From Jerry Coyne, “Evolution-of-the-Gaps” and Other Fallacies

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In Chapter 3 of his book, Coyne turns his attention to the argument from suboptimal design. Whereas the “god-of-the-gaps” fallacy states that “evolution can’t explain this; therefore god must have done it,” Coyne’s argument in this chapter commits a converse “evolution-of-the-gaps” fallacy: “God wouldn’t have done it that way; therefore evolution must have done it.” It is curious that this dichotomous mode of thinking is precisely what Darwinists like Coyne so often like to accuse ID proponents of. Much like “god-of-the-gaps” arguments, the “evolution-of-the-gaps” argument has to retreat with advances in scientific knowledge, as biologists uncover important reasons for the way these features have been designed. Furthermore, a common critique of ID is that it is unscientific because it isn’t falsifiable. But, in this chapter, Coyne purports to have falsified the design hypothesis. One cannot have it both ways — either ID is falsifiable or it isn’t. By offering a critique of design as a hypothesis, Coyne implies that ID is falsifiable, and therefore that it is scientific by that criterion.

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