What would you need to find (what sort of evidence) in order to disprove the theory of evolution (or at least detract from it)?

The theory of evolution by natural selection is sometimes claimed to be an unfalsifiable theory, since it appears that no matter what fossil evidence we uncover, a 'just so' evolutionary story could be told to fit it. However, this simple-minded position seems to wrong. There does appear to be plenty of that evidence could tell against the theory if that evidence were discovered. For example, if the age of the earth were discovered to be much shorter than is required for evolution by natural selection to operate (say, a few thousand years), then that would be good reason to reject the theory. Fortunately, we have every reason to think that the earth is old enough for evolution by natural selection to have operated, and so no reason to reject the theory.

I studied languages, not philosophy, the reason being that I was afraid I would have to study intensely old philosophers and this would influence my own thinking. This was very wise, I think, and now, thirty years on, I think I have developed my own view. Now I would like to see if there are others who think along the same lines. What I try to do is view myself and the rest of us the way humans look at other animals and see the similarities. I consider evolution to be the only driving force in life and therefore our self-consciousness and intelligence to be evolutionary assets like the claws of the tiger or the trunk of an elephant. Could you direct me to others who think along the same lines? Yours truly, Martin C.

Hi Martin. I'm not sure about your justification for not studying philosophy (the intention of which is to encourage thinking things through for yourself!), but you'll be glad to know that there are plenty of philosophers who think along similar lines to those that you mention. There are too many to list, but two prominent philosophers concerned about the kind of big picture that you mention are Daniel Dennett ( Consciousness Explained , Darwin's Dangerous Idea ) and Fred Dretske ( Naturalising the Mind ).