4/08/2009

PREDICTIVE POWER

Vox Day and other 'evolutionary skeptics' often wonder about the predictive power of evolutionary theory. And me? I wonder about the predictive power of those who advocate another notion, that of 'intelligent design', to explain the diversity of life.

AN EVOLUTIONARY PREDICTION:

So, Neil Shubin and colleagues think that they should be able to find a 'fish-a-pod' fossil exhibiting transitional features between tetrapods and fish, and they figure out about how long ago that should be (ca. 375-85 million years ago), and where in North America they might likely find tropical shoreline environments of that age (Ellsmere Island). And they go there and look around, for a couple of summers.



In other words, Neil Shubin and his colleagues made a PREDICTION based on evolutionary theory that they would find such-and-such a fossil of such-and-such an age at such-and-such a location.

And guess what? They did: Tiktaalik rosaceae. Read the article for more info.




AN INTELLIGENT DESIGN PREDICTION:


Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, no ID advocate has ever made any sort of testable scientific claim based upon their model. Whereas, as I've just shown above, real scientists often use evolutionary theory to do exactly that. But ID advocates do make polemical statements, and these can be evaluated in terms of their probability, if not falsified. For example, from 1998, Phil Johnson:

“I believe that at some time well before 2059, the bicentennial year of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species,’ perhaps as early as 2009 or 2019, there will be another celebration that will mark the demise of the Darwinist ideology that was so triumphant in 1959.’” Phillip Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship,’ in Mere Creation, ed. By William A. Dembski, (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), p. 446-453, p. 448



Glenn Morton (a fellow theist to both Dembski and myself) has an interesting article on this point. It seems that evolution has been in a state of imminent demise for some time. Enjoy.