For a more complete treatment of a discipline that has proved essential to the study of evolution, see the articles genetics, human and heredity.
Specific aspects of evolution are discussed in the articles coloration and mimicry. Applications of evolutionary theory to plant and animal breeding are discussed in the articles plant breeding and animal breeding. A detailed discussion of the life and thought of Charles Darwin is found in the article Darwin, Charles. Darwin and other 19th-century biologists found compelling evidence for biological evolution in the comparative study of living organisms, in their geographic distribution, and in the fossil remains of extinct organisms.
The amount of information about evolutionary history stored in the DNA and proteins of living things is virtually unlimited; scientists can reconstruct any detail of the evolutionary history of life by investing sufficient time and laboratory resources. Evolutionists no longer are concerned with obtaining evidence to support the fact of evolution but rather are concerned with what sorts of knowledge can be obtained from different sources of evidence.
The following sections identify the most productive of these sources and illustrate the types of information they have provided. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Just as science is important to everyday life, so it sets foundational principles by which evidence is acquired, analyzed, and transmitted. Science is a process in which we procure knowledge from empirical data. The data are from what we observe and record with our senses. Science is a systematic study of the world around us based on observations, classifications, and descriptions that can lead to experimental investigation and theoretical explanations.
Both deductive and inductive reasoning are employed in the scientific process. Valid science must have integrity, dependability, reliability, and be trustworthy. How can you come to true conclusions with experimental data that is falsified? Testing and measuring are also important tools for verification. When scientific research is reported in scientific journals, it should be written so that experimental procedures can be repeated, since repeatability is another tool used for validation.
Science can be seen as theoretical a well as strictly experimental. While experimental science relies on the process of factors referred to as the scientific method, e. Basic science continues to rely on observation, fact, hypothesis, theory, and law. These can be defined, briefly as follows:. Observations: Describing or measuring what one observes.
Hypothesis: A statement that can be tested so that inferences and conclusions can be explained. Fact: Based on repeated observations that can be confirmed. Theory: A general explanation into which facts and experimental conclusions can be incorporated, so as to allow for predictions to be made. Law: A functional generalization that has stood the test of time and can be relied on to make accurate predictions.
Scientists agree on the importance of peer review and self correction by means of the scientific process detailed above. Why does the evolutionary scientist fail to apply these standards of science to that of evolution? No one was present when evolution of life initially took place, so we are limited by the "observational" requirement of the scientific method. Obviously, we cannot experimentally verify the evolutionary process. We don't know factually any conditions under which evolutionary processes began.
Evolution fails to meet the basic requirements of the scientific method and is therefore by definition dead in the water. Science, by definition, only deals with material things. It is said to be naturalistic. Therefore scientific evidence relates to material questions about the universe. Science is not a worldview. By itself, it is a neutral mechanism that gives us tools to acquire and examine evidence. Evolutionists depend on science to acquire, analyze, and transmit data to build working models to support theories and laws as so do all scientists. Science is a tool that gives a glimpse of truth.
It is limited because science attempts to exclude all evidence except that which is by definition natural and quantitative.
It fails desperately to measure all the qualitative and subjective aspects of reality. It fails to measure inner qualities, such as truthfulness, generosity, and love. It is not competent to reach conclusions about realms beyond. This is a limitation that requires further development and understanding. We will take a more in-depth look at this problem later in this paper. The Basic Premises In summary, it is important to remember the following about evolutionary presuppositions: First, evolution assumes slow and gradual change over unimaginable eons—millions of years for life and billions of years for the material universe to evolve.
Many different explanations, without consensus, are offered to explain how this process took place. Second, evolution assumes that the organizing force for life is internal and depends on random chance, a presupposition that eliminates any outside intelligent creative force. Third, evolution dismisses intelligence and assumes that time, chance and natural process to be the mechanisms responsible for material reality—which, owing to its naturalistic presupposition, is the only reality being postulated.
Evolution, therefore, is a non-testable, non-verifiable, philosophical, non-scientific belief. The McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education describes the legal decision by U. District Court Judge William R. Out of this case came a description of science in Section 4 of the case. This section states that the essential characteristics of science are:.
