Evolution is not a theory

Posted Nov 09, 2004 in Media, Miscellaneous, Politics.

Reuters is reporting that a school board in Cobb County, Georgia has found itself in court after placing stickers on textbooks that challenge Evolution. The stickers read:

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

Evolution is a fact, backed by overwhelming scientific evidence; however, I am not sure I agree that the stickers represent the promotion of religion and the violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, as is being suggested. Nevertheless, the stickers were placed to placate parents who believe in Creationism.

Unlike Evolution, Creationism has no basis in fact whatsoever; therefore, it is wholly unsuitable for it be taught in schools. The same can be said for the theory of Intelligent Design, which is just a pseudo-scientifically sanitized version of Creationism.


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    Evolution is fact for the evolution that we see around us but I do not think that there is significant evidence to prove that man started out as a microscopic speck after a big bang. I guess what I am saying is that we see different animals give birth to babies that are naturally adapted to their surroundings (and if the surroundings change, the next generation changes) but I do not know of anything that proves something can go from one species to another.

    I don't agree with the stickers though.

    Wasn't Darwin's theory proven wrong a few weeks ago?

    Posted by Stephan Segraves on Nov 09, 2004.

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    People seem to forget that the essential theory postulated by Darwin in 1859 has been revised and refined. Since the 1940s, it has become obvious that evolution is the result of natural genetic variation (mutation). This has been happening for millions of years, as the fossil records demonstrate.

    On television, I saw the woman resonsible for the stickers say that she believed that the Earth was created in six literal days. Are you more inclined to believe THAT, or are you more inclined to believe that the Earth (and the life on it) was created over a period of millions of years?

    It actually scares me that a woman who thinks the Earth was created in six days is in charge of the education of children.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Nov 09, 2004.

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    Well, now you are getting into religious beliefs... I believe in a seperation of Church and State but I do believe in God, the Bible (where there is mention of prehistoric life), and Creation.

    I think that people take the 6 days thing too literally. The Bible clearly states that time to God is nothing. A second is a day and a day is 1000 years. We understand time as light and dark and a calendar. So when the Bible says 6 days, it could mean 6 million years.

    I know that probably makes me sound crazy or whatever, but that's my belief.

    Posted by Stephan Segraves on Nov 09, 2004.

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    I totally respect your belief, although I'm sure it is obvious that I don't share it. However, I think that your interpretation is more likely to be true than the literal interpretation, even though I think both are unlikely.

    It is in matters like this that I think the concept of "religion" invades the concept of "faith". Faith is the bedrock of religion, but you don't need religion to have faith.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Nov 09, 2004.

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    I don't want to butt in here, actually I guess I do. Evolution is theory, not fact, not because it is incorrect, but because the definition of theory is not the commonly accepted meaning.

    (wordnet definition)

    1. theory -- (a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory")

    2. hypothesis, possibility, theory -- (a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices")

    3. theory -- (a belief that can guide behavior; "the architect has a theory that more is less"; "they killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales")

    Obviously the third definition is the least compelling.

    Moreover if the people who wrote the stickers also read and followed the advice contained therein (on) "This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." Then, all would be well, as that's how science works.

    (Let me preface this by saying I'm a recovering Christian myself)

    Christians are scared of anything that makes them ask questions about the bibles legitimacy, and accuracy.
    If they would look at the bible with the same critical eye they do to anything secular, at the very least we would have a different president. (Sorry, I know that's cheap, more to follow)

    The real problem is that the Christian church has become insular since 1915 fundamentalist movement. Before that most Christians believed the bible a guidebook not infallible, and wholly perfect in and of itself.
    When a single book written two thousand years ago, (as is the Christian belief, ignoring the fact that it was only ratified as "the bible" in the mid 1400's) is considered the basis for arguments against modern scientific knowledge, evidence, act. All secular arguments are moot, as any information gathered in the last 2000 years is inadmissible as evidence.
    That's just not just ignorant, it's obviously dangerous. (Again one only has to look at the oval office).

    Posted by John on Nov 09, 2004.

