Educational Research Analysts

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Evolutionary origins are not testable

Biology: The Living Science
pretends they are testable …
… but evolutionary scientists
admit they are not:
"There is no doubt that if you jump up into the air, you will end up on the ground below. It makes no difference whether you understand or even believe in gravity. What goes up must come down. Just as definitely, life on Earth has evolved and is continuing to evolve all around us all the time."
— p. 233, col. 1, lines 2-14

"There is so much evidence for evolution that it has become an established principle, or a scientific theory."
— p. 14, bottom margin, "Background Information," col. 2, lines 6-8, Teacher's Edition

    "Today, more than a century after Darwin, the overwhelming scientific evidence has caused virtually all scientists to agree that life has evolved. Evolutionary change is undeniable from a scientific perspective. … Evolution by natural selection has, over time, grown into an enormous collection of carefully reasoned and tested hypotheses.
    "… a new generation of experiments and observations is supplying even more evidence that evolution has occurred in the past and is continuing, day by day, in the natural world around us."
— p. 231, col. 2

Q: "What are the key elements of Darwin's explanation of evolution? Can they be verified experimentally?"
— p. 231, "Section Review 10-2," no. 3

A: "The key elements are variations in traits, adaptation, fitness, natural selection, and common descent. These elements have been observed and tested experimentally in the past and continue to be tested."
— p. 231, right margin, "Section Review 10-2," no. 3, Teacher's Edition
"We must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific…. Taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory, about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test."
— Colin Patterson (Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Paleontology Department, British Museum of Natural History, London), Evolution (London: British Museum of Natural History, 1978), pp. 145-146.

"However, the macromolecule-to-cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area, all is conjecture. The available facts do not provide a basis for postulating that cells arose on this planet…. We simply wish to point out the fact that there is no scientific evidence."
— David Green (University of Wisconsin biochemist) and Robert Goldberger (National Institute of Health biochemist), Molecular Insights into the Living Process (New York: Academic Press, 1967), pp. 406-407.

"Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus 'outside of empirical science' but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems, have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training."
— Paul Ehrlich (Biology Professor, Stanford University) and L. Charles Birch (Biology Professor, University of Sydney), "Evolutionary history and population biology," Nature, vol. 214, 22 April 1967, p. 352.

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