Back to: science_answers/

Last Updated: 4/3/08

Evolution Predictions

Introduction: We did a Google search to find some predictions of evolution. We found some and present them, and their sources, below. And we comment on them. It should be noted that many web sites readily admit that evolution is hard pressed to make exacting predictions because it is a random process or that one cannot predict how natural selection will actually select. We agree… until we get to genetics. Comparison of DNA has started, but is extremely complex and staggering in the amount of information to be analyzed. Meanwhile the action of DNA is being uncovered. Evolutonis made MANY assumptions regarding the operation and organization of DNA. If reality turns out to be different from the assumptions, evolution is in big trouble. Findings are starting to flow in and evolution is in BIG trouble (click to read).

Evolutionists like to say that intelligent design of life makes no predictions, is untestable and unfalsifiable. That fact is that it is evolution that is untestable (this requires repeatable, observable experiments). ID is REAL science. Evolutions is a religious belief. Here is a page that explains how to test and falsify Intelligent Design.

As you look at the examples below, they can be classified into two types of examples. 1) Natural Selection- Natural selection is observable today, is testable and falsifiable. Here is a complete explanation of natural selection and why it is good science. Evolution make the leap of faith that if natural selection is real, the it follows that dinosaurs can become birds. Wrong, as we will show. They give no example of one kind of creature becoming another. 2) The other examples are simply interpretation of fossils. Many fossils they have claimed are intermediates have been discovered to not be intermediate at all when the living creature is discovered.

Our words are in black.
Those from web sites supporting evolution are in blue. Item numbering is ours.


The difference in predictive power between evolution and other sciences is one of degree, not kind. All theories are simplifications; they purposely neglect as many outside variables as they can. But these extraneous variables do affect predictions. For example, you can predict the future position of an orbiting planet, but your prediction will be off very slightly because you cannot consider the effects of all the small bodies in the solar system. Evolution is more sensitive to initial conditions and extraneous factors, so specific predictions about what mutations will occur and what traits will survive are impractical. It is still possible to use evolution to make general predictions about the future, though. For example, we can predict that diseases will become resistant to any new widely used antibiotics.

The final sentence requires us to make a distinction here. Evolutionists have reduced the definition of evolution down to “change.” This simplification is designed to make the evolutionist correct anytime he states evolution has occurred. Nobody has ever contended that change does not happen. Edward Blyth, a young earth creationist, published a book on natural selection 25 years before Darwin had On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life printed. So, we need to make a distinction. Everyone agrees that natural section occurs. It is the kind of evolution that causes dinosaurs to turn into birds that is at issue. We agree with the paragraph but the last sentence needs clarification:
For example, we can predict that diseases will become resistant to any new widely used antibiotics.
Research has shown that the reason diseases become resistant is natural selection. In other words, the resistant form of the disease has always existed; we have simply removed their competition. The antibiotic kills the original germ, so that the weaker antibiotic-resistant germ can flourish. This is simple natural selection. It is not really a prediction of evolution because the researchers that developed antibiotics stated in their research that resistant strains already existed. Talkorigins has turned a known fact into a prediction in hindsight. Learn the details here.

The predictive power of science comes from being able to say things we would not have been able to say otherwise. These predictions do not have to be about things happening in the future. They can be "retrodictions" about things from the past that we have not found yet. Evolution allows innumerable predictions of this sort.

Evolution has been the basis of many predictions. For example:

1. Darwin predicted, based on homologies with African apes, that human ancestors arose in Africa. That prediction has been supported by fossil and genetic evidence (Ingman et al. 2000).
The fossil evidence is weak. Much of the evidence is ignored because it doesn't fit the fairy tale. Here are some sites that give details:
Here is an article that deals with supposed human ancestors out of order in the strata.
To see just how convoluted the assumptions of human evolution are, read this.
Assumed ages of supposed pre-humans dictates the results of Leakey's study.
Read why Homo Erectus is really fully human.
Supposed steps of pre-humans aren't steps at all as you will read here.
Note that modern evolutionists do not think we evolved from the apes, which is what Darwin was implying. Genetic evidence is just coming in. For example, in 2006, the New York Times had an article on how humans and chimpanzees had only a 1.75% difference in DNA. But then it was shown that the article only compared a very selected set of the DNA. The difference now is known to be closer to 8%+. A difference of 8% is equal to a difference of 10,000 pages of characters and all those changes had to become fixed in the genomes in a few million years. The difference to chimps is huge.

