Falsifying evolution theory

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Exactly how can evolution theory be falsified?
 

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  • #2
arildno
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What particular aspect are you asking about?
 
  • #3
russ_watters
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Discovery of a fossil of a modern human who lived 3 billion years ago (etc.) would falsify the theory of evolution.

At this point, though, the evidence is so complete that such a thing would not fit with the evidence we have. There isn't really any room left for any new evidence to completely falsify it, beyond God himself announcing he's been screwing with us.
 
  • #4
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I mean NS + random mutation as the mechanism that causes the evolution of species.
 
  • #5
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russ_watters said:
Discovery of a fossil of a modern human who lived 3 billion years ago (etc.) would falsify the theory of evolution.
Would that falsify the idea that that being came about through NS + random mutations, or would it just screw up the evolutionary timeline that weve reconstructed?
 
  • #6
arildno
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As for NS working, that's just AS working in the absence of selective factors introduced by humans. (alternatively, AS is NS with a few human-introduced selection factors thrown in)
 
  • #7
NateTG
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Well, for humans at least, there are definitely non-genetic methods for evolution - for example, cultural ones. Of course, that sort of evolution is not likely to be expressed as species variety.

Notably, because gestation enviorments have a very strong invfluence on development, there could also be self-selecting behavioral evolution for non-human creatures. It's unclear to me whether this would qualify for species distinction.

Regarding 'super-ancient' human corpses:
The theory of random mutation + natural selection makes some fairily strong predictions about the rate of genetic variation. The existance of a billion-year old human corpse is, at best, problematic in light of those predictions. You might find the following entertaining:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam
 
  • #8
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russ_watters said:
Discovery of a fossil of a modern human who lived 3 billion years ago (etc.) would falsify the theory of evolution.

At this point, though, the evidence is so complete that such a thing would not fit with the evidence we have. There isn't really any room left for any new evidence to completely falsify it, beyond God himself announcing he's been screwing with us.
I don't see how a 30 billion year old fossil with all the features of a modern human found "somewhere" would falsify evolution any more than the discovery of a "fossil of an alien species" that "appears to be 30 billion years old" found in the "same place".

In the mean time, if you allow manipulation by an advanced extraterrestial race, you pretty much can't prove the past worth a damn. By considering such manipulation, you must divorce history from science completely and absolutely, and as a result, the slightest historical fact would become 100% philosophy. For example, just ask any Moon Hoax or WTC/Pentagon conspiracy theorist.
 
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  • #9
selfAdjoint
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As I've said before, finding that our DNA encodes a message like "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. (R) Pat. Applied For" would do it.
 
  • #10
Rade
PIT2 said:
...I mean NS + random mutation as the mechanism that causes the evolution of species...
The word "evolution" in a biological context refers to changes in gene frequencies (e.g., the gene pool) over time. Evolution is a process, not a thing. [Natural selection + random mutation] is but one of many ways gene frequencies within a gene pool can change over time. To understand this you must learn the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg Law--there are ten of them, violation of any one of which will result in "evolution". So, if you limit your concept of "evolution" to [NS + mutation] your concept of evolution can be, and has been, falsified.
 
  • #11
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selfAdjoint said:
As I've said before, finding that our DNA encodes a message like "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. (R) Pat. Applied For" would do it.
Why couldnt that have arisen by random mutations + ns?
Especially since there were billions of years of time for it to have happened...

Also, isnt this the same argument as the one creationists use:

"it looks designed, so it couldnt have evolved he way evolution theory claims it did"
 
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  • #12
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Rade said:
So, if you limit your concept of "evolution" to [NS + mutation] your concept of evolution can be, and has been, falsified.
Could u give an example of how it has been falsified?
 
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  • #13
selfAdjoint
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PIT2 said:
Rade said:
So, if you limit your concept of "evolution" to [NS + mutation] your concept of evolution can be, and has been, falsified.
Could u give an example of how it has been falsified?
Neutral evolution - which does happen - is mutation without NS. And some NS affects the expression of genes rather than new genes (those industrial landscape birds in England). So the necessary linkage of NS and mutation in a naive view of evolution has been falsified. Therefore no properly informed evolutionist holds that view any more. Neutral evolution was a BIG innovation when it came out.
 
