The Logical Fallacies of Evolution

Author: Ibn Abdullah Al-Najdi, a student of knowledge, interested in philosophy of science.

This article sheds light into the methodologically fallacious foundation of evolution. Our main focus is not to refute a specific example of what Evolutionists consider to be evidence. Instead we question the fundamental basis of evolutionary theory as a whole. But in order to do that, we first must define the two categories of scientific observation.

Theory-Free Observation

In theory-free observations, the observer provides an unambiguous description of what is being directly observed through sensory perceptions.

An example of that would be describing your smartphone to someone, you can describe its color, screen size, and so on. In this case you are just describing what you observe and not go any further.

Theory-Laden Observation

Observations are considered to be theory-laden when the observer interprets the observation instead of purely describing it.

Theory-laden observations can be divided into two subcategories:

  1. Theory neutral observation.
  2. Theory self-confirming observation.

Theory Neutral Observation

In theory neutral observations, the interpretation of the observation is based on previous induction of similar cases.

Imagine waking up in the morning and going to the park, you notice that the grass is wet. In your mind there are two plausible explanations for this observation. It is either because it rained earlier this morning while you were sleeping, or the sprinkler was on. Of course, these are not the only possible explanations, but they are the best based on your background knowledge. Also, you notice that the sky is cloudy, and the sprinkler is usually turned off during this time. Thus, you exclude the sprinkler hypothesis and conclude that the rain hypothesis is more plausible.

Another hypothesis would be that someone had spilled water on the whole park. What makes the rain hypothesis better than this one? Based on your background knowledge and experience, it is implausible that someone would do that; people do not randomly go to the park and start spilling water. That would be highly unusual. Therefore, these two hypotheses do not have equal epistemic status. The rain hypothesis is stronger than the other one, and it is based on an inductive belief. This new event is similar to a previous event that you did actually observe. It is important to notice that this type of reasoning relies on your accumulated experience which allowed you to compare the hypotheses and then eliminate ones that are implausible.

Furthermore, notice that the statement, “the grass is wet,” is a purely descriptive statement, which makes this observation in itself theory-free. But since you wanted to know the explanation of it, you interpreted that observation to be because of rain. This interpretation is not theory-free because you did not actually observe the rain falling down upon the grass. In fact, it is loaded with theory, but it is not based on the hypothesis itself which needs validation. Rather, it is based on a previous induction of similar cases, which makes it a rational explanation.

Theory Self-Confirming Observation

Observations are considered to be theory self-confirming when the interpretation of the observation is based on the theory itself which needs validation.

This type of observation has the form of affirming the consequent, which is a logical fallacy. What makes this type different from theory neutral observations is that the interpretation of the observation is based on the subject of dispute, not on previous induction of similar cases.

Alleged evidence for evolutionary theory is of this fallacious self-confirming type, which goes as follows:

If evolutionary theory was true, then X should be observed.

We indeed have observed X.

Therefore, evolutionary theory is true.

Where X is any argument which Evolutionists consider to be evidence. It may be based on DNA similarities, morphological similarities, fossil record, etc.

This argument is nothing but a logical fallacy that has this general form:

If A then B

B

Therefore A

However, it may also be true that if C then B, or if D then B. On what basis can they dismiss C, D, E, etc., in favor of A? In this situation, choosing A instead of any other possibility is just an arbitrary choice.

Example:

If I am in New York, then I am in the United States.

I am indeed in the United States.

Therefore, I am in New York.

This is clearly invalid; just because you are in the United States does not necessarily mean that you are in New York. You could be in other states and still be in the United States.

Example:

If evolution from common descent were true, then DNA similarities should be observed.

DNA similarities have been observed.

Therefore, evolution from common descent is true.

This example has the same fallacious form of the previous example. They interpret DNA similarities to be because of common descent. However, this is just an arbitrary choice of interpretation since it is not based on previous induction of similar cases. It can be interpreted in many different ways, but Evolutionists arbitrarily eliminate other interpretations in favor of their own. We say “arbitrarily” because they have never seen any similar cases from which an observational experience would help them infer the best explanation by omitting the less likely cases.

DNA similarities can be interpreted to be because all organisms are living in one system and that they have similar vital functions. Darwinians have no rational reason to dismiss other interpretations in favor of their own belief. The problem of underdetermination has occurred because the subject of theorization itself is epistemically inaccessible; it goes beyond direct induction.

Furthermore, this argument is invalid since it is self-confirming. To illustrate its circularity, we will put it in a general form:

Interpret observation A based on the theory B.

Evidence for theory B is interpretation A.

Example:

Interpret DNA similarities to be as a result of a common descent.

