply be a wrong understanding of the predicate logic of science.
But there is yet a further consequence to this discussion; if the field next to this cow-observation experiment is occurring really *does* have God making red cows and the above argument is correct, then the evolutionary biologist, were he acting with all due scientific rigour, should not be studying fields with black and white cows in but needs to go to try and find fields that he doesn’t actually think can exist – namely he needs to be spending his time looking for fields with red [or other coloured] cows in.
This long text of mine arises because I think there is a very embedded and fundamental misunderstanding of what would count as a falsification of evolution. A falsification would, for example, be me providing you with “The Creator’s” address so you could go meet him, but how many evolutionary biologists go looking for that? Similarly, the chap in our imaginary field would not get up go looking for another field with red cows in because he just doesn’t believe it exists. He’s already counted thousands of examples that support his paradigm, so why should he?
The corollary of the above is that an evolutionary biologist needs to be actively looking for God [*AND* investigating any other non-evolutionary explanations to life], else is not performing with due scientific rigour, just as the chap above isn't looking into the next field and is a bit negligent for not doing so! What essential logical errors am I making to draw a correlation between these two situations?
‘Evolution’, much as I personally accept it and need no convincing, does not appear to qualify as a ‘theory’ by this argument. Is it, therefore, in fact a paradigm, surely with strong evidence of its veracity but nonetheless one without a falsification and, thus, not ‘scientific’ per se?