Dr. Cornelius G. Hunter (Ph.D. in biophysics & computational biology) recently published an exhaustive list of 22 failed predictions of Darwinian evolution on his site: https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/. The site is full of valuable information (including all his sources) but may be overwhelming for the science novice.
Below I have included the top quotes from each page to get you an overall idea of the 22 failed predictions. I also include my own creation-based commentary with each topic.
After the predictions, I also highlight several of Dr. Hunter’s responses to common objections and some facinating quotes from a recent publication on bias in science.
PREDICTION 1: The DNA code is not unique
The DNA code arose early in evolutionary history and remained essentially unchanged thereafter. And since it arose so early in evolutionary history, in the first primitive cell, the code must not be unique or special. For how could such a code have evolved so early in the history of life?
FALSIFICATION: We now know that the code’s arrangement uniquely reduces the effects of mutations and reading errors. The code does not optimize merely one function, but rather optimizes “a combination of several different functions simultaneously.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: If there is no evidence of a gradually evolving simple-to-complex DNA code, then the most likely conclusion is that the code was created specially and completely intact and operational. This conclusion is in line with the observed evidence.
PREDICTION 2: The cell’s fundamental molecules are universal
One intriguing example is DNA replication which copies both strands of the DNA molecule, but in different directions. Evolution predicts these fundamental processes to be common to all life.
FALSIFICATION: Key DNA replication proteins surprisingly “show very little or no sequence similarity between bacteria and archaea/eukaryotes.” Also different DNA replication processes have been discovered.
CREATION COMMENTARY: If DNA replication processes do not share the same patterns across all organisms, then this is evidence against common ancestry – and exactly what we would expect to find if God designed each kind of creature uniquely.
PREDICTION 3: Mutations are not adaptive
Mutations were believed to be random with respect to the needs of the individual.
FALSIFICATION: When a population of bacteria is subjected to harsh conditions it tends to increase its mutation rate. Experiments typically alter the bacteria food supply or apply some other environmental stress causing mutations that target the specific environmental stress.
CREATION COMMENTARY: The observed process of natural selection is 100% in agreement with young-earth creation and exactly what we would expect to find in a world designed by a good God.
PREDICTION 4: Competition is greatest between neighbors
The principle of divergence, the last major theoretical addition before Darwin published his book, held that competition tends to be strongest between the more closely related organisms. This would cause a splitting and divergence, resulting in the traditional evolutionary tree pattern.
FALSIFICATION: In a major study of competition between freshwater green algae species, the level of competition between pairs of species was found to be uncorrelated with the evolutionary distance between the pair of species.
CREATION COMMENTARY: If closely related species are not competing for survival what does that say about the fundamental idea of survival of the fittest? Creationism would not expect to find any competition. This finding better matches creation than evolution.
PREDICTION 5: Protein evolution
Evolution predicts that proteins evolved when life first appeared, or not long after.
FALSIFICATION: Four different studies, done by different groups and using different methods, all report that roughly 1070 evolutionary experiments would be needed to get close enough to a workable protein before natural selection could take over to refine the protein design. This conservative estimate of 1070 attempts required to evolve a simple protein is astronomically larger than the number of attempts that are feasible. Explanations of how evolution could achieve a large number of searches, or somehow obviate this requirement, require the preexistence of proteins and so are circular.
CREATION COMMENTARY: Evolutionists do not care if the number is astronomical, they will respond with “so you’re telling me there’s a chance”. The actual observed data is truly unbelieveable and circular, the only reason they believe it is because it is necessary to cling to their theory.
PREDICTION 6: Histone proteins cannot tolerate much change
Histones are proteins which serve as the hubs about which DNA is wrapped. They must have evolved early in evolutionary history. Virtually all amino acid changes are harmful in histone.
FALSIFICATION: It is remarkable how many residues in these highly conserved proteins can be mutated and retain basic nucleosomal function. even more surprising, many mutations actually raised the fitness level.
CREATION COMMENTARY: This is an example of a simple prediction shown incorrect when data was actually collected. What do you call a theory that repeatedble has failed predictions?
PREDICTION 7: The molecular clock keeps evolutionary time
In the 1960s molecular biologists learned how to analyze protein molecules and determine the sequence of amino acids that comprise a protein. If such sequence differences were the result of evolutionary change occurring over the history of life, then they could be used to estimate past speciation events.
FALSIFICATION: It was found that the evolutionary rate of certain proteins must vary significantly over time, between different species, and between different lineages. The false assumption of a molecular clock when reconstructing molecular phylogenies can result in incorrect topology and biased date estimation.
