When a scientific paradigm is in a state of crisis its proponents resort to increasingly desperate measures to salvage it. These desperate measures are indicative of the fact that the paradigm is indeed in crisis.
I thought it might be interesting to start cataloging examples of these desperate measures when it comes to Darwinian evolution.
1) Those who propose that the paradigm is in trouble are vilified (this occurs especially in academia where one’s career and livelihood are at stake).
2) Consensus is called upon as evidence that the problems have been solved and that no further consideration is warranted. Consensus is never called upon to defend scientific paradigms that are not in crisis.
3) The Cambrian explosion and the fossil record, which, to an objective observer, transparently present severe difficulties for the thesis of gradualism, are dismissed or explained away with stories that have no grounding in evidence. This is an example of, “The theory is sound but the evidence is in error.” This is a recurring theme when a scientific paradigm is in crisis.
4) The revelation that life is foundationally predicated upon complex information is dismissed with appeals to random mutations, despite the fact that all we know about complex systems resembling living systems indicates that this information cannot be the product of stochastic processes, no matter how much time is allowed. This requires blind faith in vanishingly-small probabilities. Once again it is proposed that the theory is sound but that basic logic and the evidence are in error.
The central theme in the case of a scientific paradigm in crisis is a mounting pile of excuses designed to explain away anomalies. When this happens (as in the case of the phlogiston theory of combustion, earth-centered cosmology, and a universe with no beginning) one can reliably detect a paradigm in crisis.
I will expand upon this list in the future.