Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clarifying "Theory" -- Evolution

To the the intellectual bankrupt among us who downplay evolution as a "just a theory" in favor of some intelligent design. Never mind the flaws in the intelligent design rational (e.g. The laptop is so fantastic and complex that it must have had an intelligent creator, Man -- Man is so fantastic and complex it must have had an intelligent creator, a god -- God is so fantastic and complex, he must have had a creator...). I'm simply sick of the mindless, broken record, pejorative misuse of the word "Theory". The following are both FACT and THEORY:




These are facts, we know that they happen, there is abundant evidence of them and no real evidence against them. Facts indeed by any definition of the word.

They are also theories. We KNOW that they happen. We don't know exactly all the details of how. This is the theory part.

Evolution is really a scientific consensus. Not every scientist agrees with the theory, but the vast majority do. That is, by definition, what the word "consensus" means: majority of opinion.

The assertion that a number of scientists have been "blackballed" from the scientific community is a rehash of the argument most recently put forth in the pseudo-documentary "Expelled," starring Ben Stein. This documentary, incidentally, has been refuted at length in all of its claims by Scientific American (a widely regarded publication) and several journals, including Science.

But you really demonstrate your ignorance of science when you say "So, until honestly proven, it remains theory, despite what the NAS chooses to call it." Here's a news flash: In science, you can never "prove" a theory. And the theory of evolution has just as much evidence to support it as the theory of universal gravitation. Yes, gravity and evolution are in the same realm when it comes to the amount and quality of supporting evidence. With theories, you can devise experiments based on predictions that theories make. These experiments are devised to falsify the theory. If the falsification does not occur, the theory survives. If the theory is falsified (disproven), it is thrown out or revised to account for new facts.

That's the scientific method, and your ignorance proves you do not understand science. Please, stop using the word theory as a pejorative. Calling something "just a theory" is simply asinine. If gravity is "just a theory," would you jump off a 20-story building because you might not fall to your death? If evolution is "just a theory," then would you withdraw funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because they research disease pathogens and rely on evolutionary models to predict how some organisms become more virulent over time?

And please, stop spreading this claptrap that scientists only support evolution because they fear losing their jobs. That's conspiracy theory nuttery, and most "cases" cited by anti-evolution propaganda (such as "Expelled") don't stand up to independent scrutiny. Scientific American debunked those claims too.

Respect our democratically ratified constitution and do not put 'intelligent design' in to scientific ciriculum. Contrary to some opinion, real, honest science and religion can not go hand in hand. Science is a pursuit of knowledge based on hypothesizing the unknown and working to disprove the hypothesis. Any assertion taken on faith is conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits and outrages reason. But I digress. Stop regurgitating this nonsense of dismissing rational thought labeled with the word 'Theory'.

Thank you,