CREATION COMMENTARY: This is an example of the assumption of uniformitarianism failing. We assume that something works at a constant rate and then either predict future or past events. In this example the data showed there was much more to the equation then previously expected. This falsification is a common, key misunderstanding still promoted as true in amateur evolution thinking.
PREDICTION 8: The pentadactyl pattern and common descent
The pentadactyl structure—five digits (four fingers and a thumb for humans) at the end of the limb structure—is one of the most celebrated proof texts for evolution. Such a suboptimal design must be an artefact of common descent—a suboptimal design that was handed down from a common ancestor rather than specifically designed for each species.
FALSIFICATION: The digit structure in the tetrapods does not conform to the common descent pattern. Appendages have various digit structures and they are distributed across the species in various ways. This means that evolutionists cannot model the observed structures and pattern of distribution merely as a consequence of common descent. Instead, a complicated evolutionary history is required where the pentadactyl structure re-evolves in different lineages, and appendages evolve, are lost, and then evolve again.
CREATION COMMENTARY: Note here that the evolutionists find evidence against the five-digit structure evolving gradually across the lineage and instead of questioning the lineage – they decide to come up with a rescuing hypothesis that these creatures “must have” developed it, then lost it, and redeveloped it over and over again across time. This makes the theory more and more complex and less explanatory…and more and more useless. Perhaps the more likely explanation is that a creator intended for some creatures to have 5 digits and for other creatures to have different setups.
PREDICTION 9: Serlogical tests reveal evolutionary relationships
Early in the twentieth century scientists studied blood immunity and how immune reaction could be used to compare species.
FALSIFICATION: Indeed these polysaccharides, or glycans, did not fulfill evolutionary expectations. As one paper explained, glycans show “remarkably discontinuous distribution across evolutionary lineages,” for they “occur in a discontinuous and puzzling distribution across evolutionary lineages.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: Another example of a failed prediction of common descent. If we really evolved from creatures with a blood immunity, why would we lose that – then gain it, then lose it again over and over. This again makes the theory more and more confusing and less explanatory. But it makes perfect sense if different creatures were created independtly from each other and has different blood functions for different reasons.
PREDICTION 10: Biology is not lineage specific
Evolution expects the species to fall into a common descent pattern. Therefore a particular lineage should not have highly differentiated, unique and complex designs, when compared to neighboring species.
FALSIFICATION: Flowers have four basic parts: sepals, petals, stamens and carpels, the daffodil’s trumpet is fundamentally different and must be an evolutionary “novelty.” Out of the thousands of cockroach species in South Africa is the only one that leaps. An important immune system component, which is highly conserved across the vertebrates, is mysteriously absent in the Atlantic cod. Why such hotspots for the evolution of novel solutions to problems should exist in the tree of life is not entirely clear.
CREATION COMMENTARY: If common descent is true, then differing species of the same lineage should share extremely similar structures – yet we keep finding evidence that goes against this expectation.
PREDICTION 11: Similar species share similar genes
Similar species have a relatively recent common ancestor and have had limited time to diverge from each other. This means that their genes should be similar. Entirely new genes, for instance, would not have enough time to evolve.
FALSIFICATION: As much as a third of the genes in a given species may be unique, and even different variants within the same species have large numbers of genes unique to each variant.
CREATION COMMENTARY: If a creature that is supposed to be closely related to another species has a wildly different biological structure, then we must abandon the idea that it is related. This is a nail in the coffin of evolution seeing that up to 1/3 of genes are unique. Genes take too long to evolve to be that different in close “relatives”. As we do more and more actual observation, we find all evidence aligns with a creation viewpoint.
PREDICTION 12: MicroRNA
Genes hold information that is used to construct protein and RNA molecules which do various tasks in the cell. Two basic predictions that evolutionary theory makes regarding microRNAs are that (i) like all of biology, they arose gradually via randomly occurring biological variation (such as mutations) and (ii) as a consequence of this evolutionary origin, microRNAs should approximately form evolution’s common descent pattern.
