Nature of Man
… nothing that happens to Man is ever natural

17 April 2006, Monday

Evolution & Creationism: Terminology in Conflict

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 21:35

A good article by Richard Joltes.

One of the fundamental reasons for the ongoing conflict between the religious and scientific communities involves differences in terminology and word usage. Having heard many lay people scoff “evolution is only a theory” or refer to “the theory of Intelligent Design,” it seems prudent to discuss differences in usage and understanding, as Creationists are misusing the understanding of this and other scientific terms by the average individual to further their own aims.

In science, the word “theory” is not used in the manner understood by most people, i.e. I have a theory that if I do X, Y will result or perhaps my theory is that man was created by divine intervention. They equate the word with “conjecture,” “supposition,” or at worst “guess.” However, phrases such as these fall under the heading of “hypothesis” or “hunch” for the purpose of scientific enquiry. In a scientific context, the word theory is reserved for ideas that have been repeatedly tested experimentally under very rigorous conditions and confirmed to behave as expected.

And here’s the place to throw in a thought I read somewhere else:
Most ID proponents seem to think that scientists support “their theory” out of professional pride or whatnot, while in fact any savant would sell his grandmother for a chance to disprove any theory, let alone one of the major ones in science. And let me tell you, this doesn’t happen often, Einstein was just lucky ;) (In case you don’t get it, he “disproved” Newtonian gravity with his Special Theory of Relativity) No, it’s simply that any effort towards disproving a settled theory is burdened with the weight of the amassed evidence, a weight that ID proponents choose to ignore, instead of incorporating it in a plausible alternative hypothesis.

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