# 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

https://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Wisdom-Literature-Joseph-Koterski/dp/1598035258

http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

## 820 thoughts on “Evolution affirms the Consequent”

1. phoodoo: I think it is just coincidence that the only rule violation you found is against the one guy who is making you look the most stupid.

phoodoo, folks –
Thursday, veal, waitress.

2. [penultimate sentence deleted]

phoodoo: Wait a second, I think I see what you are doing. You are trying to get Jock to warn nonlin again.

Showing off that my conclusion was right?

Nonlin has never been respectful to anybody. Take an honest look, if you know what honest means that is.

My comments have been guanoed quite a bit in the past, and I actually don’t complain. I’m guessing that the constant complaining from others is what has stoped admins these days, but, were they to guano comments again, I’d still tell you exactly what you show yourself to be, an idiot, and would not complain if the comment was guanoed.

3. Allan Miller: Prejudiced how? It is a possible cause of the pattern observed. “It might be something else” is not a particularly effective rebuttal of this possible cause – particularly given your first shots from your bag of 1000 alternatives.

You asked for one alternative and got two. Understandably, you are not happy with either and won’t be happy with the remaining 998. Instead, you jump to your preferred interpretation. That’s called prejudice.

As seen elsewhere, “evolution” is a physical impossibility, so you don’t even have an explanation, let alone an “inference to the best explanation”. I realize, this is wasted virtual ink on you.

Allan Miller: Huh? Your counterargument requires dependence, otherwise you have no counterargument. You can’t provide a reason why correlation should exist, if common descent is not the cause.

Nope. Shutting down something is not same as building something else. Logic 101 escapes you bigly.

Allan Miller: Yeah, ‘read a thread’, ‘read a blog’. Not much cop at actual debate, are you?

This is irrelevant to the point I made. There is no reason to assume part-dependence in Design, in the manner we find in genomes. The font used on a blueprint would not be expected to vary alongside the form of the thing being blueprinted, for example.

Then it’s settled: you’re not a designer, don’t understand how design works and use the wrong analogy.

4. Flint: (As a footnote, the debates within science are always at the margin, the bleeding edge of what is being discovered. As theories and tools become more appropriate, reality becomes increasingly clear and scientific disputes resolve. Contrast with religious disputes. There being no reality to use as arbiter, no tools to use to examine it, religious disputes are resolved either with force (agree I’m right or I expel you) or schism.

Then you agree “evolution” is a religion?

phoodoo: Wait a second, I think I see what you are doing. You are trying to get Jock to warn nonlin again.

I would simply ignore entropy and a few other stooges.

Corneel: Nonlin openly accused Allan of lying, which was a bit too obvious breaking of the rules.

I would gladly withdraw that conclusion, would Allan demonstrate otherwise.

5. OMagain: Are there any lurkers out there that agree with phoodoo on this? Who looks like the crazy person, phoodoo or his interlocutors?

I do. His interlocutors. Can we also vote on “evolution is true”? How about “global cooling/warming something something”? US citizens only? OK, “undocumented” aliens too.

Corneel: TBH, looking back into thread, comparing debating styles between Allan and Nonlin, I suspect it is Nonlin that is getting most leeway in that respect.

Sorry to anyone offended. However, these discussions on styles won’t solve the original argument. Don’t you want to focus on what matters instead? Like “evolution” is such a physical impossibility that there is no need whatsoever to attack the opponent.

DNA_Jock: Every IDist I have observed to date is either unwilling or unable to accurately summarize their interlocutors’ argument.

Because the “argument” is generally incoherent.

6. Nonlin.org: You asked for one alternative and got two.

He got none. First you denied the pattern existed (“it’s illusory”), then you merely repeated what the pattern is. Those are not explanations.

Nonlin.org: Sorry to anyone offended. However, these discussions on styles won’t solve the original argument. Don’t you want to focus on what matters instead?

No one’s offended. I just have my doubt that you are going to “solve the argument” by trying to insult your opponent and accusing him of lying. Not a very constructive way of discussing IMHO.

7. Corneel: I just have my doubt that you are going to “solve the argument” by trying to insult your opponent and accusing him of lying.

A line that I believe you have never ever once said to an atheist brother of yours, unfortunately.

Skeptics are a unified church.

8. phoodoo: A line that I believe you have never ever once said to an atheist brother of yours, unfortunately.

I haven’t been saying that line to many people at all. The only recollection I have of ever advising someone to temper their comments a bit is to good Brother Entropy.

So why did you rush to the defense of poor innocent Nonlin? You’d have done the same for anyone else, I trust?

9. Entropy: You’re just selectively blind.

What I see is a difference in orientation. To someone like nonlin, everything is a church, because Belief is the only way reality can come true. You belong to the Church of Science if you Believe in science, you become an evolutionist if you Believe in evolution.

Moving right along, a church becomes unified if the entire congregation Believes alike. Christianity has split into tens of thousands of sects differing on one or more details which, being operationally undefined and untestable, cannot be resolved. Contrast with science, which is much more of a unified church because eventually every aspect of reality becomes well enough observed to lead to agreement. Science has reality as the final court, religions can only attack the outsider (other faiths or none) with Belief.