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Plastic Theory states that species are essentially like plastic in that they are only able to change slightly, but not significantly (as in devolping new appendages). This theory also seems to have the backing of several former evolutionists who say that significant changes to alter mice in a meaningful way have failed repeatedly in labs. I have seen this theory in only one place and if you wish to see the link I can post it.
-scott
 
  • #15
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selfAdjoint said:
Neutral evolution - which does happen - is mutation without NS. And some NS affects the expression of genes rather than new genes (those industrial landscape birds in England). So the necessary linkage of NS and mutation in a naive view of evolution has been falsified. Therefore no properly informed evolutionist holds that view any more. Neutral evolution was a BIG innovation when it came out.
Ok, so the evolution of species through random mutations and NS has been falsified, and now properly informed evolutionists have put neutral evolution into the equation aswell.

Is there any way to falsify this new equation?
 
  • #16
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scott_alexsk said:
Plastic Theory states that species are essentially like plastic in that they are only able to change slightly, but not significantly (as in devolping new appendages). This theory also seems to have the backing of several former evolutionists who say that significant changes to alter mice in a meaningful way have failed repeatedly in labs. I have seen this theory in only one place and if you wish to see the link I can post it.
-scott
Alright post the link, but failing to alter mice doesnt sound like something that falsifies what this topic is about.
 
  • #17
arildno
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No, read SA's post again. That is not at all what he means!
 
  • #18
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arildno said:
No, read SA's post again. That is not at all what he means!
Oops i read over a section.

Neutral evolution - which does happen - is mutation without NS. And some NS affects the expression of genes rather than new genes (those industrial landscape birds in England). So the necessary linkage of NS and mutation in a naive view of evolution has been falsified. Therefore no properly informed evolutionist holds that view any more. Neutral evolution was a BIG innovation when it came out.
So (i read it again), and now we have:
1. rm + ns (falsified)
2. rm (falsified)
3. ns acting on gene expression (falsified)

1,2,3 together (not falsified)

So how can 1,2,3 together be falsified?
Btw i have a feeling that this list is going to get longer and longer, so i will just describe what im getting at: i want to know how all of evolution theory's known mechanisms combined can be falsified. To be more specific, i mean the modern evolutionary synthesis, also known as neodarwinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis
 
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  • #19
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I would like to first state that the paper in question is a rebuttal to another paper concerning marco-evolution. The author does not challenge mirco-evolution but focuses solely on marco-evolution. I first noticed this paper on this site when someone (I believe a few weeks ago) posted it.

http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1f.asp" [Broken]

Here is the link. Most of the stuff concerning plastic theory is in the rebuttal for point 28, but there is also additional material in several other points on that page. Much of this paper is too deep for me, but this still seems like one of the more convincing arguements.
-scott
 
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  • #20
iansmith
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scott_alexsk said:
I would like to first state that the paper in question is a rebuttal to another paper concerning marco-evolution. The author does not challenge mirco-evolution but focuses solely on marco-evolution. I first noticed this paper on this site when someone (I believe a few weeks ago) posted it.

http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1f.asp" [Broken]

Here is the link. Most of the stuff concerning plastic theory is in the rebuttal for point 28, but there is also additional material in several other points on that page. Much of this paper is too deep for me, but this still seems like one of the more convincing arguements.
-scott

True origin is a creationism website and a rebuttal for the arguments made in the direct page(s) was made.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/camp.html
 
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  • #21
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PIT2 said:
Exactly how can evolution theory be falsified?
By the known organisms around the world not being fit with what is known of the possibilities of modification in descent.

Rather than all the taxonomic groups we got, that are possible of being orgainzed in a phylogenetic "tree of life", we could be in a scenario where no one could possibly defend, based on evidence, that a certain hypothetical phylogeny is significantly better than any other one.*

More or less like how you prove that a jigsaw puzzle of a specific picture is in fact a jigsaw puzzle of this picture, or a jigsaw puzzle at all, you got to eventually assemble it, and even if you do not got the whole picture with all the pieces in the right place, at some point of assemblage would be unlikely that what is showing is just by a coincidence something that looks a lot like a very specific picture cut into pieces. In the other hand, if you do not got a real jigsaw puzzle, you could indefinitely try many assemblages but none would be significantly better than any other.

