Hello, dear friends, and I know its been a bit since I updated the topic, but I get a bit logey (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=logey
) this time of year, what with the cold and the wind and the heating bills and all. I *AM* noticing the days getting longer, so we got that goin' for us, eh?
So I’ve been engaged in a couple of aggravating online discussions with creationists, and it ALWAYS comes down to "Evolution has not been proved".
Well, no it hasn’t. You are correct but meaningless. This has been a pet peeve of mine for quite awhile now, so I thought I'd rant about it a bit. In short - science is not designed to prove anything. Nothing. It doesn’t even try.
Here's how it works. Anyone and his brother is free to come up with a hypothesis for why something happens. In 2010, a highly enlightened spiritual leader suggested that earthquakes were caused by women dressing immodestly http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8631775.stm
. Well, there *seems* to be more earthquakes, and with women's liberation and all, they *seem* do be more immodest than before, so its not the crazyist idea in the world (close, but by far the crazyist). Now a quick look at geologic records show that the frequency of severe earthquakes is NOT increasing, so this hypothesis is quickly dispatched as baloney.
Another hypothesis is that babies are streamlined so that primitive tribes could catapult them father, thus extending their genetic influence as far possible (http://bahfest.com/
). Oh, and one important thing a hypothesis needs is the ability to be tested. Testing means that evidence can be produced that seems to match up, or evidence can be produced that disagrees with the hypothesis
Let the testing begin. Someone might even be looking ancient catapults, but I doubt it.
After awhile if any evidence is found that is at odds with the hypothesis, it's Game Over. If they ever find rabbit fossils intermixed with dinosaur fossils, Darwinian evolution would become a mere memory. Thanks for playing; try again. If all the evidence seems to match up, it becomes ....
a fact. NONONO!!! It actually only now becomes a theory. Then what???
More testing. After awhile, if enough evidence piles up confirming it, the theory then becomes ...
a fact. NONONO!!! It will always be "just" a theory. Newton enabled extremely accurate calculations to be verified over and over and over again for thousands of different cases over hundreds of years until Einstein showed him to be wrong (close, but still wrong; "close enough for engineering work" as a teacher of mine once said).
Actualy, Newtons work (F=mA, etc) is more correctly called "Laws" which sounds like it should be some rock solid Truth, but as we just saw, it wasnt. A "Law" is just a way of accurately describing how something works. Ohms law says Voltage is directly proportional to Current and also directly proportional to Resistance (E=I*R), but doesnt beging to even try to deascribe the mechanism of the "why" behind it. Thats what theories are for.
The word "Proof" is reserved for mathematics and formal logic. Only there things can be stated "absolutely" and even so, ONLY within the axiomatic (in initial) assumptions that ALWAYS exist. For example, we *assume* that parallel lines never cross.
You may think it "only logical" that 1+1=2, but sorry, that’s NOT NEAR enough to be any kind of proof (the proof DOES exist within The Principia Mathematica, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics, written by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell).
Sorry, but if you're looking for absolute certainty, you aren’t going to find it in Science. The books are constantly being re-written, and actually, that its beauty. That’s what allows technological progress; even for discoveries that have no immediate application, it gets us closer to how the universe works and where we fit into it and that has a beauty all unto itself.
But frankly, a lot of people are uncomfortable with change, particularly when it challenges long held beliefs. Maybe that's is why faith is so appealing to many; it never needs to refine itself and change. It cant be proved, and it by the same token, it cant be falsified.
So if I catch you saying "just a theory", I will slap you. Dont make me try to "provide supporting evidence" for this claim. And dont ask me to Prove it, because its not there; it's apparantly in the pudding (what it's doing there, I havent a clue).