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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • It has only be in the last 30 years or so that people think that religion and science are mutually exclusive. If you look back, you will see a lot of scientist that were religious as well. Evolution doesn't need anyone to water it down, it has so many holes that it is leaking water by itself.

    That said, I do not think ID should be taught. What should be taught is that the theory of evolution has problems, explain those problems and let students reason it out for themselves. The problem I have is that evolu

    • If the "theory of evolution" is taught as a theory, then it isn't being taught as a fact. I didn't continue with science much after 16, but even I remember from my scientific education that theories can be disproven and not proven, and that the current theory is only the best possible explanation currently available, and susceptible to modification or wholesale paradigm shift.

      Where have you seen evolution taught as a fact, rather than a scientific theory?
      --

      osfameron

      • ...I remember from my scientific education that theories can be disproven and not proven, and that the current theory is only the best possible explanation currently available, and susceptible to modification or wholesale paradigm shift.

        This is right on.

        If the "theory of evolution" is taught as a theory, then it isn't being taught as a fact.

        This isn't, but your definition of theory points us back in the right direction. Theories explain one or more facts, so it's correct to refer to many scientific subjects as both fact and theory. The theory of evolution is our best current explanation of the facts of evolution.

        The late biologist Stephen Jay Gould explained this with more eloquence and authority:

        In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"—part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is "only" a theory, and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science—that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."

        Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

        Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

        -- Evolution as Fact and Theory [stephenjaygould.org], Stephen Jay Gould, 1981