It is guided by natural law; 2. It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law; 3. It is testable against the empirical world; 4. Its conclusions are tentative, i. It is falsifiable. This declaration of what science is, defeated the Creationist's attempt to have their alternate explanation of origins be presented in the public school system under the concept of requiring a balanced treatment of creation-science along with evolution-science. We are not here to debate the issue again, but what might be more apropos, is to see if evolutionary science can meet the "science test" e.
The court believed that "creation-science" as defined in Act is simply not science. Section three of this court case produced the court's definition of evolution. Evolution-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate:. Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from non-life; 2.
The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; 3. Emergence by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; 4. Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes; 5. Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and 6. An inception several billion years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life. Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from non-life.
We are looking for a process which takes molecules found in a disordered state and allows them to become ordered in such a way that life is produced. Is there a "law of syntropy" negative energy in living systems which would counterbalance or reverse the "law of entropy"? We know of no such law which would allow entropy the consequence of the second principle of thermodynamics, which states that in every transformation of energy some of the energy is lost in the environment to be reversed.
A second law, the law of biogenesis, says that life arises only from preexisting life. The experiments of Francesco Redi, and Louis Pasteur dealt with the origin of life by spontaneous generation, and this hypothesis was nullified by their experimental results. Where is this law that would give some credibility to the evolutionist's position?
What experiments have been run that prove or provide any credence to the emergence of life from non-life by some naturalistic process? Evolution is a theme that runs through all of biological science, yet it fails the first test of science, a search for a process that explains the existence of life via natural processes. With regard to this Michael Behe states the problem as follows: 1.
Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature - in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books - that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculation.
The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds, and 3. Emergence by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds. Mutations and natural selection are the two processes described by evolutionists to account for the evolution of organisms including the emergence of new species from previously evolved species.
Mutations certainly occur as well as natural selection. However, can these processes accomplish all that evolutionists say they can accomplish?
Mutations are said to be random and unpredictable. But is this so? Lee Spetner has researched this area involving adaptive mutations. The following are some of his findings. Barbara McClintock, who received the Nobel Prize in for her work on genetic rearrangements, noted that there are indications that these genetic modifications occur in response to stress. Barry Wanner of Emory University has suggested that genomic rearrangements could be part of a control system in bacteria that would produce heritable changes in response to environmental cues.
John Cairns and his team at the School of Public Health at Harvard University described other experiments with bacteria and concluded: The cells may have mechanisms for choosing which mutation will occur….
Bacteria apparently have an extensive armory of such 'cryptic' genes that can be called upon for the metabolism of unusual substrates. Spetner suggests that these experiments, which indicate that adaptive mutations are stimulated by the environment, thus contradicting the basic dogma of neo-Darwinism, e.
He further suggests that other organisms, apart from bacteria, also may have latent parts of their genome dedicated to be adaptive to a certain set of environmental conditions that may arise. How could an organism have part of its genome dedicated to adapt to an environment or a stimulus that it previously had not been exposed to?
Evolution must account for serious aberrations in its theory. There are many other problems with mutations as a mechanism for positive change in an organism. Anyone reading literature on this subject is aware of the destructive effects of mutations.
Even granting the occasional beneficial mutation, a concept still lacking in supportive empirical evidence, the accumulation of these in an organism providing that organism with a new element in its survival has not been demonstrated in the scientific literature. The theory has been modified in response to new data, but the outlines of the theory have remained largely intact.
It has existed at risk from new data. During the molecular biology revolution that began with the discovery of the structure of DNA by Franklin, Watson and Crick in , the explosion of new data could have shown contemporary evolutionary theory to be wrong. The ability of a theory to withstand such intense scrutiny is a clear sign it is robust and enduring.
As shown, the theory of evolution has predictive power, and it also integrates and makes sense of data from several fields of science, including ecology, paleontology, genetics, historical geology, paleoclimatology, and comparative anatomy and biochemistry. The highly integrative nature of evolutionary theory makes it a fine theory by any measure. When measured against the standards of a good scientific theory, modern evolutionary biology clearly qualifies as good science.
Ongoing debates within evolutionary biology exist about mechanism, rates, and causes, but not over whether evolution occurred. The future certainly looks bright for this field of science and I cannot imagine a more exciting topic to study. Ratzsch, Del.
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