Evidence for evolution from common descent is DNA similarities.

As you can see, they interpret DNA similarities based on the theory itself which needs to be validated, then use this interpretation in attempt to validate the theory! This argument begs the question because the observation is interpreted based on the subject of dispute.

Darwinians interpret all observations in a manner that confirms their beliefs, and when asked to provide evidence that supports it, they offer those interpretations themselves in sheer circularity!

They have truly reached a methodologically miserable state, which can be clearly seen when they state that they have “discovered” a fossil that “confirms” the theory. Collecting different bones and constructing them in the exact way that they want to see is considered to be a “scientific discovery.” At this point it is not a discovery; it is an invention! They invent an observation based on the theory itself, then claim that it is evidence which confirms it. It does not matter how many self-confirming inventions or interpretations they have; they cannot escape from this circularity.

What is the difference between theory neutral observations and theory self-confirming observations?

In the park example that we gave previously, we can see that “wet grass” is interpreted to be because of rain. What makes that a rational interpretation is that it is based on previous induction of similar cases. It is similar to an event that you have previously observed.

Furthermore, other hypotheses are not equally valid since some of them rarely happen in reality, and others are inductively implausible. Therefore, they can be dismissed.

However, interpreting DNA similarities to be as a result of a common descent is arbitrary and is not based on previous induction of similar cases. By that we mean Evolutionists have never observed organisms evolve from a unicellular organism to something like this diversity that we now observe. If they do not have this observation nor anything similar to it, then the theory is not inductive, and it is self-confirming by necessity.

The rain hypothesis was based on induction; we did observe something similar to it in the past, which is why it is a good explanation. However, interpreting DNA similarities to be because of a common descent is a leap of faith and is based on the subject of dispute, which is why it is circular. How can they tell that their interpretation is more plausible than others if they have no previous induction of similar cases?

Epistemic Crisis

Some might try to defend theory self-confirming observations by saying that other scientists do it, so why can’t we. Darwin himself had this kind of attitude when Sedgwick criticized him by saying that he had deserted the inductive road.

This really shows us the epistemic crisis that naturalists have. Richard Dawkins goes even further in his book The Greatest Show on Earth and argues that actual observation is “over-rated” and says: “Eye-witness testimony, ‘actual observation’, ‘a datum of experience’ – all are, or at least can be, hopelessly unreliable.”

The methodological problem is not with all theory-laden observations but with theory self-confirming observations. True empirical science relies on accumulated experience of human direct induction. If the theory exceeds that, then it is nothing but naturalistic metaphysics, and all of its supposed evidence is going to be circular by necessity. 

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome. May Allah bless you.

    And they will say, “If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze.”

  2. You assume mistakenly that scientific theory can be proven true, In fact, it is impossible to prove a scientific theory – there is always the possibility of finding a counter-example. However, it is possible to dosprove it.
    For example, “If evolution from common descent were true, then DNA similarities should be observed.
    DNA similarities have been observed.
    Therefore, evolution from common descent is true.”
    is not a claim made by evolutionists.
    What they say is “If evolution from common descent were not true, then DNA similarities would not be observed in every sample of DNA examined.
    DNA similarities have been observed in every sample of DNA examined.
    Therefore, evolution from common descent has not been falsified.”

    • The author didn’t mention that scientific theories can be “proved”. He said that they can become “probable” through inductive argument/evidence. Induction is the realm of scientific theories and induction only leads to probabilities, not certainty

      • The author often uses the term true.
        “If evolution from common descent were true, then DNA similarities should be observed.
        DNA similarities have been observed.
        Therefore, evolution from common descent is true.”
        for example. How can you use the term “true” without the assumption that it can be proven? Logic – even the author’s chop-logic – rests on the belief that truth can be proven.

    • those examples were to illustrate some claims of Darwinists, evolutionists, and atheists or other people who make a truth claim about evolution. From what I gathered in this article, its clear the author is making a distinction between observations and scientific theories, the latter which are reliant on induction and therefore cannot make a truth claim like with deductive arguments.

    • There are similarities in DNA because of a common creator. One analogy is the evolution of Windows operating system. It has evolved from Windows 1 to Windows 10. It’s made by the same company and different versions have similarities in the source code.
      Darwinian evolution doesn’t explain what force acts to improve the design from singular cell to a complex human or even how a single cell was created. Randomness causes disorder and chaos, not order.

    • “If evolution from common descent were not true, then DNA similarities would not be observed in every sample of DNA examined.
      DNA similarities have been observed in every sample of DNA examined.
      Therefore, evolution from common descent has not been falsified.”

