Evolution affirms the Consequent

  1. Affirming the Consequent is a logical fallacy that takes a known true statement [if P then Q] and invalidly concludes its converse [if Q then P]:
    1. If Bill Gates owns Fort Knox, then Bill Gates is rich. Bill Gates is rich. Therefore, Bill Gates owns Fort Knox. False!
    2. If an animal is a dog, then it has four legs. My cat has four legs. Therefore, my cat is a dog. False!
    3. If it’s raining, then the streets are wet. The streets are wet. Therefore it’s raining. False! It could be raining or it could be something else. The “therefore” claim is false.
  2. How does ‘Affirming the consequent’ apply to evolution? We have not observed “evolution”. No one has, and no one will, despite the effort (see LTEE). What was observed is Resemblance, the Birth Mechanism, Variability and Adaptability. Neither of these (even combined) can logically be extrapolated to “evolution”, namely the hypothesized transmutation of one type of organism into another. Proofs of “evolution” always take the form: If “evolution” is true, then XYZ is true. XYZ is true. Therefore “evolution” is true. This is a classical Affirming the Consequent logical fallacy.
  3. Let’s see some concrete examples of “proof of evolution” fallacies:
    • If “evolution” is true, some fossils are ancestors of and therefore resemble existing organisms. Fossils resemble one another and existing organisms. Therefore “evolution” is true. This argument fails because there will always be some resemblance between two or more entities (even chairs and cats have four legs in general). Also, a fossil can always be from an unrelated branch of the “tree of life” which circularly presupposes “evolution” anyway.
    • If “evolution” is true, organisms are genetically similar. Organisms are genetically similar. Therefore “evolution” is true. This argument is false because other hypotheses such as common design account for genetic similarities just as well.
    • If “evolution” is true, one might expect common embryology. Similar organisms have similar embryology. Therefore “evolution” is true. This fails because embryology is expected to match genetics and morphology, hence the previous counterargument applies.
    • If “evolution” is true, one might expect vestigial organs. What looks like vestigial organs can be observed. Therefore “evolution” is true. This fails because what if those organs are useful rather that “vestigial”? And why would “evolution” not do away with “vestigial” organs as soon as they become useless? In sum, why can’t these organs have another reason or origin than “evolution”?
    • If “evolution” is true, one expects adaptability such as antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is observed. Therefore “evolution” is true. This fails because adaptabilities such as antibiotic resistance are compatible with other hypotheses, not just “evolution”. In addition, antibiotic resistance is ubiquitous, limited, reversible, and never observed to result in organism transmutation aka “evolution”.
  4. How can “proofs of evolution” avoid the ‘Affirming the Consequent’ logical fallacy? Direct confirmation of “evolution” is unlikely as shown by the LTEE study. Alternatively, an observation that is true for “evolution” and only for “evolution” might also work. In other words, what’s missing from all the examples above is a true statement of the kind: “only if evolution is true, then XYZ”. Of course, excluding all alternatives to “evolution” is an impossible task therefore, given that Intelligent Design is the main rival, proponents of “evolution” need only add a true statement of the kind: “if Intelligent Design is true, then XYZ is not true” to turn their invalid arguments into valid ones. But even this lower bar cannot be met by “evolution” proponents, thus making all “proofs of evolution” invalid.
  5. Isn’t then all science ‘Affirming the Consequent’? For example, “if Newtonian physics is true, a ball thrown at angle Theta and speed V will land D meters away. The experiment is carried out, and we find that the ball landed distance D away. Therefor physics is true.” No! This is not a fallacy because it meets the “if and only if” requirement and is limited to “everything else equal” cases. Rockets do not disprove this claim because everything else is not equal between them and thrown inactive projectiles. In addition, no one claims a single experiment confirms all Newtonian Mechanics the way “proofs of evolution” are presented. In this case, multiple combinations of Angles and Speed result in the same Distance without violating Newtonian Mechanics because this experiment proves only portions of the theory.





312 thoughts on “Evolution affirms the Consequent

  1. walto: As KN tried to explain to you several days ago, their model is abductive.

