This Is Where I’m From #5

The governor of my state was quoted in the Arkansas Times as saying this:

“I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution.”

Well, gollee, Mike, check out the theories of gravitation, special and general relativity, and quantum theory. And then see defintion #1 at It’s so sad that a semantic misconception is causing our country to distrust one of our most valuable scientific tools. Plus, Mike, you’re forgetting that being “fair to all views” means that we must expose our children to the glory of His Noodly Appendage. Or worse, Scientology’s intergalactic warlord, Xenu.

3 thoughts on “This Is Where I’m From #5”

  1. To add to this thought, it should be pointed out that people who argue “evolution is just a theory” seem to be confusing (deliberately or not) a theory with a hypothesis – a hypothesis is basically an idea that is unsupported by facts, and it only becomes a theory when it is supported by enough facts that we can accept it as true. That’s why gravity is a theory – it works well to support why planets revolve around each other and why apples fall off trees and hit the ground. Evolution is a theory because it works well to explain the fossil record and variation among species. So saying ‘evolution is just a theory’ is really just like saying ‘gravity is just a theory’ – you might not think you sound like an asshole, but really do…

  2. I tend to think that the confusion here isn’t between the words “theory” and “hypothesis” as used by scientists. It’s between the layman’s use of “theory” and the specialized use that scientists put it to. I also think that politicians are eliding the difference between the two concepts on purpose. These are clever people who make their living by rhetoric, and I find it hard to believe that they don’t know equivocation when they use it.

    Something else that just occurred to me is that this argument — that all viewpoints are equal and should be taught on an equal footing — is precisely the kind of culturally-relative thing that conservatives rail about. Which only goes to support my theory[1] that people will take any opportunity to be hypocritical.

    1) Used here in the non-scientific way, of course. 😉

  3. I hate to sound like a jerk here, but the idea that ‘all viewpoints are equal and should be taught on an equal footing’ is just not true. Creationism is not based on any collected facts, but rather on ideas of why the prevailing theory might be incomplete. Evolution is based on many, many collected facts, and should be taught in a science classroom because science is based on the idea of collecting facts to determine overlying truths about the world we live in. Sure, it doesn’t address the big question – how it all began – but as the author puts it, Creationsim is really no more valid an explanation for that than The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Rather that confuse students with those two hypothesis (used scientifically), I think it’s probably more productive to teach the fact based theories and then let the student tackle the unanswerable questions as their minds become more trained…

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