What can we prove about evolution


And I mean with a 100% accuracy

(Christy Hemphill) #2

Hi, Welcome to the forum. Your question is kind of general and kind of loaded. Maybe you could elaborate a little bit so you get more helpful, productive responses. Is there a particular aspect of evolutionary theory you want to examine the support for? Do you want to know more about how scientific models become accepted theories? What exactly do you mean by “prove with 100% accuracy”?


Science doesn’t deal with proofs. What scientists do is gather evidence and make inferences to the best explanation. With evolution the evidence is pretty overwhelming.

(GJDS) #4

The entire scientific enterprise is grounded on proofs - we begin with mathematical proofs and theorems; we can progress to chemistry and physics, here all thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, bonding theory, and on and on it goes, have been proven - by this I mean quantification of equations that can provide calculated values, and these agree with experimental values, especially in thermodynamics. I can go on to show a distinction between actual theory and proof, and then include discussions of the philosophy of science, which asks more general questions and seeks to extend some theories, and question others. This means that some of science can broadly be understood as settled or proven, and some as leading edge where speculation becomes the norm.

Whatever version of evolutionary thinking is discussed, we always run into a brick wall, because it is semantic based with observations brought into the discussion as support. That is why it is still controversial. Modelling is one of many tools that scientists use to examine their thinking. It is in this area that evolution at times give positive outcomes (the model seems to work) and also negative ones, Models are inevitably used with arrange of assumptions - thus they cannot be regarded as proof or verification of any theory.


No, I believe that science does not deal with proofs. Proofs are for mathematics. Theories are at the heart of science. All of science is tentative and can be overturned if a better explanation turns up. But just to be sure, I will check with Denis Lamoureux.

(GJDS) #6

This has to be one of the oddest comments I have yet seen on this site. Are you suggesting that maths is not part of science? Or can you let me know why we cannot prove chemical bonds (or perhaps show that chemical bonds are tentative??!!) - or these will be overturned by a better chemical bond? To paraphrase a favourite saying amongst evolutionists, if you show the tentative nature of the quantified, core aspects, of the sciences, prepare to receive every Nobel Prize for the next 100 years.

It would be good if some on this site had a rudimentary understanding of the Philosophy of Science.


I heard back from Denis Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD
He’s the Associate Professor of Science & Religion
St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta

I asked him,
> Please confirm that science does not deal with proofs.

He replied,

> The terminology creates a lot of problem.
> Proof carries the strength of a mathematical proof.
> So, science really doesn’t deal with proofs.
> Make sense?
> d

Denis O. Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD
Associate Professor of Science & Religion
St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta

(George Brooks) #8

We can PROVE that if land-based Elephants, and Hippos, and T-Rex’s and Brontosaurus … and
marine-based Whales, and Plesiosaurs… if they all died together … would have had TWO possible patterns of fossil dispersal:

  1. Elephant and Brontosaurus fossils buried underneath the fossils of Whales and Pleisosaurs.


  1. All the bones of all four types mixed together.

BUT . . . nowhere do we find this pattern. In fact, the GLOBAL pattern is that no large mammal bones are found anywhere with dinosaur bones … neither Whales or Elephants … and always ABOVE dinosaur bones. This is a result that could NEVER have been PREDICTED by a Young earth Creationist.


(GJDS) #9

I would be happy if Dennis Lamourex would elaborate - the demarcation he suggest between maths and the physical sciences is a formality that scientists accept, just as we have demarcations between physics and chemistry. Thus formal logic and mathematical theorems can be discussed within this notion of proof, as an unbreakable aspect of a mathematical proof.

The facts however, show that maths is an integral part, and an essential part of the physical sciences, and we require a philosophical discussion to elucidate the formalities and notion of formal proofs, as opposed to verified (and falsified) theories of physics and chemistry.

Thus, in the context you gave regarding overwhelming evidence for evolution, and 100% proof, such terminology is misleading at best and odd at worst. For example, the length of a particular chemical bond can be calculated for a chosen molecule, to three decimal places, and can be measured to perhaps greater accuracy. This, in the context of this discussion, is a proof of that aspect of science - the maths that has provided this result, and verified experimentally, can be considered as proven,

If Denis Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD disagrees with this, I would be happy to debate the matter with him.

It is in this context that your naïve statements about evolution and evidence are misleading, as you imply that observations in evolutionary work have the same status as proven aspects of the physical sciences.

(Matthew) #10


My personal opinion is that generally ‘proof’ can mean different things to different people at different times. I have often had people suggest that I cannot prove that God exists. Scientifically, this might be true, but the proof I have is enough for me. There are many areas in science (including maths) that can be shown to be true beyond reasonable doubt. But there will always be those that choose to disbelieve it - for instance, those who do not believe in a physical existence at all. And there are areas in science that we are not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt. Some will take them as so certain as to be ‘proof’ while others will continue to be uncertain at best. So the term ‘proof’ (often just like the term ‘fact’) can be quite a flexible and personal thing - whether or not it should.


My ID Challenge
(Dcscccc) #11

i dont think so. i think that we indeed can prove that god exist. for example: we know that something complex like a motor need a designer. we found such a motor in nature called bacterial flagellum. so we know that nature made by designer. even if its small and have a self replicating system.
see also this article:


(GJDS) #12

Perhaps one way to illustrate the difference I have tried to show in these exchanges (between what aspects of science may be considered as proven) is the following quote from: “Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology” by Denis Noble, in Experimental Physiology, 31 march 2013; “Evolutionary theory itself is already in a state of flux (Jablonka and Lamb 2005; Noble 2006; Beurton, Falk et al. 2008; Pigliucci and Müller 2010; Gissis and Jablonka 2011; Noble 2011; Shapiro 2011). In this article, I will show that all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproven. Moreover, they have been disproven in ways that raise the tantalising prospect of a totally new synthesis: one that would allow a re-integration of physiological science with evolutionary biology.”

I would regard such language as “loose” since if something in science has been proven, it is unlikely to be subsequently disproven. It would be correct to say, instead, that much of the current evolutionary theory(s) have been shown to be inadequate and biologists are currently debating ways that may provide a more adequate theory for their work.


Certainly math is vital in the sciences. But still, science doesn’t try to prove anything. Theories can be overturned.

(Matthew) #14

In general I would agree with you. And there are many other examples. However, there are many people who would disagree with the idea that this is ‘proof’. If we are so determined that our own worldview is correct, we can, even subconsciously, overlook obvious evidences. Take a look at the atheistic evolutionary world view written up in the Wikipedia page on the flagellum. Let’s just say, further proof may be needed.


(Matthew) #15

Absolutely agree.


Yes, God is very good at finding ways to sicken us. And the poor, the weak, the very young and the very old suffer the most.


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I don’t believe that God deliberately creates things that are especially harmful to the most vulnerable.

(sy_garte) #19

While unlike Denis, I only have one Ph.D. I agree with him. (as I usually do). In science disproof is not that hard, while proof is very rare. It isnt hard to disprove a hypothesis. So neo Darwinism (if defined as the theory that all evolutionary changes result from the slow accumulation of random point mutations in coding genes) can be disproven, as Noble claims, if we find instances where that is not the case.

However proving any theory is very difficult and takes a lot of time. Chemical bonds are a poor example, because they are a fact, not a theory. On the other hand the molecular orbital theory of chemical bonds was quite controversial for a long time, before it was accepted. And, like all theories it has undergone continuous improvement. The same is true for evolution. It is 100% true, but the details are not complete. When they are, and when enough time has gone by to allow for alternative theories to be tested (there are none at the moment, at least no scientific ones) then it will be proven.


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