Created: September 9, 2015
Revised:Synopsis Sept 2017
The Creation Narrative of
Science and the Bible
Science and Falsifiability
This concerns the question: Is Evolution Falsifiable?
"In so far as a
scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and
in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality."
Karl Popper (1934)M.11
"The criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its
falsifiability, or refutability, or testability." Karl Popper (1963)M.12
This note is necessary because many
atheists claim the mantle of science for themselves. By some accountingM.13,
about half of all scientists are either atheists or agnostics (that is,
they refuse to take a position), and a much higher percentage
disbelieve in a personal GodM.14.
A scientific assertion is (potentially) falsifiable, or else it is a
belief and not science. However, an atheist must demand that the "fact"M.15
of natural evolution is non-falsifiable, whatever concessions Karl
Popper may have madeM.16.
To an atheist, there is no alternative to natural evolution, since by
definition no higher power is available.M.17
Furthermore, an atheist must extend the fact of natural evolution to
include the creation of life itself by natural means, something that
Darwin did not claim for his theory of natural selectionM.18.
Because atheists have claimed to own science they have forced science
itself into a non-falsifiable position—which is a contradiction. The
atheist's need for natural evolution is non-falsifiableM.19,
therefore it is not science.
A theist—one who believes in a God or gods, not necessarily a personal
God—has no such constraint. Science, evolution, the beginnings of life
all involve falsifiable concepts. The theist's belief in God is
non-falsifiable (otherwise they would not be theists), but he does not
have to extend that non-falsifiability to science, as does the atheist.
[*fn]M.11 Karl Popper
(28 Jul 1902—17 Sep 1994), The Logic of Scientific Discovery,
(1934), p. 314. See Wikipedia on Falsifiability and Bruce
Wightman, (Muhlenberg University), Popper’s Ghost: The Dark Side of
Falsification in Science (2012).
and Refutations, (1963), p. 36.
[*fn]M.13 In the
Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life Project (2009) survey of
religious belief among scientists who belong to the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), overall 48% don't
believe in a god or "higher power". One would expect that a higher
percentage don't believe in a personal God, which is a stronger
criterion—see the next note.
"Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science," New York Times, August
23, 2005, "They note that when Dr. Larson put part of the same survey
to "leading scientists" - in this case, members of the National Academy
of Sciences, perhaps the nation's most eminent scientific organization
- fewer than 10 percent professed belief in a personal God or human
Sagan, the host of the PBS series Cosmos, is famously quoted as saying
"Evolution is a fact not a theory." R. C. Lewontin, Richard Dawkins and
others have made the same assertion. See Wikipedia, Evolution as Fact
It is famously known that Karl Popper once stated that Evolution was
non-falsifiable, but later retracted the statement (presumably under
peer-pressure). For the record, and for myself as an evangelical
Christian, I agree that evolution is falsifiable, but it is not
falsifiable to an atheist. Thus the pressure to call natural evolution
a "fact" not a "theory", see previous note. The irony is that atheists
claim that theists cannot be good scientists, but the truth is exactly
the opposite: atheists cannot be good scientists because their belief
requires that evolution by undirected natural means be non-falsifiable.
A non-falsifiable belief (specifically atheism) is non-scientific. This
does not judge its truth value, but only argues that it is not
scientific, and has no right to claim exclusive ownership of science.
So, to the extent that the possibility of God is denied in the name of
science, to that extent evolution is non-falsifiable, any evidence that
would suggest the contrary is consciously suppressed or derided, and
natural evolution is presented as unassailable "fact". In a possibly
apocryphal story, Chinese paleontologist Jun-Yuan Chen (Professor,
Nanjing University) criticized Darwinian predictions about the fossil
record [Jun-Yuan Chen, The sudden appearance of diverse animal body
plans during the Cambrian explosion, Int. J. Dev. Biol. (2009)] and was
met with dead silence from a group of scientists in the U.S. He
quipped, “In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in
America you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”
possible deus ex machina is powerful unknown laws which are able to
bootstrap a chaotic natural world into its present highly organized
form. But such laws are just gods by other names. They are quite
different from the familiar laws of chemistry and physics, and diligent
search has revealed nothing of the sort. Of course computer simulations
of "evolution" can perform all sorts of organizational miracles—such as
program promoted by Richard Dawkins: this effort is based on
goal-directed change that has no known analog in the real world,
and has been thoroughly refuted by John Lennox in God's Undertaker (2012) and other
authors. One common palliative is a sort of Anthropic principle: "there
must be such laws because ... here we are—we exist!" On this, see
remark of John Lennox, Appendix 9, note 1.
Darwinian evolution concerns survival of the fittest descendents of a
species. Indeed "evolution" of life itself is an oxymoron: one must
begin with something viable to modify it by evolution, and viability
itself presumes life.
atheist must have
natural evolution, and since atheism dominates natural science,
evolution is non-falsifiable in the sense that there can be no evidence
(such as the ridiculously low probability—see Appendix 9, note 2—that
life itself could come about by undirected random happenstance) of a
Creator that would convince an atheist. So, to the extent that the
possibility of God is denied in the name of science, to that extent
evolution is non-falsifiable; any evidence that would suggest the
contrary is consciously suppressed or derided, and natural evolution is
presented as unassailable "fact".
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