Retrodictions In Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True

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Predictions and Retrodictions In his novel, Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne describes two major sources of evidence for evolution. He said that testable predictions can be made from the theory of evolution and confirmed through biological research. He also claimed that retrodictions play a big part in supporting the theory of evolution. Retrodictions defined by Coyne is as follows: “facts and data that aren’t necessarily predicted by the theory of evolution.” Coyne is correct in saying that evolution has supporting evidence branching from predictions and retrodictions. The book On the Origin of Species, published in 1859 by Charles Darwin, first proposed the idea of evolution via natural selection. Darwin’s idea was that natural selection…show more content…
The word retrodictions can be broken up into two terms “retro” and “dictions”. The prefix “retro” means involving or related to the past. The second part of the word “dictions” related to ‘pre’dictions but in this case retrodictions are being discussed so it means predictions after the fact. Retrodictions use present theories to try to explain past events. They are necessary as evidence for evolution because it is a slow process and the theory can’t exactly be tested so it is explained with retrodictions. One of the retrodictions that is good evidence for evolution is vestigial features in organisms. According to Coyne, a vestigial structure is described as “a feature of a species that was an adaption in its ancestors, but has either lost its usefulness completely, or been coopted for new uses” (57). One very obvious vestigial feature is wings on a flightless bird. Without evolution, there is no saying why an intelligent designer would give an organism a feature it doesn’t need such as wings for a flightless bird. An intelligent designer would give these organisms other useful appendages other than wings since they aren’t used for flying. From an evolutionary perspective, the ancestors of flightless birds may have consumed too much energy from flying that they might’ve been wasting energy. This energy could be used for other things like survival and reproducing (fitness). Coyne suggested that
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