Whether or not Megalodon lives or is indeed extinct, Darwinism is NOT a Natural Science. The whole point of evolutionary science is different than that of the natural or experimental sciences. Evolutionary science, like the theory of man-made climate change (see Part I), seeks to explain singular natural occurrence while the natural sciences seek to explain constantly recurring natural phenomenon. Without saying whether evolution is right or if it only an extinct relic of a dying culture, it is plain from thinking about science, that the point of experimental sciences and evolutionary sciences are different. This is a gentle way of saying that evolution not a science. If evolution or neo-Darwinism is fundamentally not like experimental sciences, it’s findings can’t be what we commonly call scientific.
Despite trying to claim Mendel’s law as its province, evolution really doesn’t try to explain constantly recurring processes. This is all the natural sciences, or experimental sciences care about, but evolution wants little to do with the recurring phenomenon studied in experimental sciences. Evolution may rely on naturally repeating processes as evidence for its conclusions, but that’s just the point. Evolution is always trying to take another step past the findings of the natural sciences. In so doing, its conclusions are always beyond the sphere of the experimental sciences. In other words, evolution’s conclusions, cannot be scientific.
Evolution’s primary purposes are to answer some of the same questions that philosophy must answer in order to accomplish philosophy’s object of explaining man’s identity and his relationship to the world. That’s why, since evolutionary science shares many of the same goals, claims, and challenges as philosophy, and since evolution is clearly separate from the natural sciences, evolutionary science should be considered a branch of philosophy. Evolution should be part of the departments of philosophy, and not of science.
Because the aims, goals, or purposes of evolutionary science are different from those of the natural sciences, the knowledge claims or conclusions of evolutionary science must also be different in quality.
While evolutionary scientists seek to explain what really did or what really did not happen, the natural sciences’ only value is in explaining what will happen based on what is happening. As in the discussion of any historic event, evolutionary biologists seek to establish a truth value for their conclusions or claims while a natural science’s value is only in the accuracy and precision of the description of changes in natural processes. While, yes, it is important that the chemist establish that two parts hydrogen and two parts oxygen really did combine to form water at a certain time or place according to a certain ratio; scientifically, what really happened that day is constantly on the laboratory table. The scientific reality behind what happened on a certain day when a certain scientist combined two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen and got water is what the natural scientist is all about. These two branches of science differ in this regard as much as the natural sciences differ from the study of human actions historic and present (see Part I). In the study of human actions historic and present, just like in the study of “evolutionary events,” what really did happen is all that matters. A human did or did not make a choice that did or did not have a direct effect.
In the nature of its goals, challenges, and conclusions, evolutionary science is somewhere between the natural sciences and the study of humans actions. Like the study of human actions, the truth value of what did or did not happen is of supreme importance to the evolutionary scientist. Like the study of human actions, the focus of the evolutionary scientist is on singular, unique, one-time occurrences in the past; specifically, the origins of each modern species. The events of these origins either really did or really did not happen. On the other hand, like a natural scientist, the evolutionary scientist seeks ongoing evolutionary processes as causes leading to the origin of the species. Like the natural scientist, evolutionary science may continually revise its hypotheses as ongoing genetic phenomena are more fully understood. To the extent that evolutionary scientists do not seek ongoing processes to explain the origins of the species, but rely only on the fossil record, they are in a position regarding certainty as difficult as geologists who study prehistory.
However, unlike the study of human actions, the evolutionary scientist has no words of testimony to evaluate and, unlike the natural scientist, observing recurring phenomena is the smallest part of his science. While there are ongoing processes that he may seek and refine as causes or explanations, the fundamentals of the theory of evolution itself preclude the study of recurring phenomenon. For instance, each evolution, even within a species, according to evolutionary assumptions, occurs by chance. Hence, these cannot recur. Likewise, evolutionary scientists, by the precepts of their discipline itself, can make no predictions of future events by which they might test their axioms. Stranded between these two fields of human study, evolutionary science has not the comfort of the certainty found either in the study of human actions or in the natural sciences. What then is the fitting description for this discipline?