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    I concede that Evolution is a theory in the strictest definition; however, it is a theory based on observation of many known facts. This differs considerably, as you indirectly point out, from the theory of Creationism.

    I have no objection to religion or faith as such. I only object when I find I am unwillingly influenced or affected by it. I can draw a comparison with passive smoking, although I'd argue that four more years of Bush is more harmful than a few Marlboro Lights :::grin:::

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Nov 09, 2004.

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    Indirectly? Damn, I was going for directly.

    I really don't know if I have a problem with faith itself, I know there were times it did help me. I simply could not ignore the theorys (facts) any longer, judging validity based on if it agreed with what I already belived. But that having been said, when the christian church decides who can marry, what people can read/watch on tv (the FCC is in direct dissagrement with the first amendment), or which facts are allowed to be taught in public schools, I'm afraid I, like it would seem you yourself, become a more than a little incensed.

    I have to agree,with your last statement, I think four more years of Bush promises to be downright deadly.....Literally.

    Posted by John on Nov 10, 2004.

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    I think it is more than clear to reasonable people that god did not create the world (or the universe for that matter) in 6 days. A most unlikely proposition.

    However, even stretching the literal interpretation of days such that a "day" really means a million years still doesn't fit the observable facts.

    The mechanics of inheritance, through the propagation of our DNA, is well understood and surely not disputed by even the most vehement of creationists. The concept of natural selection follows simply; those that survive long enough are more likely to propagate said DNA. This might sound awfully reductionist, but need it be more complicated?

    Friends of Ockham would stop there.

    Further, if god did create us, why's my god damn back so unnecessarily hairy?

    Posted by Paul Nixon on Nov 11, 2004.

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    Perhaps your follicle-heavy back is further evidence of humanity's origin?

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Nov 11, 2004.

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    Quite my point, Simon.

    It is true that nature seems, to our simple minds, too complex for natural selection to have been responsible; the central plank of the creationist theory. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out, our brains evolved on the plains of Africa having only to think of medium size objects, travelling medium size distances or small amounts of time (or something like that anyway).

    It's very hard for us to grasp 'evolutionary time', it's just too damn big.

    It is interesting to note that creationists, whilst paying lip service to proposing a scientific alternative to evolution seem to have come up with very little in the way of 'proving' that nature is too complex.

    In fact, rather, computer simulations seem to point to the likelihood of such an outcome.

    Essential reading: The Selfish Gene and Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins.

    Posted by Paul Nixon on Nov 11, 2004.

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    NOTE FROM SIMON: The following was sent to me anonymously using my contact form. The only information I have about the sender is that they are an AOL user...

    Read the bible it explains everything. The Bible is not one book written two thousand years ago, the "Bible" is a compilation of many documents Of course evolution occurred. WHy would it not? While we generally say the Lord created the Earth in seven days, a day in God time could be a million years. Can you follow that? The Bible also clearly states that there were exsisting civilizations pre- Adam And Eve's creation.

    The bible further more acknowledges other Gods and cultures. The bible can only be understood by those in the book of life. Those in the book of life do not read the Bible with skeptisism or the desire to pick it apart, it is read with a thirst for knowledge.Get yourself a good size print king James version,try again with an open questioning heart. perhaps you just are not in the book?

    Posted by Anonymous on Nov 11, 2004.

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    I think that's the wrong way to go about sharing your faith...

    I believe in evolution on certain levels in the world around me but I do not believe in it as the catalyst to the beginning of mankind. I think it really comes down to faith. As for there being proof of it, there really is none. There are theories, much like Richard Dawkins' that try to explain their exsistence by finding pieces of what they believe to be a bigger phenomena. The only difference between this and creationism is that there is some physical evidence to prove some (I emphasize some) evolution theories.

    Here's something for you to try. Walk outside on a really pretty day and just look at everything around you and ask yourself, "Could evolution really have created/done this?".

    Posted by Stephan Segraves on Nov 12, 2004.

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    -- Could evolution really have created/done this? --

    But you see, that is exactly what I think. As an amateur astronomer, I often gaze up at the stars in wonder of what I see. I mean, the universe is AMAZING. Although there is unquestionably some "order" to the chaos, I see no evidence of Creationism, nor even Intelligent Design - complexity always has some kind of order or pattern, and this is particularly so of life.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Nov 12, 2004.

