is meant to be a teaser to tease us on one of the most fundamental
questions of life itself: the question of origins. Man,
since antiquity, has asked these basic questions: “Who
am I?” “Why am I here?” “How am I here?” and “Where am I going?”.
The question “How am I here?” is the question about origins.
Humans have, time and again wondered about their own existence
and the existence of the universe. We have asked: “How did
this immense universe with all its complexity come into existence?”
“How did life come into being and has come to exist in such
a wide variety?” “What is man, a glorified ape or a special
creature?” “Is the universe and all life a product of blind
chance or is it the work of a creator i.e. a God?”
There are basically two viewpoints on this issue of origins.
The first one holds that the universe
and all life is the work of an ‘outside agency’, a designer,
who by his power and creativity has brought all things into
being. This designer is called ‘God’ and this view is called
‘Creation’ and sometimes ‘Special Creation’.
The second viewpoint
holds that all existence is the result
of purely naturalistic forces (processes) with no divine intervention
whatsoever. Time and chance and energy have fathered
this universe and all life into existence. According to this
view, after primitive life came into existence, gradual changes
with increased complexity took place, transforming one kind
of life form into another more complex and ‘advanced’ life
form all the way up to Man (Homo sapiens). This viewpoint
is called ‘Evolution’.
Ever since Darwin published his book, “The origin of species”
in 1895, the theory of evolution has been the dominant view
in the scientific and non-scientific circles (although there
are a growing number of people including scientists who are
beginning to think otherwise). Evolution is taught as a proven
fact of science in schools, colleges and universities the
world over. Even popular literature and science fiction writings
and movies present evolution as a scientific fact!
But is evolutionary thought scientific in the true sense of
the word leave alone it being a ‘SCIENTIFIC FACT’? The explicit
purpose of this article is to briefly look at the idea of
evolution in the light of true science. It is my intention
to spur the reader, the professional man of science and also
the amateur, to open inquiry very much in line with the spirit
of true science.
1. TRUE SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION:
The word ‘science’ comes from the Latin word scientia meaning
‘knowledge’. This knowledge in not philosophical speculation,
nor is it a blind leap in the dark, but is factual in nature.
All true science ought to be a body of factual information (data)
that is true to the spirit of scientific enquiry and the scientific
method. The scientific method involves observation, measurement
and experimentation. Experimentation in turn implies testability
and repeatability. This means that for anything to be true science
and so to be truly scientific, it ought to be confirmed empirically.
|| Has anyone
observed evolution actually taking place? Even if evolution
is taking place, it is supposed to be such a slow process
that it cannot be observed in the lifetime of a human
experimenter and so falls outside the realm of empirical
science. Theodosius Dobzhansky, one of the world’s most
famous and leading evolutionist says this: “The applicability
of the experimental method to the study of such unique
historical processes is severely restricted before all
else by the time intervals involved, which far exceed
the life time of any human experimenter”. Furthermore,
in contrast to the scientific method, which not only demands
observation but also experimentation, testability and
repeatability, evolution cannot be tested and repeated
in a lab for the very simple reason that history cannot
Even if the
universe originated in a bib bang and all life evolved from
non-life, we can’t really test it out for we can’t repeat
these past events. Let us, once again see what Dobzhansky
has to say: “The evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable,
and irreversible”. Evolution therefore, cannot be observed
nor can it be repeated and tested. It therefore lies OUTSIDE
the realm of true science, which is very much empirical in
POPPER AND THE PRINCIPLE OF FALSIFIABILITY:
Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science has indisputably
made an outstanding (even shocking!) contribution to science
and the scientific method by introducing the principle of
falsifiability. He proposed that in order to be scientific,
a hypothesis or a theory ought to be open to falsification,
and indeed should be falsifiable! Popper believed that a theory
that seemingly explains everything actually explains nothing!
For a theory to be potent and possess genuine power for explanation,
it must make risky predictions. Philip Johnson, the author
of the book “Darwin on Trail” captures Popper’s thought in
the following way: “Success in prediction is impressive only
to the extent that failure was a real possibility”. Science
progresses not by looking for confirming ‘evidences’ but by
being ruthless towards itself for the sake of scientific truth.