FALSIFICATION: MicroRNAs are unlikely to have gradually evolved via random mutations, for too many mutations are required. Without the prior existence of genes and the protein synthesis process microRNAs would be useless. And without the prior existence of their regulatory processes, microRNAs would wreak havoc. The microRNA genetic sequences do not fall into the expected common descent pattern. That is, when compared across different species, microRNAs do not align with the evolutionary tree. As one scientist explained, “I’ve looked at thousands of microRNA genes and I can’t find a single example that would support the traditional [evolutionary] tree.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: In other words scientists assuming the truth of evolution declared what microRNA would show when studied and everything they find out about mRNA keeps contradicting their predetermined pattern. If mDNA cannot be accounted for evolving through the known process, how did it get here?
PREDICTION 13: Genomic features are not sporadically distributed
Vertical transmission of heritable material means that genes, and genomes in general, should fall into a common descent pattern, consistent with the evolutionary tree.
FALSIFICATION: It is now well recognized that this prediction has failed: “Vertical transmission of heritable material, a cornerstone of the Darwinian theory of evolution, is inadequate to describe the evolution of eukaryotes. One example is the uncanny similarity between the kangaroo and human genomes. As one evolutionist explained: “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order. We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not.” The result is that any pattern can be explained by arranging the right mechanisms. Features that are shared between similar species can be interpreted as “the result of a common evolutionary history,” and features that are not can be interpreted as “the result of common evolutionary forces.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: As deep level research of the genome is progressing we are learning a vast amount of information about genetics that is just simply incompatable with the traditional concept of evolution. We are finding a lot more uniqueness and less similarities. The problem is that the evolutionists who pushed similarities as evidence for evolution are now pushing the differences as evidence. What do you call a theory that can explain everything?? A theory that can explain nothing.
PREDICTION 14: Gene and host phylogenies are congruent
Evolution predicts that genetic change drives evolutionary change. Genetic changes that confer improved fitness are more likely to be selected and passed on. All of this means that evolutionary trees based on comparisons of genes should be similar, or congruent, with evolutionary trees based on comparisons of the entire species. Simply put, gene trees and species trees should be congruent.
FALSIFICATION: The molecular and the visible (morphological) features often indicate “strikingly different” evolutionary trees that cannot be explained as due to different methods being used. Instead of a single evolutionary tree emerging from the data, there is a wealth of competing evolutionary trees.
CREATION COMMENTARY: Morphology gives us one tree. The fossil record gives us another. DNA give us another. rDNA give us another. This is a very big emerging problem. Evolutionists are now calling the “bush of life” instead of the tree of life. Creationists have been calling it this for decades. Glad the evidence is catching up to our prediction.
PREDICTION 15: Gene phylogenies are congruent
The theory of evolution predicts that similar phylogenetic trees should be obtained from different sets of character data.
FALSIFICATION: As more genetic data became available, it was clear that different genes led to very different evolutionary trees. As one study explained, the sequences of genes, “often disagree and can seldom be proven to agree.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: Those who support evolution will normally pick the evidence that they like to support their supposed tree of life while ignoring competing data from different data sets. Is this confirmation bias? If we really did all evolve through common ancestry, all lines of data should match. They do not. That is a fact.
PREDICTION 16: The species should form an evolutionary tree
Evolution predicted that this universal tree can be derived by arranging the species according to their similarities and differences.
FALSIFICATION: With the ever increasing volumes of data, incongruence between trees “has become pervasive.” These incongruities are not minor statistical variations and the general failure to converge on a single topology has some researchers calling for a relaxation from “tree-thinking.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: As stated several times now, “tree-thinking” is throughourly debunked. Science cannot show us a convienient tree of life back to a single common ancestor. I’ll leave that conclusion up to you.
PREDICTION 17: Complex structures evolved from simpler structures
Given natural selection operating on inheritable variations, some of which are useful, then, if a sequence of numerous small changes from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, and if the eye is somehow useful at each step, then the difficulty is resolved.
FALSIFICATION: Ever since Darwin the list of complex structures in biology, for which no “series of gradations in complexity” can be found, has continued to grow longer. Analyses of genomes and of their transcribed genes in various organisms reveal that, as far as protein-coding genes are concerned, the repertoire of a sea anemone—a rather simple, evolutionarily basal animal—is almost as complex as that of a human. One team of evolutionists concluded, “comparative genomics has confirmed a lesson from paleontology: Evolution does not proceed monotonically from the simpler to the more complex.
CREATION COMMENTARY: The more lab work we do in the area of genetics, the more we learn how complex it is. Darwin had no clue about the complexity at the cellular level, and it is not getting more understood – the more we study, the more complex it is getting. Everyday, the probability that life evolved apart from a creator is becoming more and more unbelievable and indefensible. Beleiving in creation is the only rational option.
