Wolfe: Sincere, But Sheer, Literature

“There were five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Had anyone observed the phenomenon – in this case, Evolution – as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s ‘falsifiability’ test)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no.. no… and no.

In other words, there was no scientific way to test it. Like every other cosmogony, it was a serious and sincere story meant to satisfy man’s endless curiosity about where he came from and how he came to be so different from the animals around him. But it was still a story. It was not evidence. In short, it was sincere, but sheer, literature.”

– Tom Wolfe, The Kingdom of Speech (pp. 27-28)

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