How Dare We Demand that Darwinism Be Supported by Actual Scientific Evidence! - Evolution News & Views

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How Dare We Demand that Darwinism Be Supported by Actual Scientific Evidence!

If only Darwinists could come up with a body of convincing scientific evidence to support Darwin's theory: after 150 years of assuring us, such evidence surely must exist. As recently as May of this year, the best that a Darwinist as prominent as Professor Francisco Ayala of UC Irvine could come up with as examples of evolution in action was: (1) bacterial resistance to antibiotics; (2) insect resistance to pesticides; and (3) the evolution of fur coloring of desert rodents. (Ayala, "Darwin's Greatest Discovery: Design without designer," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (May 2007).) These examples of "evolution" appear to be microevolution in action; none of them even approach the level of one species "evolving" into another species. On the other hand, there are aspects of the fossil record, such as the Cambrian Explosion, that appear to contradict Darwin's theory of small gradual changes over time, and for which neo-Darwinism still offers no plausible explanation. (Ayala wisely avoids the subject in his article, by starting his history of modern life after the Cambrian Explosion.) Stasis and "living fossils" are another paradox of Darwinian evolution. Yet according to Ayala, the bacteria that are the oldest organisms on Earth have not changed at all in the billions of years of their existence! This observation does not help Darwinian evolution explain the origin of new types of living organisms.

On the other hand, maybe we are missing the point of Darwin's theory by demanding that it be supported by actual scientific evidence. As Ayala observes, for Darwin, finding actual scientific evidence to support his theory was a secondary concern. The main focus of his work was philosophical -- to come up with a theory to explain the obvious design in nature without a designer. As Ayala puts it:

"'Origin of Species' is, first and foremost, a sustained effort to solve the problem of how to account for the design of organisms, their complexity, diversity, and marvelous contrivances, as the result of natural processes. Darwin brings about the evidence for evolution because evolution is a necessary consequence of his theory of design."
Interestingly, Ayala admits that William Paley's competing theory of design known as natural theology was well supported by an impressively accurate and deep knowledge of the biological science of his day. To a lay person like myself, a theory that is well-supported by valid scientific data sounds, well, "scientific."

So why, 150 years later, is Darwin's theory of design considered by Darwinists to be "scientific," while Paley's theory of design, like contemporary intelligent design theory, is not considered to be "scientific?"

Obviously, such official pronouncements of which theories are "scientific," and which are not, are based on a philosophical pre-commitment rather than on the actual scientific data.

How fitting for the followers of Charles Darwin to consider scientific evidence to be only a secondary consideration to metaphysical considerations.

How presumptuous of some of us to demand that Darwin's theory be supported by actual scientific evidence!