PREDICTION 18: Structures do not evolve before there is a need for them
A fundamental premise of evolutionary theory is that evolution has no foresight. It is a blind process responding to current, not future, needs.
FALSIFICATION: The vision system is just one of several examples showing that the genetic components of many of today’s embryonic development pathways must have been present long before such pathways existed. Evolutionists now refer to the appearance of these genetic components, before they were used as such, as preadaptation. As one evolutionist explained, “You look at cellular machines and say, why on earth would biology do anything like this? It’s too bizarre. But when you think about it in a neutral evolutionary fashion, in which these machineries emerge before there’s a need for them, then it makes sense.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: If organisms develop features they do not currently need, but for future functionality, how could this have evolved through an unguided process? Natural selection is an amazing process that can analyze the current needs of a creature, but it cannot predict the future. These evidences are amazing confirmations of a design process. It’s like if a car manufacturer put a wheel on a car before a steering wheel. That would make sense from a design perspective, but wouldn’t make sense in an unguided viewpoint.
PREDICTION 19: Functionally unconstrained DNA is not conserved
As different species evolve, their DNA segments are preserved only if they contribute to the organism’s fitness. DNA segments that are not functionally constrained should mutate and diverge over time.
FALSIFICATION: This prediction has been falsified in the many examples of functionally-unconstrained, highly similar stretches of DNA that have been discovered in otherwise distant species. For instance, thousands of so-called ultra-conserved elements (UCEs), hundreds of base pairs in length, have been found across a range of species including human, mouse, rat, dog, chicken and fish.
CREATION COMMENTARY: Our creator knew what he was doing while designing us with parts of our coding to adapt to new environments. I am sure we don’t understand the half of it.
PREDICTION 20: Nature does not make leaps
Evolution is a process. It occurs gradually via variations within populations.
FALSIFICATION: The first problem, that species appeared abruptly in the strata, could be explained as a spotty fossil record, though incredible stretches of evolutionary progress would have to have gone missing. Since Darwin, rapid change has been directly observed in species ranging from bacteria and yeast to plants and animals. Consider the house finches. The beaks of these birds adapted to their new environments with great speed. Within a decade or so their beaks had adjusted to the new habitats. Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia responded rapidly, developing new head morphology and digestive tract structure. Such examples of adaptation are not new, and one evolutionist concluded that “evolution can occur much more rapidly than we previously thought. Rapid evolution is pervasive, and the list of examples is growing.”
CREATION COMMENTARY: Evolutionists call this punctuated equilibrium, but it makes no sense. We know of no process that can create new proteins, genes, or DNA functions out of thin air. Gradualism is at least logically coherent. They claim punctuated because they have no other option. Where there is no evidence of gradualism, they are stuck – they have to claim punctuated. But punctuated is exactly what we would expect to find in the creation theory.
PREDICTION 21: Altruism
Natural selection could not result in destructive behavior. After all, evolution is driven by reproductive differentials and “every single organic being may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers.”
FALSIFICATION: Today we know of many examples of unambiguous altruism which are destructive to reproductive chances. Indeed, a plethora of designs are “more injurious than beneficial”. There are also many examples of altruism including giving blood and donating organs, giving to charities, helping the needy, and heroic wartime acts such as smothering a grenade or rescuing prisoners. Such acts of love and kindness falsify the evolutionary expectation that organisms should be oriented toward high levels of reproductive success.
CREATION COMMENTARY: The Nazi regime was the most accurate use of the concept of survival of the fittest in a real life scenario. Extermination is the natural result of truly believing in evolution. Altruism is the exact opposite. I always find it funny when people say you don’t want your doctor being a creationist, because evolution is the most important factor in biology. Yet, I don’t want my doctor subscribing to surivial of the fittest. Taking care of our sick and dying is a Christian principle.
PREDICTION 22: Cell death
According to evolutionary theory, biological variation that supports or enhances reproduction will increase in future generations—a process known as natural selection. The corollary to this is that biological variation that degrades reproduction will not be selected for.
FALSIFICATION: When the rattlesnake rattles its tail, is this not injurious to its hunt for food, and ultimately to its reproductive chances? In bacteria, for example, phenomenally complicated mechanisms carefully and precisely destroy the individual. Clearly, this suicide mechanism is more injurious than beneficial to the bacteria’s future prospects.
