Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An Argument’s Mutating Terms

An Argument’s Mutating Terms
(Washington Post)
If the proponents of creationism uncovered some facet of the biological world that contradicted the theory of evolution, some scientists—though perhaps not all—would be intensely interested. Coming across an anomaly in science is like winning the lottery. Unexplained findings can offer a shortcut to scientific fame, as when Alexander Fleming noticed that mold was preventing the growth of staph bacteria in culture. But creationists have not come up with a single scientific observation that undercuts evolution. Biologists have demolished the few arguments that creationists have proposed, such as the idea of “irreducible complexity.” And at this point, creationist organizations such as the Discovery Institute in Seattle are spending most of their money on public relations rather than research.

“Why is evolution still a theory?” is a popular argument with the creationists I face. Trying to explain the difference is seen as twisting semantics to suit science’s “nefarious” goals.
Theory: (n)

5. scientific principle to explain phenomena: a set of facts, propositions, or principles analyzed in their relation to one another and used, especially in science, to explain phenomena
(Microsoft Encarta Dictionary)

1. 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

1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

Methinks Encarta needs to catch up.

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