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    Okay, I feel like adding my two cents.

    I was reading the article on how Cobb County added a sticker to their science books stating "evolution was a theory, not a fact". As I was reading it I was wondering how it would be received (by those people who argued to put the sticker in the book) if someone decided there should be a sticker in the bible stating "this is a story, or a novel at best...and should be critically considered."

    Posted by PB on Nov 12, 2004.

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    I believe that modern science lives in a fantasy land where they ignore any and all evidence which doesn't support their pet theories which they have built their careers on. Whether it's the big bang, the constancy of light, the origin of lightening, cancer cures, the age of the human species, the age of culture, etc and on and on. In all cases their theories are proven invalid by evidence which they choose to suppress or ignore. So why should I trust you that evolution is a fact? I have no reason to. A geesh, I don't even consider myself regligious, just honest.

    Posted by PoohBah on Nov 15, 2004.

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    I am a chemist and a dentist and a graduate of the Medical College of GA. I have had over 6 years of science at the college level, all within the state of GA. Evolution is not science but at best a philosophy. It is not even a theory, because it is not falsifiable. It can not be tested. Even our 1st, 2nd laws of science, and law of biogenisis , contradicts evolution. Both creation and evolution are actually models that science is placed into, and religions are spit out! Creation has given us three religions -the major ones, and evolution has given us the multitude of others. Evolution is therefore more religious than creation- in that sense. It was Clarence Darrow who said that it was the height of bigotry to teach only one side-during the scopes trial- the shoe is now on the other foot. Let's quite brainwashing our kids. They need all the critical thinking skills they can get, in such times as this.

    Dr. George Madray BSA, DMD

    Posted by George Madray on Nov 22, 2004.

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    It's really sad that people (LOTS of people) only believe evolution because they think it's the right thing to do. Many times, they don't have all the facts. Unless you have taken extensive college science classes, you really shouldn't say much. Oh, and the "fossil record" is basically non-existent. It kind of reminds me of how in my college class this semester everyone just kind of went along with it when the professor made some snide comment about Bush. Silly.

    Posted by Sarah on Dec 09, 2004.

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    Very interesting. Im young and seeking truth (i guess you could say that.) From the arguement i see here, i have learned a lot (but in comparison to what i would like to learn, its only a sliver). One thing i do wish to comment...

    The "evolution was a theory, not a fact" was only the right thing to do if it was labeled as a fact. If evolution was fact, religion would soon die off and there would probably be mass suicide among earth (religious extremists, but thats just an assumption, but i really dont see those truely religious/faith obsesed giving up the idea of what the bible has written in it).

    I beleive all religions should be tought to classes and labeled as "Theory". God, Isis, Buddah, whatever! As long as its not labeled as fact, it should be school OK.

    There is much i could add to this, but since nothing is proven, its going to be a "Ford VS chevy" debate; a matter of opinions that have rival eachother in some ways.

    Posted by Jesse W on Dec 10, 2004.

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    <<but since nothing is proven, its going to be a "Ford VS chevy">>

    Well obviously Ford wins that argument. Chevrolet's line-up, indeed the line-up of the whole General Motors clan, is ghastly. Give me a Mustang over a GTO any day.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Dec 26, 2004.

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    "It [evolution] can not be tested."
    This shows you don't even understand the scientific process

    "Even our 1st, 2nd laws of science, and law of biogenisis , contradicts evolution."
    This shows you don't even know what the theory of evolution is about (the origin of life has nothing to do with the theory of evolution).

    Yet you post this:
    "I am a chemist and a dentist and a graduate of the Medical College of GA. I have had over 6 years of science at the college level, all within the state of GA."
    It therefore becomes clear to me that the course you took at the Medical College of GA did not include evolutionary biology, and therefore the authority you claim to have on this issue is quite void.

    Posted by BobSmith on Dec 29, 2004.

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    Does every one here believe that evolution can explain creation?

    Posted by James Morris on Jan 13, 2005.