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50 reasons (NOT) to believe in god

#7 Evolution has never been proved, which is why we call it the "theory of evolution." It's a fairy tale for grown ups!

Oh, my.

Where on Earth do I even begin.

Evolution has indeed been proved to the satisfaction of anyone with an ounce of sense or critical thinking ability. That so many people in America don't qualify as having either is an embarrassment.

Here's a link to Berkeley's site on Evolution, including the Evidence for Evolution. Read it. The evidence for the fact of evolution is overwhelming.

As for this "it's just a theory" crap... this confusion stems from the difference between the scientific use of the word theory vs. the colloquial use of the word theory. In scientific uses it means:

In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. For the scientist, "theory" is not in any way an antonym of "fact". For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton's theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity.

In common usage, the word theory is often used to signify a conjecture, an opinion, a speculation, or a hypothesis. In this usage, a theory is not necessarily based on facts; in other words, it is not required to be consistent with true descriptions of reality. This usage of theory leads to the common incorrect statements. True descriptions of reality are more reflectively understood as statements which would be true independently of what people think about them.

According to the National Academy of Sciences,

Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.


From Wikipedia. Emphasis mine.

So, what part of "comprehensive explanation" means it's not proved? In order to overthrow evolution, an alternative theory would have to account for all the things that evolution currently accounts for, plus more, and it would have to provide a prediction about something that was not known and could be tested.

What are our current "alternatives" for evolution? Intelligent Design? Does Intelligent Design explain more things than Evolution does? Well, if you count "Magic Man did it" as an explanation, okay. But what prediction is ID making that we could test? Finding a problem to which we do not have an immediate answer is not an example of support for ID. That would be demanding that scientists know everything, and only religious people pretend to have all the answers.

It's difficult to dignify the fairy tale remark with a rational response: scientists aren't the ones invoking the Magic Man.

Nothing about evolution requires a god. And even if evolution was rejected by the scientific community tomorrow, it would just mean that evolution was wrong, not that god existed.

On the other hand, evolution and god are not mutually exclusive. One can accept evolution and still believe in a god. The fact that any combination of god+evolution is possible means that this entire line of argument is a non-sequitur. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jfran2258
Jun. 24th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
The whole creation - evolution discussion is worthless as evolution in no way disputes that a God does or does not exist. The ONLY religious significance of evolution is that it invalidates the literal version of creation found in the Bible. But this version was long ago made invalid when humans realized earth is not surrounded by a vault above which is water. Nor is earth supported by columns.
inafoxhole
Jun. 24th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know that. But claiming that evolution is false is a common approach by theists in an attempt to "prove" there is a god... And that is the context in which the original statement was offered. I was arguing against the claim that it's a fairy tale, but the truth--that it is a non-sequitur--doesn't make for a very long blog post! :)
jfran2258
Jun. 24th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
No, I'm saying you should just say it is a non-sequitur. However, it gets me angry that many religious people feel they must give up their religion completely to believe in evolution. It leads to people being even more ignorant of science than they are now.
inafoxhole
Jun. 24th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Well, since I don't really disagree with you, I'll add a note to that effect at the end of the post.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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