2. Theory predicted that organisms in heterogeneous and rapidly changing environments should have higher mutation rates. This has been found in the case of bacteria infecting the lungs of chronic cystic fibrosis patients (Oliver et al. 2000).
The author fails to mention that the mutation rate in all DNA of all creatures has been found to be very high. In fact, evolutionists predicted that the overall mutation rate must be less than one per person per generation in humans if humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. It has been found to be at least 300 (and possibly as high as 16,000) mutations per person per generation. That is one of the reasons that there are now over 4000 known human maladies caused by mutations (Nora, J. et al 1994). Does anyone think those diseases are the precursors of humans making the next evolutionary leap? Cystic Fibrosis, cancer and circulation problems are just a few of the 4000. What actually happens is that the amount of information in the DNA in the described situation becomes less.

3. Predator-prey dynamics are altered in predictable ways by evolution of the prey (Yoshida et al. 2003).
This is natural selection at work. No disagreement, but it has nothing to do with dinos becoming birds.

4. Ernst Mayr predicted in 1954 that speciation should be accompanied with faster genetic evolution. A phylogenetic analysis has supported this prediction (Webster et al. 2003).
We covered this in number 2 above.

5. Several authors predicted characteristics of the ancestor of craniates. On the basis of a detailed study, they found the fossil Haikouella "fit these predictions closely" (Mallatt and Chen 2003).
This does not mean the fossil is an ancestor of craniates. A platypus has a bill like a duck, but evolutionists don't claim it is an ancestor of ducks. Not mentioned are: 1) One fossil does not a transition series make. This is the equivalent of stating, “We now know that you can walk from the USA to China across the Pacific ocean because we have discovered Hawaii.” 2) Where are the thousands (millions?) of examples of the same nature as Darwin predicted?

6. Evolution predicts that different sets of character data should still give the same phylogenetic trees. This has been confirmed informally myriad times and quantitatively, with different protein sequences, by Penny et al. (1982).
Because a person can build a chart of similar characteristics does not mean one came from another. In protein sequences, the vote is out. Sometimes one protein can be found that substantiates the claim. Ignored is that the rest of the proteins of the organisms DON’T fit the sequence. They should all follow a similar sequence of change. They don’t. See examples here.

7. Insect wings evolved from gills, with an intermediate stage of skimming on the water surface. Since the primitive surface-skimming condition is widespread among stoneflies, J. H. Marden predicted that stoneflies would likely retain other primitive traits, too. This prediction led to the discovery in stoneflies of functional hemocyanin, used for oxygen transport in other arthropods but never before found in insects (Hagner-Holler et al. 2004; Marden 2005).
This is circular reasoning. First, what the author is trying to prove is given as a fact. Then this fact is used to prove the fact already given. There should be many residual traits, not just one if this is to exemplify their point. “Primitive traits” are a smokescreen used often by evolutionists. For example, the trilobite is supposed to be one of the most primitive of creatures, but it has one of the most highly developed eye structures. The two-lens eye system of the trilobite was used as the model for our most advanced x-ray telescope. How could one of the first and most primitive creatures have the most advanced eye system?

8. With predictions such as these and others, evolution can be, and has been, put to practical use in areas such as drug discovery and avoidance of resistant pests.
The practical use is of natural selection as described here. Dino to birds theory does nothing to advance medicine.

9. Darwin predicted that precursors to the trilobite would be found in pre-Silurian rocks. He was correct: they were subsequently found.
Evolutionists have found a creature which has some characteristics of the trilobite. That doesn’t make it a precursor to a trilobite. A platypus has a bill similar to a duck, but nobody says one is a precursor to the other.

10. Similarly, Darwin predicted that Precambrian fossils would be found. He wrote in 1859 that the total absence of fossils in Precambrian rock was "inexplicable" and that the lack might "be truly urged as a valid argument" against his theory. When such fossils were found, starting in 1953, it turned out that they had been abundant all along. They were just so small that it took a microscope to see them.
This is not a proof of evolution. All that is given here is that Darwin had a concern. Darwin also predicted that if large quantities of transitional fossils were not discovered by 1900, his theory would be in serious trouble. None were found (and still haven’t been found) which is why Darwin abandoned his own theory around 1900. This is one of many “predictions” the evolutionists forget to mention. We have lots more here.

11. There are two kinds of whales: those with teeth, and those that strain microscopic food out of seawater with baleen. It was predicted that a transitional whale must have once existed, which had both teeth and baleen. Such a fossil has since been found.
That does not mean it is transitional. See for an example of whales that don’t fit the expected sequence of visible characteristics based on their DNA.

Evolution predicts that we will find fossil series.
12. Evolution predicts that the fossil record will show different populations of creatures at different times. For example, it predicts we will never find fossils of trilobites with fossils of dinosaurs, since their geological time-lines don't overlap. The "Cretaceous seaway" deposits in Colorado and Wyoming contain almost 90 different kinds of ammonites, but no one has ever found two different kinds of ammonite together in the same rock bed.