    And as explained several times, “the best possible explanation” requires AT A MINIMUM a side-by-side comparison of the hypotheses.
    Now, will you kindly point to that side-by-side comparison? If unable then you must admit that “proofs of evolution” are fallacies.

  2. DNA_Jock: You ran through a whole series of these affirming the consequent fallacies, claiming (incorrectly) that scientists commit such fallacies.

    Darwinists are not scientists.

  3. DNA_Jock: “Therefore it’s raining” – FALSE FALLACY

    That is a false conclusion. The whole set (3 sentences) make a fallacy.

    DNA_Jock: Well, at that point, this particular argument for [a portion of] Newtonian Mechanics becomes a fallacy.

    Oh dear.

    Were you going to make a point? Because you’re not. Is “Oh dear” supposed to do it?!?

  4. walto: It’s very basic stuff often taught to high school sophomores.

    everybody else has been well aware of since Aristotle.

    Your comedian skills are very iffy, but you’re surely a bullshit artist. Is that your career or are you just aspiring? Thanks for the entertainment.

  5. OMagain: What if the machine is broke and they have a hole in the roof and it starts raining?

    Wouldn’t you rather answer that question yourself and thus learn more about this fallacy?

    More importantly, can you see why ALL (100%) “proofs of evolution” are fallacies of this kind?

    Can you cite ONE “proof of evolution” that is not an ‘Affirming the Consequent’ logical fallacy?

  6. J-Mac: Testable hypotheses?

    Let’s see the experimental evidence for those testable hypotheses…

    The experimental evidence is on the site in that quote.

    For example, the match between phylogenies based on morphology and genetics is easily tested:

    “So, how well do phylogenetic trees from morphological studies match the trees made from independent molecular studies? There are over 10^38 different possible ways to arrange the 30 major taxa represented in Figure 1 into a phylogenetic tree (see Table 1.3.1; Felsenstein 1982; Li 1997, p. 102). In spite of these odds, the relationships given in Figure 1, as determined from morphological characters, are completely congruent with the relationships determined independently from cytochrome c molecular studies. Speaking quantitatively, independent morphological and molecular measurements such as these have determined the standard phylogenetic tree, as shown in Figure 1, to better than 38 decimal places.”

  7. Nonlin.org: Can you cite ONE “proof of evolution” that is not an ‘Affirming the Consequent’ logical fallacy?

    No, science does not do proof.

    But what I can say is that if we look at the evidence that we have then we seem to have drawn a reasonable conclusion. Variation and differential survival didit.

  8. Nonlin.org: Is that your career or are you just aspiring?

    What’s your career? What do you do for a full time job? As it sure as shit ain’t nothing to do with this nonsense.

  9. Nonlin.org: Darwinists are not scientists.

    Correct. They are ideologues. But 1) they usually don’t admit this, 2) there aren’t actually very many ‘Darwinists’ out there anymore (despite what the DI says in their hysteria), & 3) those who still claim to be Darwinists, who are ‘practising scientists’ should be ashamed of claiming Darwinism for ‘good science.’

    Likewise, promoting ‘Intelligent Design’ the way the DI does isn’t ‘strictly scientific,’ but rather full of innuendo & propaganda, demonstrably so. The term ‘IDists’ is the appropriate alternative to ‘Darwinists’ to describe the DI’s leadership, who are also ideologues, of the activist variety.

    Do you openly acknowledge the existence of ideological IDists, Nonlin.org or do you avoid that reality? Are you an ideological IDist?

  10. Nonlin.org: then you must admit that “proofs of evolution” are fallacies.

    Proofs? As said, they aren’t doing deductions. The straw man is another fallacy you may have heard of but don’t quite understand.

  11. Nonlin.org: Your comedian skills are very iffy, but you’re surely a bullshit artist. Is that your career or are you just aspiring? Thanks for the entertainment.

    No idea what you’re at here except flinging insults. Well, I suppose that’s something to do if you don’t actually have anything of substance to say.

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