      That’s still not right. Just because it’s not falsified, it doesn’t mean it’s true. If there are DNA similarities, why on earth would that indicate common ancestry. If I compare certain computer programs, the Code might be similar but it doesn’t mean they were created from one program. It doesn’t follow.

      If anything, it indicates that they were designed by the same being

    • You should instead say ‘If DNA similarities are not observed in every sample of DNA examined, evolution from common descent will be not true’.
      Observing dissimilarities in the DNA falsifies the Theory of Evolution, but repeatedly observing similarities does not justify it. If it indeed justified, it must be justified by some other evidence.

  3. How do you know that the case naturalists are presenting is not instead:

    If X is observed, then the evolutionary theory is true

    X is observed

    Therefore, evolutionary theory is true

    The above is valid according to propositional logic

    • There is nothing in our observation/induction that we know that could make the first statement possible. And it is not a logical/rational truth that anything would necessarily lead to evolution specifically.

      • Which “first statement” mine, or how the author’s? If it’ll make you more comfortable, I can rewrite the deductive argument as:

        If X is observed, then we have good evidence for the theory of evolution
        X is observed
        Therefore, we have good evidence for the theory of evolution.

        Again, this argument is perfectly “valid”. How does this not undermine the author’s claim that the naturalist must behold the author’s specific formulation of an invalid argument?

    • I meant by first statement “if x is true then the evolutionary theory is true” … you’ve changed it now to “if x is true then we have good evidence for evolutionary theory” which is a different argument. This new statement that you changed it to is something that philosophers of science won’t disagree with (and basically there is evidence and arguments that can be made for all sorts of theories), but the first statement is making a truth claim,
      unless you just meant probability. Truth claims are through deductive arguments to show that something is logically coherent or incoherent, not through scientific arguments which are all inductive arguments which lead to probabilities only…. anyhow the probability of evolution through Darwinism (just one theory which proposes natural selection as the mechanism and also mutations and a common ancestry) are not as high as people assume. There are many more questions now than answers with the discovery of immense complexity and nuance of organization of cells and dna. Michael Behe wrote a book on this about irreducible complexity which is an argument against simplistic Darwinian mechanisms as an explanation for the complexity of life. It is a very strong argument against such a simple explanation as Darwinism. So even in the realm of probabilities, Darwinian evolution is not very probably. However now you have the multiverse theories which try to explain this improbability through many different universes… but then no matter the matter that has to be looked at is the concept of “infinity” and also “randomness” … infinity doesn’t actually exist for limited creation. Creation is always limited, otherwise it will be nonsensical. Randomness also doesn’t exist, it is only what we say when we don’t know how to calculate the variables that lead to an event. So if the multiverse that are posited are not operating on randomness then what are they operating on? At the end of the day also these types of theories are all wild speculation. The real question ultimately goes back to why are there specifications in the universe in the first place, organization, systems in the creation/universe? The Muslim answer is that it’s because God, who always existed, willed it, chose it, designed it, created it through Power. This is how the systems, specifications, quantities and designs came to be. One Perfect Being must have always existed. This can be understood both rationally through deductive arguments and intuitively as most people already believe.

      • Wow, I’m getting a lecture on propositional logic as if I’ve never studied discrete math.

        The whole point of why I initially argued that you can simply reverse the article’s first proposition (Article: “If the evolutionary theory is true, then X should be observed”) is to show that naturists don’t need to conform to the author’s purposely formed invalid deductive argument. I wasn’t making a point on the soundness of my rearrangement, but its validity–a modus ponens naturalists can instead choose to subscribe to–since the first point this article tries to argue is that the naturalist is committed to his invalid (invalid as in ANDing all of the propositions is not logically equivalent to the conclusion) deductive form, which is just silly. The evolutionary biologist can just make use of “my” syllogism WRT interpreting evidence and they’ve completely undermined the author’s first point.

        The rest of your rant is largely uninteresting.

  4. The evolution therory is very scientific and proved to be true. Even new gene discovery confirming it.
    Human indeed developed from fish to land reptile to apes and finally as human.

  5. Evolution is not “true” in the sense that it is a matter of absolute certainty, so the entire argument based around inductive reasoning falls completely flat. Evidence has been presented that is concurrent with the process of evolution. Mechanisms have been proposed which would explain the evolution of complex systems – yes, multicellular life, yes, eyes and other sophisticated structures – without contradicting any available evidence. In over a century of trying, opponents and critics have not been able to falsify evolution through natural selection. Therefore, it is the best theory at the moment.

    Creation through the direct action of a deity has no material evidence whatsoever for it. Since it is asserted without any evidence it does not need to be falsified. That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

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