That is because it is the fossils define a rock bed. In other words, evolution is used to define rock beds. Therefore we would never expect to find a problem. Noah’s flood also explains why we tend to not find trilobites with dinosaurs. We explain that here.

13. Evolution predicts that animals on distant islands will appear closely related to animals on the closest mainland, and that the older and more distant the island, the more distant the relationship.
No examples are given. But, what is being described is a function of natural selection. This is not evidence of dino to bird evolution.

14. Evolution predicts that features of living things will fit a hierarchical arrangement of relatedness. For example, arthropods all have chitinous exoskeleton, hemocoel, and jointed legs. Insects have all these plus head-thorax-abdomen body plan and 6 legs. Flies have all that plus two wings and halteres. Calypterate flies have all that plus a certain style of antennae, wing veins, and sutures on the face and back. You will never find the distinguishing features of calypterate flies on a non-fly, much less on a non-insect or non-arthropod.
Fords and Chevies all have tires. That doesn’t mean one came form the other. Again we have circular reasoning. By definition, an arthropod is a creature which has a chitinous exoskeleton, hemocoel and jointed legs. Therefore, we would expect any creature called an arthropod to have those characteristics. The fact that we can categorized things does not mean one came from the other.

15. Evolution predicts that simple, valuable features will evolve independently, and that when they do, they will most likely have differences not relevant to function. For example, the eyes of molluscs, arthropods, and vertebrates are extremely different, and ears can appear on any of at least ten different locations on different insects.
This is not a prediction. It simply is what is. But we must ask why it is that that EVERY creature that is alive today, when found in the fossil record, looks exactly like the creature in the fossil record. Supposed 200 million-year-old fossil cockroaches look exactly like cockroaches alive today. Why haven’t today’s cockroaches developed differences? Here’s another one. Which creature has an eye(s) most like the human eye? Horse, fish, fly, octopus? That’s right, the octopus. Why isn’t it the horse? Here is a page that illustrates direct contradictions (and falsifies) this important statement about a REQUIREMENT of evolution.

16. In 1837, a Creationist reported that during a pig's fetal development, part of the incipient jawbone detaches and becomes the little bones of the middle ear. After Evolution was invented, it was predicted that there would be a transitional fossil, of a reptile with a spare jaw joint right near its ear. A whole series of such fossils has since been found - the cynodont therapsids.
Has modern research shown the same? We couldn’t find any similar statement made in the past 100 years. They are stretching things here. Where is the transition that shows those joints became an ear? There aren’t any.

17. It was predicted that humans must have an intermaxillary bone, since other mammals do. The adult human skull consists of bones that have fused together, so you can't tell one way or the other in an adult. An examination of human embryonic development showed that an intermaxillary bone is one of the things that fuses to become your upper jaw.
An intelligent designer would use the same techniques in like creatures. We have lots of characteristics that other mammals have. A heart, lungs, etc. We fail to see how this is an argument for dino to bird style evolution.

18. From my junk DNA example I predict that three specific DNA patterns will be found at 9 specific places in the genome of white-tailed deer, but none of the three patterns will be found anywhere in the spider monkey genome.
What? So what? In the past few months (9-7-07 today) it has been discovered that at least 97% of DNA is active in the human cell. There is no such thing as junk DNA. Traditionally, “junk’ is what evolutionists have called anything they don’t understand. 100 years ago, humans had 100 “junk” organs left over from evolution, most of which we now know are necessary for you to be alive 5 minutes from now.

19. In 1861, the first Archaeopteryx fossil was found. It was clearly a primitive bird with reptilian features. But, the fossil's head was very badly preserved. In 1872 Ichthyornis and Hesperornis were found. Both were clearly seabirds, but to everyone's astonishment, both had teeth. It was predicted that if we found a better-preserved Archaeopteryx, it too would have teeth. In 1877, a second Archaeopteryx was found, and the prediction turned out to be correct.
Paleontologists (scientist who study fossils) like to say that Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil. But bird experts disagree. Dr. Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an evolutionist himself, says:
“Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.”

20. Almost all animals make Vitamin C inside their bodies. It was predicted that humans are descended from creatures that could do this, and that we had lost this ability. (There was a loss-of-function mutation, which didn't matter because our high-fruit diet was rich in Vitamin C.) When human DNA was studied, scientists found a gene which is just like the Vitamin C gene in dogs and cats. However, our copy has been turned off.
Exactly. Mutations are a loss of information and/or degradation of the adaptability of the species resulting in less chance of survival. Thus, the fossil record is a record of extinction as 2/3 of all species that have ever lived are extinct.

21. In "The Origin Of Species" (1859), Darwin said:
"If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection." This challenge has not been met. In the ensuing 140 years, no such thing has been found. Plants give away nectar and fruit, but they get something in return. Taking care of other members of one's own species (kin selection) doesn't count, so ants and bees (and mammalian milk) don't count.
A negative does not support the argument of a positive. Darwin could have said, “If we find advanced life on the moon, my theory is annihilated.” We didn’t find any life on the moon. Would that make his theory true? No. It is irrelevant.