Putting the analogy in the real world, the organism's traits would not be distributed according with a phylogeny, but randomly with respect with that. Could be totally random, or in another pattern, anyway, such as teleological, i.e., structure following function, then you could have both bats and birds with bird wings and feathers, for example. The same applies to many other traits, from morphology to more basic biochemistry.




That is the falsification for universal common descent (independently of specific mechanisms of evolution, the only assumption is that evolution is descent with modification more or less like the one that took place with dog breeds in the possibilities, ie, what is known and witnessed in the matter of biological descent, rather than supposing that is possible to suddenly a dog born with bird wings in his back or something), which is what I thought that was being asked at the beginning. There's no such thing as a single falsification for everything that is accepted in the field of evolution, the same way that there´s no "falsification for ecology", or a "falsification for cardiology", etc.


_________________
*actually, this happens sometimes, but with more specific groups, rather than in general; for example, is pretty hard to know the exact phylogeny of dog breeds, but there's no doubt that they descend from a common ancestor. The things get better with the more data is used to trace the phylogeny. But with more scarce data (such as, only morphology from fossils), there are cases in which there are many equally evidenced relationships. But again, that occurs with relationships within, for example, dromaeusarids (Velociraptor & kin), rather than mess with higher taxonomic groups, such as platypus being equally evidenced as closely related with ducks and monotremes...
 
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  • #22
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I forgot to mention that but if you look, the rebuttal only refers to the first five points, of which none concern plastic theory. Anyways if you refer to the link and point 28, I am concerned whether or not you think this former evolutionist has a legit arguement.
-scott
 
  • #23
arildno
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PIT2 said:
Oops i read over a section.



So (i read it again), and now we have:
1. rm + ns (falsified)
2. rm (falsified)
3. ns acting on gene expression (falsified)

1,2,3 together (not falsified)

So how can 1,2,3 together be falsified?
Btw i have a feeling that this list is going to get longer and longer, so i will just describe what im getting at: i want to know how all of evolution theory's known mechanisms combined can be falsified. To be more specific, i mean the modern evolutionary synthesis, also known as neodarwinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis
Again, INCORRECT!
What has been falsified, is the NECESSARY linkage between rm and ns, that is the idea that it is impossible to have the one without the other!

It does not at all follow from this that rm+ns is falsified as an evolutionary mechanism, it is even perfectly consistent with the statement that rm+ns remains the DOMINANT evolutionary mechanism.
 
  • #24
Rade
PIT2 said:
...i want to know how all of evolution theory's known mechanisms combined can be falsified. To be more specific, i mean the modern evolutionary synthesis, also known as neodarwinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis
Dear PIT2. The answer to your question is the equation known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equation (many have elevated this to a Law). From ~ 1903 to 1935 the study of evolution fell into decline. Hardy (a mathematician) and Weinberg (a physician) asked this question--what would theory of evolution predict of a population (a large population) where there was "random" mating with 0.0 % "natural selection" ? What they concluded was that the gene frequencies in such a population would "not" change over time (e.g., no evolution--what you search for--the case showing how all of evolution theory known mechanisms can be falsified). This equation became the cornerstone of neodarwinism. Here is the equation fyi--you cannot understand "theory of evolution" unless you understand the implications of this equation:
p^2(A1A1)+2pg(A1A2)+q^2(A2A2)=1​
where A1 & A2 are two alleles at a single gene locus, p & q represent the frequencies of A1 and A2 alleles in the population. Here are some links for you to study to help you see how biologists attempt to answer your question:
http://www.tiem.utk.edu/~gross/bioed/bealsmodules/hardy-weinberg.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardy-Weinberg_principle
 
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  • #25
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arildno said:
Again, INCORRECT!
What has been falsified, is the NECESSARY linkage between rm and ns, that is the idea that it is impossible to have the one without the other!
Thats what meant said with "1. rm + ns (falsified)".
The + stands for the necessary linkage between the two.
 
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