"Bill Bonde ( ''The chamber was in confusion, all the voices shouting
Post by Bill Bonde ( ''The chamber was in confusion, all the voices shouting loud'' ) Post by 1356 Dead
Ga. Evolution Stickers Ordered Removed
Thursday January 13, 2005 4:46 PM
By DOUG GROSS
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday ordered the removal of
stickers placed in high school biology textbooks that call evolution
``a theory, not a fact.''
Since there is no such thing as 'fact' in science, what's wrong with
calling theories of evolution what they are, theory?
In general when we refer to a theory we mean something that's not
proven yet. In science it's different, as Yael and Don discuss in this
Moment of Science.
Y: Today, on "A Moment of Science," we clear up the difference between
a scientific theory and a scientific law.
D: Let me guess. You're talking about that argument that if the theory
of evolution were true, it would actually be a law.
Y: Yes--I'm tired of hearing people argue that the fact that evolution
is a theory means that modern science itself isn't convinced it really
D: Yeah, me too.
Y: And that's why I thought it's worth going over the terminology one
D: Well, the definition of a law is easy. It's a description--usually
mathematical--of some aspect of the natural world.
Y: Like gravity.
D: Exactly. The law of gravity describes and quantifies the attraction
between two objects. But the law of gravity doesn't explain what
gravity is or why it might work in this way. That's because that kind
of explanation falls into the realm of theory. And the theory that
explains gravity is the theory of general relativity.
Y: Right. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific
theory is a "well- substantiated explanation of some aspect of the
natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested
hypotheses." In other words, all scientific theories are supported by
evidence, and you can test them, and--most importantly--you can use
them to make predictions.
D: So based on that definition, theories never change into laws, no
matter how much evidence out there supports them. Formulating theories,
in fact, is the end goal of science.
Y: So to say evolution is just a theory is actually an argument for it
and not against it. You can't do any better in science than to be a