Some leading biologists have pointed out that because the
theory of evolution cannot be refuted (disproved or falsified),
it can neither be proved. Paul Ehrlich and L. C. Birch say
this: “ Our theory of evolution has become…. one which cannot
be refuted by any possible observations. It is thus ‘outside
of empirical science’, but not necessarily false. No one can
think of ways in which to test it…(Evolutionary ideas) have
become a part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of
us as a part of our training”.
Furthermore, the evolutionary theory seems to ‘explain’ everything!
Peter Medawar writes: “There are philosophical and methodological
objections to the evolutionary theory…. It is too difficult
to imagine or envisage an evolutionary episode which could
not be explained by the formulae of neo-Darwinism”. In other
words, every conceivable thing can be ‘explained’ by the theory
of evolution; the long neck of the giraffe and the short neck
of the hippopotamus, both can be ‘explained’ by natural selection.
A theory that incorporates everything really explains nothing!
It is tautologus. Those who survive are the fittest because
the fittest are the very ones that survive!
Is the theory of evolution open to falsification? Can the
theory of evolution be falsified? Falsification doubtlessly
implies rigorous empirical testing and repeated testing. Can
the phenomenon of evolution be subjected to empirical testing
and so to the principle of falsifiability? Philip
Johnson puts it like this: “Scientific methodology exists
wherever theories are subjected to rigorous empirical testing,
and it is absent wherever the practice is to protect a theory
rather than to test it”. Popper said it like this: “The wrong
view of science betrays itself in the craving to be right”.
True science is not about a ‘craving to be right’ at the cost
of truth, the scientific method and the spirit of science.
It is also not about protecting a theory in an unfair way
for any reason whatsoever. The real issue in true science
is to possess an untamed passion for adventure and truth;
to know the truth about physical reality around us and to
wisely harness it for Man’s good.
3. EVOLUTION AND THE TRUE FACTS OF SCIENCE:
The two universal facts of science (and so they are called
‘laws’) are the first and the second laws of Thermodynamics.
The first law is also called the law of conservation of mass
and energy, and states that matter and energy are neither
created nor destroyed but are conserved (in one form or another).
One kind of matter gets converted into another kind, one kind
of energy gets converted into another kind, and even matter-energy
inter conversions are possible, but nothing new comes into
being. The total amount of mass and energy in the universe
remains constant. The verdict of the first law of Thermodynamics
then is very clear: that changes in the universe are not organizationally
progressive i.e. evolutionary, but conservative.
The second law, also called the law of increasing entropy
(the word entropy comes from the Greek language and means
‘in-turning’) states that there is a tendency in all observed
systems to go from a state of order to a state of disorder
with time, reflecting dissipation of energy available for
future transformations. Entropy is a measure of the ‘lost
usefulness’ of a system. This law like the first one is also
universal. Issac Asimov had to say this about it: “ As far
as we know, all changes are in the direction of increasing
disorder, of increasing randomness, of running down”. Jeremy
Rifkin, an evolutionist and sociologist writes in his book
‘Entropy: A New World View’: “We believe that evolution somehow
magically creates greater overall value and order on earth.
Now that the environment we live in is becoming so dissipated
and disordered that it is apparent to the naked eye. We are
beginning for the first time to have second thoughts about
our views on evolutionary progress…Evolution means creation
of larger and larger islands of order at the expanse of even
greater seas of disorder in the world. There is not a single
biologist or physicist who can deny this central truth. Yet,
who is willing to stand up in a classroom or before a public
forum and admit it?”
The verdict of the second law of thermodynamics is as explicit
as that of the first one i.e. that changes in the universe
are not progressive and increasingly ordered i.e. evolutionary,
but are actually ‘de-volutionary’, with increasing disorder
and disorganization. This phenomenon is also evident in our
daily lives where things left to themselves become increasingly
disorganized rather than organized. The thought and prediction
of the evolutionary theory are clearly in opposition to these,
the two most time-tested and universal LAWS of true science.
Let me sum up. The phenomenon of evolution cannot be directly
observed nor can it be repeated and verified experimentally.
It can therefore be concluded that it lies outside the realm
of true science and does not stand up to the requirements
of the scientific method. Furthermore, the theory of evolution
is tautological in nature and cannot be scientifically refuted,
and so cannot be proved either. And then, evolution contradicts
the two most universal laws of science. Is evolution then
true science or a pseudoscience?