Note: This was a detailed response to post about evolution. The post contained a lot of common misconceptions, so I wanted to take the opportunity to try dispelling them.
Evolution: A Modern Paradox
In today’s culture, evolution has permeated people’s worldview and has changed science into a new meaning.
As far as I understand, the definition of science has not changed as a result of the discovery of evolution. What is the older meaning that has been supplanted, and with what newer meaning?
Evolution is a matter of faith, certainly not scientific fact, because there is no solid proof supporting the theory. No one was there to see what really happened, and it contradicts proven scientific law.
Actually evolution is a matter of scientific fact. Your confusion comes from the extremely common misunderstanding of what science does. Science does not prove anything. Ever. The scientific method is a process where observations are made and models are proposed to explain these observations. These models are also known as hypotheses.
For any given set of observations there can be many different hypotheses that explain the data. Some hypotheses might seem more reasonable than others, but you cannot prove that any one of them are correct, though you can certainly prove some wrong. So the scientific method continues by collecting more data and trying to determine which hypotheses best fit the new data.
This is where experiments come in. Not all science is experimental, since experiments are things where conditions are manipulated by people. We simply can’t manipulate anything we want (like in evolution where we can’t go back in time, and astronomy/cosmology where we can’t manipulate giant, distant bodies). Experiments are useful because they allow us to throw out alternative hypotheses that don’t shed any light on the data.
For example, let’s say you wanted to decide if beer bread made with dark beer tastes better than that made with light beer. I hypothesize that dark is better, based on the fact that I think dark beer tastes better (taste of beer is the data). So, I need to collect beer bread taste data.
The key to understanding how one can figure the origin of the universe is in origin science. Evolution is origin science, which is science that tries to explain the origins of the earth through studying written history and physical evidence from ancient past.
Evolution does not try to explain the origin of the earth. It tries to explain the origin of biodiversity.
Operational science includes the discovery of information through experiments that are done today. Evolutionists have tried to prove evolution through operational science, like in Miller’s experiment (Ham and Mortenson 24).
Again, this type of experiment only supports specific hypotheses, not the theory of evolution. But otherwise you are correct; scientists have tried to prove evolution through “operational science.” And have been successful (look into evolution of pesticide and antibiotic resistance). Probably the greatest and most obvious example of all, however, is dog breeding. This is essentially a grand experiment done over thousands of years that has brought the original wolf ancestor to exist as one species with forms as diverse as a chihuahua and great dane. And this experiment wasn’t even done on purpose!
Which probably requires that I add this note: natural and “artificial” selection are the same thing. We call it artificial when it is done by people. So “natural” selection is when the environment selects for/against certain traits, and “artificial” selection is when the environment that does the selecting is controlled by people (in other words, an experiment).
Evolutionists claim that evolution can be seen in modern society, but this “evolution” that we see is mutations—a loss of genetic information, rather than a gain in genetic information that evolution requires (25).
I was thinking recently about the common attempts to explain what a scientific theory is by pointing out that gravity is “just” a theory. This is, of course, usually in defense of people who say that evolution is “not a fact, just a theory.” I was thinking about how the concept of evolution, in general and abstracted from a biological context, is a very logical idea that doesn’t actually need evidence in order to make sense. This differs greatly from the theory of gravity, which only makes sense in light of observations. Thus, evolution makes more sense than gravity. Let me explain.
Both concepts were developed in light of observation. For gravity, people recognized that things always fall when dropped. Eventually it was found that all objects fall at the same rate, and then realized that there was a force between all objects, dependent on mass, that pulls them toward one another from very great distances. The simple equation describing the gravitational force between two objects can then be used to predict what the interactions between those objects will be like. Gravity is a beautiful example of the scientific method, where we start from observation, come up with rules, and then test those rules against more observations. On top of that, the theory has been fine-tuned over a few centuries to be able to describe more and more observations. The important point I want to make here is that, in the absence of observations of falling objects, gravitational theory makes no sense at all. The equations are useless unless you observe and take measurements of moving objects. The theory only applies to observation.
So how does this contrast with evolution? Like gravity, evolution was a theory developed by many people over many years. Darwin was not the first to come up with it, he was just the first to pile up so much evidence for its occurrence in nature. My claim is, however, that the evidence isn’t necessary. Why is this? I’ll first state that evolution is not specifically a biological concept. It has to do with pieces of information that copy themselves and are prone to some amount of error. Any self-replicating information can and will evolve.