CREATION COMMENTARY: This follows the survival of the fittest concept. If you think about it, our cells die off and have to regenerate all the time. Eventually they stop regenerating as quickly, and this becomes problematic. So, why did this destructive pattern get selected for? Now if, according to the creation worldview, everything is running down hill and degrading over time – then cell death fits perfectly. It is very exciting viewing the evidence through a creationist viewpoint.
HERE ARE SOME OF DR. HUNTER’S RESPONSES TO COMMON OBJECTIONS:
(see his website for much more)
These falsifications will be remedied in the future
As scientists, we need to evaluate scientific theories according to the currently available data. No one knows what future data may bring, and the claim that future data will rescue evolution is ultimately circular.
There is no better alternative
One way to evaluate a theory is to compare it to alternative explanations. This approach has the advantage of circumventing the difficulties in evaluating scientific theories. But of course any such comparison will crucially depend on what alternative explanations are used in the comparison. If care is not taken good alternatives can be misrepresented or even omitted altogether. And of course there may be alternatives not yet conceived. (van Fraassen; Stanford) In any case, the success or failure of evolution’s predictions depends on the science, not on any alternative explanations.
No one believes these predictions anymore
Yes, this is the point. It is true that evolutionists have, for the most part, dropped many predictions that were once made by evolutionists or entailed by the theory. We can learn from this failed track record as it has implications for evolution’s complexity and explanatory power.
What about all the successful predictions?
Evolutionists argue that evolution is a fact, and that we ought to focus on evolution’s successful predictions rather than its false predictions. The tendency to seek confirming evidence over contrary evidence is known as confirmation bias. (Klayman, Ha) One consequence of confirmation bias can be that confirming evidence is viewed as correct and typical whereas disconfirming evidence is viewed as anomalous and rare. Not surprisingly the confirming evidence is more often retained and documented. Rarely are the many false predictions found in evolution texts. Confirmation bias can hinder scientific research as evolutionists tend to view the predictions of evolution as overwhelmingly true. False predictions, on the other hand, are usually not viewed as legitimate falsifications but rather as open research questions which are yet to be resolved. Indeed, evolutionists often make the remarkable claim that there is no evidence that is contrary to evolution.
In conclusion I have included some incredible comments from a recent publication called “Science isn’t broken: It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for.” The article is by Christie Aschwanden published at FiveThirtyEight. See the full article here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/science-isnt-broken/. The overall point of the article is that the scientific method does work, but too often that method is interfered with from our own personal biases or a weak review process. This is something creationists have been proclaiming for years. At least someone else is picking up on this! This is good information for armchair evolutionists who put their blind faith in science.
“An investigation in November uncovered a scam in which researchers were rubber-stamping their own work, circumventing peer review at five high-profile publishers.”
“Welcome to the wild world of p-hacking. If you tweaked the variables until you proved that Democrats are good for the economy, congrats; go vote for Hillary Clinton with a sense of purpose. But don’t go bragging about that to your friends. You could have proved the same for Republicans. The data … can be narrowed and expanded (p-hacked) to make either hypothesis appear correct. The p-value reveals almost nothing about the strength of the evidence, yet a p-value of 0.05 has become the ticket to get into many journals.”
“Scientists who fiddle around like this — just about all of them do, aren’t usually committing fraud, nor are they intending to. They’re just falling prey to natural human biases that lead them to tip the scales and set up studies to produce false-positive results. You really believe your hypothesis and you get the data and there’s ambiguity about how to analyze it. When the first analysis you try doesn’t spit out the result you want, you keep trying until you find one that does. ”
“Peer review is supposed to protect against shoddy science, but in November, Oransky, Marcus and Cat Ferguson, then a staff writer at Retraction Watch, uncovered a ring of fraudulent peer reviewing in which some authors exploited flaws in publishers’ computer systems so they could review their own papers (and those of close colleagues).”
“The scientific method is the most rigorous path to knowledge, but it’s also messy and tough. Science deserves respect exactly because it is difficult — not because it gets everything correct on the first try. The uncertainty inherent in science doesn’t mean that we can’t use it to make important policies or decisions. It just means that we should remain cautious and adopt a mindset that’s open to changing course if new data arises.”
The fact of the matter is when evolutionists say things like evolution has “mountains of evidence” and “the majority of scientists agree”… those lines have little to no bearing on the debate when the things we’ve recited above are known. Evolutionists would rather censor and not acknowledge these issues, but that just confirms the belief that their science is confirmation bias. What do we do with this information? Well, as a Christian, the answer is clear: continue to put our faith in an unchanging source of absolute truth (God’s word) and never compromise it with the uncertain conclusions of man.