It ought to seem strangely vexing to evolutionary science to be thus uncertain while eternally wed to that branch of the natural sciences endowed with, in many respects, the highest degree of certainty; for the idea of evolutionary forces cannot be extricated from the study of living organisms, from biology. In many regards biology is the spoiled darling of the natural sciences, for she reveals absolutely indisputable causes and effects. Sight is the result of the eye, circulation of the heart, breath of the lungs, and hearing of the ear. The more biologists study, the more perfect the causal connections woven into living creatures prove themselves to be, for the human body is plainly a machine of almost unimaginable complexity and perfection. In physics scientists must speculate that the world is mechanical and that there are absolute physical laws by which everything can be explained. In chemistry too, the causes must be supplied by a philosophical faith in the orderliness of the universe; but in biology, in the study of living creatures, design screams from every cell via an intricacy that transcends human language.
From such wonders springs philosophy. While natural scientists surely pause in their work and marvel at what they’ve learned, and while such marvels must surely inspire them to further research, the goal of the natural sciences has nothing to do with the wonders they behold. Their field seeks certainty by accurately describing repeating phenomena and predicting their recurrence. Likewise, even if the inspiration to study evolution springs from the remarkable diversity of living things past and present, evolutionary science would claim that an accurate knowledge of the origins modern species is its only goal. While philosophy seeks the meaning of the cosmos, evolutionary theory, like the natural sciences, seeks the definition of this world. However, like philosophy, evolutionary science, seeks to identify what really did or did not happen in a past about which other people can tell us nothing. Philosophy wants these answers as part of understanding the nature of man and his relationship to the natural world. Hence, while the ultimate aims are different in philosophy and evolutionary science, both fields must, in part, cover the same ground. Hence, as is also the case with philosophy, evolutionary science must rely primarily on what evidence suggests. Philosophy and evolutionary science each have only circumstantial cases for their conclusions. The natural sciences, on the other hand, are forever producing the eye witness testimony of their causes or culprits for everyone to see. Even modern trials with video evidence lack the certainty of the natural sciences. Philosophy and evolutionary science would both be thrilled to produce a smoking gun, but the natural sciences reproduce the actual crime in minute, painstakingly slow motion detail for every jury they ever face.
The interest in tales of a Megalodon still living today is an example of how much people love imagining things that no human eye has ever seen. But this isn’t the field of the natural sciences, it is the field of philosophy and of philosophical science. It’s not that there isn’t a science to reconstructing how a Megalodon would appear. There may even be natural sciences involved in reconstructing such a creature realistically. However, ultimately, the natural sciences do not care, nor can they show with their usual certainty, whether or not we’ve gotten the recreation correct.
Again, both philosophers and evolutionary scientists must study things about which no other people can inform us, and they must form conclusions about events that do not recur. Although we tend to think of philosophers as old Greek guys in togas, those old Greek guys based much of their conjecture on the science, such as it was, of their times. Today, like evolutionary scientists, philosophers may generalize the universe based on modern scientific discoveries (see Clarke’s discussion of Liebniz).
Based then on the clear, clear differences between evolutionary science and the natural sciences, and recognizing philosophy as the branch of study most similar to evolutionary science in object, truth claims, and in their challenges to certainty, it seems reasonable to put evolutionary science into a group of sciences most properly call the “philosophic sciences.” While some, including Jay Gould himself, who recognize many of these differences in the fields of science enumerated above, call these fields “historical sciences,” this categorization is really a misnomer, for it is far too euphemistic. Many elements of historical sciences can abide within the safety of the realm of having human eye witnesses who have left written testimony; however, so called historical sciences are really after subjects about which no human testimony exists. Calling evolutionary science and elements of paleontology, astronomy, and geology that fall into these categories merely “historical” sciences does the challenge and significance of their fields little justice. On the other hand, these key distinctions of which Gould and others whisper in their symposiums or delineate in their personal publications, should be broadcast with every new discovery and pounded into high school textbooks everywhere. The sciences that have changed the Western world are the natural sciences NOT the philosophic ones.