Evolution is NOT Proven Fact
Really?

by Terry Novich

2 + 2 = 4
 

Calling the theory of evolution a proven fact isn't scientific and even if it were correct science it really depends on the meaning of the word "evolution".


The famous evolutionist, Dr. Ruse
1, claimed during one of CNN's Lou Dobbs’ programs that, “Evolution is a proven fact, just as "proven" as 2+2=4” and, when challenged by Lou’s other guests, he continued to insisted that the two statements are equally true.

No-one doubts his assertion that 2+2=4 but there are many people who doubt his other assertion (see All Scientists Believe in Evolution.) You see, calling evolution a "fact" really depends on the meaning of the word "evolution". Did Dr. Ruse mean the neo-evolutionary understanding of evolution? Or, did he mean evolution as in “the Theory of Evolution” as most of us were taught?

The term "evolution" was, until relatively recently, used to mean a cause or mechanism of change, evidenced in the biological processes Darwin thought were responsible for the branching tree pattern of ascent. He believed that unguided “natural selection” over vast periods of time produced fundamentally new forms of life giving rise to all the living things we see around us today. The idea of Universal Common Descent and natural selection form the core of his theory.

Now, obviously, evolution is not something any living person can observe (there is no known process whereby humans can physically travel back in time.) And, evolution by its very nature is too slow for humanity to physically observe. 

Therefore, we are talking about historical/origins science when we talk about evolution, so "evolution" is only about history, but who’s history? The answer always depends on the scientist’s worldview; it depends on where they start; their a priori (that is; unprovable) assumptions make all the difference to their story. Evolution is an idea, a particular 'story' about a historical occurrence, but it is not - and never has been - experimental/operational science, the type of science that gives us computers, rockets, drugs and more.

Evolution, as you and I were taught, is not the same as 2+2=4. The understanding of the word "evolution", where one cell that's able to reproduce becomes many cells and then, over vast periods of time, eventually produces you and me and every living thing is an unsubstantiated hypothesis, a conjecture, and is not proven fact.


And, then there's this little gem...


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ruse ~ Dr. Michael Ruse: A philosopher of biology at Florida State University. Born in England, undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol (1962), master's degree at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and Ph.D. at the University of Bristol (1970). Taught at the University of Guelph Canada for 35 years. Teaches at Florida State University and is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy (2000–present). In 1986, he was elected as a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Bergen, Norway (1990), the McMaster University, Ontario, Canada (2003) and most recently the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (2007). 


Why is evolution taught as operational science?