Faith & Science
Is Evolution Falsifiable? Doug Axe Versus Biochemist Keith Fox on Premier Radio
In the U.S., we don’t have anything quite like the U.K. talk show Unbelievable? with host Justin Brierley. Over the course of a little more than an hour on Premier Radio, Brierley conducts a dual interview with proponents of competing views. While clearly identifying himself as a Christian, he turns a polite skepticism on both guests so that you really feel you’re drilling down to the core issue on which they disagree, rather than being distracted by peripherals.
In the past Brierley has led Stephen Meyer and UC Berkley paleontologist Charles Marshall through an enlightening debate. On other episodes he has hosted ENV‘s Jonathan M. versus thoughtful atheist Cory Markum, and our colleague Richard Weikart versus bioethicist Peter Singer. On a recent program he invited Biologic Institute’s Douglas Axe, author of Undeniable, for a discussion of protein evolution with biochemist Keith Fox. Listen to it here.
Fox, who teaches at the University of Southampton, is a BioLogos-style theistic evolutionist. Brierley does a great job of illuminating the scientific issues (theological ones too) separating Fox and Axe. It’s a remarkably substantive as well as calm and respectful conversation. To his credit, from question to question, you can never quite tell what side Brierley himself comes down on.
A telling challenge he gives to Dr. Fox, however, is whether as an evolutionist he can imagine any evidence of ID that would convince him to give up his commitment to unguided Darwinian processes as explaining the history of life. “Part of me wonders, is there any level of complexity of which one could say, ‘OK, Doug, you’ve got a point. This does look designed now.’ Or is design just never going to be an option no matter how much things look incredibly like the math’s against their ever developing in that way?”
In other words, is evolution falsifiable? Or as Dr. Axe puts it, “Is it possible to use science to show that something can’t happen? I would say yes.” “Can’t happen,” in other words, never happen. Fox’s reply, in brief: “Never say never, as they say.” That’s a telling response in a fascinating conversation.