the primary main problem

… with discussions on evolution as a theory is that it isn’t a theory in the typical scientific sense. The typical meaning of theory is the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another according to Merriam-Webster. Evolution is not based on fact, it is based on speculation regarding observations and understandings of our universe/planet. This fits the secondary meaning of theory, which is abstract thought: speculation.

In order to be a true theory in the primary meaning sense of the word, it would need to be based on a set of observed and repeatable facts. Given enough chance for variation, can protein strands really approximate and eventually become life? Given appropriate environmental stresses and stimuli, will a species develop a different characteristic than its ancestors? Under what circumstances can a fish be compelled to take up residence on a beach?

Those are my thoughts regarding evolution as a theory.

On a somewhat related note, I think that words are such useless things much of the time. Sometimes I think that language is more for the purpose of disallowing commucation than for communication.

  1. Actually, within the realm of science, the qualifications of a theory are

    1. Adequately explains the data
    2. Is falsifiable (there is the possibility that data or experiments could disprove it).
    3. Makes predictions

    That’s actually why “scientific creationism” isn’t a theory: it’s not falsifiable. Any data that contradicts it (such as the fact that we can observe galaxies forming millennia ago with powerful telescopes) is simply said to be be miraculous.

    The problem with the “theory of macroevolution” is that it supposedly meets all three, but meets none of them. It doesn’t explain the fossil record (as adovactes of “punctuated equilibrium” have pointed out). Its predictions have not come true (species should tend to become more complex and increase their genetic data). And it is carefully constructed so as to not be falsifiable: despite the fact we’ve never seen any of it happen and have been entirely unable to recreate its key events, the theory actually says that it’s highly unlikely that we would be able to. It is, in the end, no different from saying that God exists, but that you cannot see him, touch him, or do anything to cause him to act.

  2. how about this?

    Maybe evolution exists to an extent. Maybe it was created by God to happen specifically on this planet the way he wanted it to happen.

    In other words, maybe instead of just saying “Bam, there is now an alligator” he said”Fish, turn into a water lizard” etc.

    i dunno, evolution is such a fun discussion.

  3. I think most everybody makes the mistake of confusing laws and theories. For example, we have Newton’s laws, but only the theory of gravity. In relation to evolutionary theories the facts are:

    A) things have really similar traits, and
    B) sometimes we can find creatures dead that had similar traits but whos environment seemed to make the current species dominate.

    So the factual basis of the theory is we find things and connect them to traits and environs. However the connections between them all are conjecture. If those connections were fact then evolution would not be theory it would be law.

  4. Now hold on.

    Newton’s “Laws” are theories. Only since they can be expressed so elegantly in mathematics, and since they are in regards to common everyday things like motion, it’s easy to verify that they are correct, or at least close to correct.

    They’ve been verified so many times, that we’ve begun to call them laws. But if tomorrow you came up with a reproducible experiment whose data contradicted the calculations of one of newton’s equations, they would be refuted.

    In fact, this is basically what Einstien did. Newton’s equations didn’t work for everything, it was verifiable. So he tried some new stuff.

    The problem with evolution is that it isn’t a physics theory, it’s a biologically theory. That makes it much harder to express in mathematics. Furthermore, the process that evolutions proposes is a very slow one, so it’s difficult to verify whether it could be true or not.

    Newton’s equations take maybe a day to verify. Evolution as a general concept would take hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of years to verify. Parts of it have already been verified. Adaptation of a species has been clearly observed in nature. The england moth thing is the most common example. But the new colored moths could still breed with the old colored moths. It’s that sort of speciation that doesn’t just occur everyday, but upon which the general principal of “higher” life forms arising from “lower” is based.

  5. The parts of “evolution” you speak of as being “verified” were known prior to the theory. They’re the data the theory is based off, not the predictions of the theory.

    Travis, what you describe is actually the way many non-European exegetes have interpreted Genesis since oh, before the time of Christ.

  6. There’s a wide gap between microevolution (the development of different adaptations and characteristics within a species: cf. various racial characteristics, the moths in England, and so forth) and macroevolution (i.e. speciation). I did actually see an example of speciation (i.e. offspring was a different and genetically incompatible species from its parents) show up on the Internet about a year ago. Happened in a field in England: two different species of weed crossbred and produced a viable, non-sterile offspring that apparently could not breed back to either parent species. Comparatively, there’s enough evidence for sub-speciation to support that hypothesis.

    Can’t seem to turn up the article, though.

  7. Actually, it’s really interesting that you should bring up the peppered moth as evidence for natural selection. Consider these two links regarding the peppered moth.

  8. That I did not know. Though I have grown outrageously tired of having it pop up as an example of speciation (which it ain’t).

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>