The Flagellum Challenge for Darwinian Evolutionists
|April 22, 2006||Posted by Dave S. under Intelligent Design|
When IDists hypothesize that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex they explain that the hypothesis may be falsified by a detailed and plausible pathway whereby random mutation and natural selection could have built it up. We don’t ask that it be proven that’s how it happened only that it be demonstrated it can happen that way. Charles Darwin himself in The Origin of Species, chapter 6, anticipated this argument against his theory and acknowledged it would spell doom for his theory:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.
150 years later Darwin’s critics believe they have found a complex organ, the bacterial flagellum, which could not possibly have been formed via numerous, successive, slight modifications.
This is all well and good and certainly does not prove Darwin’s theory is wrong because, as even Darwin must have known, proving a negative is impossible. We can never, ever know that no Darwinian pathway is possible. All we can know is that no proposed pathway can explain it. Fortunately for IDists science doesn’t require proofs. According to our most widely accepted philosophy of science what science does require in cases like these is a method of falsification. In science one needn’t prove a negative if there exists a way to falsify the positive. This is what separates pseudo-scientific theories that explain everything, and thus explain nothing from real scientific theories.
This takes us back to the beginning where I explained that the hypothetical irreducible complexity of the flagellum may be falsified by showing any possible and plausible Darwinian pathway. The hypothesis that the flagellum is irreducibly complex is good science.
Now for the challenge. I had challenged a commenter here (Tiax) to explain to me a scientific method by which the theory that the bacterial flagellum evolved via random mutation plus natural selection could be falsified. My challenge was met with the sound of crickets chirping. Therefore I am putting this challenge in a more prominent position.
If no scientific method of falsfication can be provided then the so-called evolution of the flagellum is nothing but pseudo-science. My position is that Dembski’s design detection theory is indeed science and that it is the only falsification method by which hypothetical flagellum evolution can be rescued from the pseudo-science trashheap. If design detection isn’t science then neither is any theory of the flagellum evolving. Maybe Judge Jones needed to dismiss more than just design detection as “not science”, eh?
Who can provide for me a scientific method by which the theoretical Darwinian evolution of the bacterial flagellum can be falsified?
Fair warning: I’m not allowing any comments here that do not propose a scientific method of falsifying Darwinian evolution of the flagellum so don’t waste your time composing anything else.
I apologize for deleting comments that are in agreement. It’s understandable that you’d agree.
One commenter attacked the idea that falsification is widely accepted by philsophers of science as a demarcation of science and non-science. He may be right but my point is about what is legally science and what is not which is why I mentioned Judge Jones. Falsifiability is a legal test for what is science and what is not:
Falsifiability was one of the criteria used by Judge William Overton to determine that ‘creation science’ was not scientific and should not be taught in Arkansas public schools. It was also enshrined in United States law as part of the Daubert Standard set by the Supreme Court for whether scientific evidence is admissible in a jury trial.
I’ve had to delete a number of posts proposing ways the flagellum could have evolved. That’s not the challenge. The challenge is to give a method of falsification.