22. Darwin pointed out that the Madagascar Star orchid has a spur 30 centimeters (about a foot) long, with a puddle of nectar at the bottom. Now, evolution says that nectar isn't free. Creatures that drink it pay for it, by carrying pollen away to another orchid. For that to happen, the creature must rub against the top of the spur. So, Darwin concluded that the spur had evolved its length as an arms race. Some creature had a way to reach deeply without shoving itself hard against the pollen-producing parts. Orchids with longer spurs would be more likely to spread their pollen, so Darwin's gradualistic scenario applied. The spur would evolve to be longer and longer. From the huge size, the creature must have evolved in return, reaching deeper and deeper. So, he predicted in 1862 that Madagascar has a species of hawkmoth with a tongue just slightly shorter than 30 cm. The creature that pollinated that orchid was not learned until 1902, forty years later. It was indeed a moth, and it had a 25 cm tongue. And in 1988 it was proven that moth-pollinated short-spurred orchids did set less seed than long ones.
This is natural selection, not dinos to birds. And where are the transitional fossils that show the tongue increased in length or that the spur increased in depth? There are none. What we find is design. The plant and the bird work in harmony as created from the beginning.

23. A thousand years ago, just about every remote island on the planet had a species of flightless bird. Evolution explains this by saying that flying creatures are particularly able to establish themselves on remote islands. Some birds, living in a safe place where there is no need to make sudden escapes, will take the opportunity to give up on flying. Hence, Evolution predicts that each flightless bird species arose on the island that it was found on. So, Evolution predicts that no two islands would have the same species of flightless bird. Now that all the world's islands have been visited, we know that this was a correct prediction.
This is natural selection at work. Note the birds have lost an ability, they have not turned into a different creature. Also, the way species are named requires that two birds that are the same should be assigned different species names if they live on different islands. The author has used a human-created naming convention as his proof of evolution.

24. The "same" protein in two related species is usually slightly different. A protein is made from a sequence of amino acids, and the two species have slightly different sequences. We can measure the sequences of many species, and cladistics has a mathematical procedure which tells us if these many sequences imply one common ancestral sequence. Evolution predicts that these species are all descended from a common ancestral species, and that the ancestral species used the ancestral sequence. This has been done for pancreatic ribonuclease in ruminants. (Cows, sheep, goats, deer and giraffes are ruminants.) Measurements were made on various ruminants. An ancestral sequence was computed, and protein molecules with that sequence were manufactured. When sequences are chosen at random, we usually wind up with a useless goo. However, the manufactured molecules were biologically active substances. Furthermore, they did exactly what a pancreatic ribonuclease is supposed to do - namely, digest ribonucleic acids.
This idea is absolutely essential to evolution. DNA must show a sequence of mutation. If the sequences of two different proteins give a different sequence of occurrence, then evolution is falsified. For example if the protein cited above showed a sequence of cow, sheep, goats, deer, giraffe, and another protein showed a sequence of sheep, goats, cow, deer, giraffe, then evolution is falsified. Click here for several examples that falsify evolution! The part about random sequences resulting in goo is an argument FOR Intelligent Design.

An animal's bones contain oxygen atoms from the water it drank while growing. And, fresh water and salt water can be told apart by their slightly different mixture of oxygen isotopes. (This is because fresh water comes from water that evaporated out of the ocean. Lighter atoms evaporate more easily than heavy ones do, so fresh water has fewer of the heavy atoms.) Therefore, it should be possible to analyze an aquatic creature's bones, and tell whether it grew up in fresh water or in the ocean. This has been done, and it worked. We can distinguish the bones of river dolphins from the bones of killer whales.

25. Now for the prediction. We have fossils of various early whales. Since whales are mammals, evolution predicts that they evolved from land animals. And, the very earliest of those whales would have lived in fresh water, while they were evolving their aquatic skills. Therefore, the oxygen isotope ratios in their fossils should be like the isotope ratios in modern river dolphins. It's been measured, and the prediction was correct. The two oldest species in the fossil record - Pakicetus and Ambulocetus - lived in fresh water. Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus and the others all lived in salt water. The point is not that these prove evolution right. The point is that these were predictions that could have turned out to be wrong predictions. So, the people who made the predictions were doing science. The Theory of Evolution was also useful, in the sense that it suggested what evidence to look for, and where.
There are plenty of predictions that have turned out to be wrong. Those are ignored by evolutionists. Randomness allows them to get an occasional thing right. But, falsification is a tricky thing. In logic, it only takes ONE hard fact to falsify something. Here are some hard facts that we think falsify evolution.