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.
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.
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:
- Theory neutral observation.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.