As the old saw has it, one can be probably correct or one can be absolutely certain, but one cannot be both. And it’s inherent in True Belief that one is absolutely certain. Nonlin has no doubts.

10. Flint: To someone like nonlin, everything is a church, because Belief is the only way reality can come true. You belong to the Church of Science if you Believe in science, you become an evolutionist if you Believe in evolution.

Why speculate blindly and make a mess, when you can see exactly how it works: http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/ ?

Flint: Contrast with science, which is much more of a unified church because eventually every aspect of reality becomes well enough observed to lead to agreement.

Only “evolution” is – like astrology and alchemy – a pseudoscience. That’s the point of this and most other essays.

11. DNA_Jock:
Enough, nonlin.

What exactly didn’t you like? The part about lying? Anything else?

Nonlin.org on September 5, 2019 at 3:02 pm said:
Corneel: First you denied the pattern existed (“it’s illusory”), then you merely repeated what the pattern is. Those are not explanations.

“Illusory pattern” is visible, but caused by random events. This is ALWAYS a possibility in science. Denying is something else. Explaining the basics has gotten old, very old.
“Something common” is in itself a vast set of possible explanations. It could be animal size, brain size, lifespan, strength, speed, skin area, etc. etc. These and many others DO separate big cats from small cats/primates. I just counted them as one. Did I mention: “Explaining the basics has gotten old, very old”?

Honestly, do you really think a random anecdote like this will save Darwinism? Wow!

Corneel: No one’s offended. I just have my doubt that you are going to “solve the argument” by trying to insult your opponent and accusing him of lying.

I just said: “not trying to insult”. XXXXXXXXX-censored-XXXXXXXXX. Then again, what’s up with deterministic meat machines, etc. and so many sensibilities.

12. Nonlin.org: Honestly, do you really think a random anecdote like this will save Darwinism?

Caveat that I haven’t followed this thread but evolutionary theory has moved on since Darwin’s time. Darwin (and Wallace) came up with the idea of “natural selection”. He didn’t know about genes, he didn’t know about sources of variation, he didn’t know how to explain speciation.

You might want to look at developments since Darwin: genetics, evo-devo, molecular phylogenetics and so on, and sharpen your attack a bit on the current target.

13. Nonlin.org: “Illusory pattern” is visible, but caused by random events.

English may not be my first language, but I am pretty sure that “illusory” does not translate as “caused by random events”. Even if it did, “it is caused by random events” is not an explanation. You need to be a lot more explicit about what you mean by that.

Nonlin.org: “Something common” is in itself a vast set of possible explanations. It could be animal size, brain size, lifespan, strength, speed, skin area, etc. etc. These and many others DO separate big cats from small cats/primates.

No, it cannot be a vast set of possible explanations. All of those traits you mention separate big cats from thousands of other small animals as well. But your claim that common morphology is dictated by common genetics requires that the trait associated with the endogenous retrovirus is something exclusively shared by those groups that carry it.

Nonlin.org: Honestly, do you really think a random anecdote like this will save Darwinism? Wow!

Oh goodness, no. The thing you call “Darwinism” doesn’t need me saving it. My more modest goal is to make you realize that your claim that a match between genetics and morphology is the default expectation is only warranted for sequence variation that has an effect on morphology.

14. Alan Fox: Caveat that I haven’t followed this thread but evolutionary theory has moved on since Darwin’s time

Then you should first follow the thread. If by “moved on” you mean scrambled to find alternatives to all failed claims, then you are right. Rejoice! This thread is addressing all recent “proof of evolution” claims as well.

15. Corneel: English may not be my first language, but I am pretty sure that “illusory” does not translate as “caused by random events”. Even if it did, “it is caused by random events” is not an explanation. You need to be a lot more explicit about what you mean by that.

It’s the Null hypothesis. Don’t say you didn’t know that.

Corneel: But your claim that common morphology is dictated by common genetics

Not my claim. “Correlated” is not “dictated”.

Corneel: My more modest goal is to make you realize that your claim that a match between genetics and morphology is the default expectation is only warranted for sequence variation that has an effect on morphology.

You’re trying, but your arguments are illogical. Genes are always extracted from some organism. As such they will, do, and are expected to do match said organism simply due to their common origin whatever that might be.

And once again, your argument DEPENDS on independence, a silly assumption you just can’t ever hope to prove. And since it is your argument, the burden of proof is on you (burden of disproof is NOT on me). Why do Darwinistas have such a hard time with this logic?

Like all other “profs of evolution”, this one “affirms the consequent” hence it fails. And we have’t even got to “if and only if”. Of course – what makes this special compared with all other examples of “proofs” cited? Nothing!

16. Nonlin.org: It’s the Null hypothesis.

Be explicit what you mean by THE null hypothesis. Something like: “The observed pattern arose from chance random arrangements of nucleotide sequences in the genomes of the tested organisms”.

Nonlin.org: Not my claim. “Correlated” is not “dictated”.
[…]
Genes are always extracted from some organism. As such they will, do, and are expected to do match said organism simply due to their common origin whatever that might be.

You keep issuing vague claims, but I really need you to state explicitly an example of that “common origin”. What is the cause of the correlation, if not a causal association between the two?