Darwinian Evolution – is it fallacious?

I was reading through a book on logical fallacies and I came across 2 fallacies that I’d seen plenty of times before:

  1. Hasty Generalization – drawing a generalization from too few specific examples…
  2. False Analogy – making a comparison between 2 things that are alike only in trivial ways…

Also, during the day, I’d been reading William Lane Craig’s response to a question about his views on “Evolutionary Creationism and the Image of God in Mankind” at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/evolutionary-creationism-and-the-image-of-god-in-mankind.  In that response, he states “One cannot exaggerate just how extraordinary an extrapolation the current paradigm [of Darwinian evolution] involves”.  He goes on to say “The extrapolation of the Darwinian mechanisms from peppered moths and fruit flies and finch beaks to the production and evolution of every living thing is a breathtaking extrapolation of gargantuan, brobdingnagian proportions. We know that in science such extrapolations often fail.”

This last statement really got me thinking about whether this extrapolation (which seems to be at the root of the disputes on Darwinism) is in fact fallacious.   I think it is pretty well known that creationists and intelligent design advocates both support the idea of natural selection, since it is in fact observable.  But in order for natural selection to work, there must be an existing population of organisms competing for survival in an ecosystem.  The question that needs answering is “how did that population get there in the first place?”   Is natural selection acting on unguided (random) mutations sufficient to account for the creation of the population?

Is extrapolating the “evolution of every living thing” based on “peppered moths and fruit flies and finch beaks” committing the fallacy of Hasty Generalization?  This fallacy may apply because the Darwinists are taking the few examples of evolution that can be observed (“peppered moths and fruit flies and finch beaks” and even bacterial resistance to antibiotics), and extrapolating from that the conclusion that all of life descended from a common ancestor via the same mechanism.  But there is no actual observation of larger jumps in evolution.  Or, is this extrapolation possibly the fallacy of False Analogy?  This fallacy may apply because the Darwinists use the observation of these preserved, favorable traits in “peppered moths and fruit flies and finch beaks” and make an analogy that this observed variation within a species can be used to prove descent of all life from a common single celled ancestor.

Additionally, it has been suggested that the scientific method itself is committing the fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.  This fallacy exhibits the following form (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/10/05/logical-fallacies-formal-fallacies):

  1. if p, then q
  2. q
  3. therefore, p

For example:

  1. If it is snowing, then it must be cold outside.
  2. It is cold outside.
  3. Therefore, it must be snowing.

In his book “Discerning Truth”, Dr. Jason Lisle states:

“Yet scientists (doing real science in the present) do something strikingly similar to affirming the consequent as part of their standard procedure.  They form a hypothesis (p), which predicts a specific experimental result (q).  They then perform an experiment or observation that affirms (or denies) q.  If the prediction of the hypothesis is confirmed, doesn’t this provide support for said hypothesis?  Isn’t that what the scientific method is all about?  Yet this appears to be fallacious, leading us to ask: Is the scientific method based on the fallacy of affirming the consequent?  Secular philosophers have struggled over this very issue.  Science does seem to be formally invalid, and yet, it is incredibly successful.  How do we account for this?”  He goes on to say “… a scientific model that makes many specific, successful predictions under a variety of conditions, and that outperforms other competing models, is indeed likely to be a good approximation of the way the universe works…”.

I do think that if Darwinists say that the Neo-Darwinian model of evolution, is “fact”, as is so often stated, that is fallacious.

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