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Facts, Theories and Laws

YYW
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7/1/2014 7:12:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It is a testament to our failed education system that so many fail to understand the difference between these three words. If you know the difference, huzza! You're ahead of the curve. If you think you know the difference, better be sure so you don't look like a dullard when you're talking about these simple concepts with your friends. If you don't know the difference, but at the same time have the temerity to talk about things that you don't have a clue about... know that we are all silently judging you.

This is a source that is FOR THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION, which explains the difference:

http://ncse.com...

And here's what the National Center for Science Education (whose mission is to teach evolution and climate change science) has to say about that issue:

Fact: In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as "true." Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow.

Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.

Law: A descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances.

AND A BONUS:

Hypothesis: A tentative statement about the natural world leading to deductions that can be tested. If the deductions are verified, the hypothesis is provisionally corroborated. If the deductions are incorrect, the original hypothesis is proved false and must be abandoned or modified. Hypotheses can be used to build more complex inferences and explanations.

Guess where they got that awesome series of distinctions?

...this cool place, of course.

The Role of Theory in Advancing 21st Century Biology, National Academy of Sciences
http://dels.nas.edu...

I write this today, because I've seen a debate about whether evolution is a FACT or not. I've seen commenters, who embarrass themselves and whatever institutions of learning they attended, vehemently defend that evolution is a FACT.

Dear friends, evolution is not a fact. Darwin himself would not claim that evolution is a fact. It is a theory, based on facts.

The word FACT and THEORY are not interchangeable. They do NOT mean the same thing.
Tsar of DDO
Subutai
Posts: 3,204
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7/1/2014 7:56:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm glad you posted this. I created a thread several months ago essentially saying the same thing, but no one ever responded to it. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about evolution, and both sides commit it, albeit in obvious different ways.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Enji
Posts: 1,022
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7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I agree, but I think your criticism depends on the claim and the context.

Conclusions based on a scientific theory are distinct from the theory itself. For example, the claim that the universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old is certainly not the theory of the Big Bang. But is it a fact? Perhaps not in a scientific context, but "fact" in more general use means something more along the lines of truth - and in this sense I think it would reasonable to say that it is a factual claim.

Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

Of course despite this, there's still plenty of misuse.
Burzmali
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7/1/2014 9:17:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm going to disagree slightly with the implication that evolution is not a fact, and I'm going to compare it to gravity to illustrate the point. There is the fact of evolution and there is the fact of gravity. Evolution: change in allele frequency in a population over time. Gravity: the mutual attraction of physical bodies in space. These are facts by the definition presented in the OP. There is a theory of evolution, as well: mutation + natural selection. As far as I know, there are only hypotheses about gravity. Anyway, someone claiming that evolution is a fact may very well be correct, depending on what they mean.
Enji
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7/1/2014 9:33:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 7:56:59 PM, Subutai wrote:
I'm glad you posted this. I created a thread several months ago essentially saying the same thing, but no one ever responded to it. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about evolution, and both sides commit it, albeit in obvious different ways.

I think your thread is actually fairly different. YYW's main point is that fact and theory are not interchangeable and hence evolution is not a fact, whereas you argue primarily the distinction between colloquial and scientific uses of theory and conclude that "[evolution] is both a theory and fact." I'm not sure YYW would agree -- he argues that evolution is a theory, not a fact.
YYW
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7/1/2014 10:09:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 9:33:31 PM, Enji wrote:
I think your thread is actually fairly different. YYW's main point is that fact and theory are not interchangeable and hence evolution is not a fact, whereas you argue primarily the distinction between colloquial and scientific uses of theory and conclude that "[evolution] is both a theory and fact." I'm not sure YYW would agree -- he argues that evolution is a theory, not a fact.

The National Academy of Science is clear on what the conceptual distinctions are. Though there is a real distinction between how the word "theory" is used colloquially, and what "theory" actually means... and to the extent that popular usage diverges from the word's actual (i.e. scientific) meaning, it tends to frustrate me. I haven't read his thread, but he's a smart guy and doesn't seem like the type to confuse those words.

Evolution is a theory that explains why certain phenomena are the case. It is factually based, and generally accepted in the scientific community. But evolution is not, itself a "fact." What irritates me the most is when people -like that comprehensive git in a debate I've recently commented on- think that somehow the word "theory" connotes something that isn't based on sufficient evidence. The reason that this person believed that is because he, aside from embarrassing Canada's public educational system, understood the word "theory" only colloquially.

This is why people need to learn science in school. They also need to learn literature, math and languages, which are equally indispensable, but it should be a requirement that all demonstrate a sound command of the meaning of these four words: theory, fact, hypothesis and law.

On a less related, but casually associated note, I am a Christian but I vehemently oppose teaching creation, intelligent design, etc. in schools. But I am a minority in that regard.
Tsar of DDO
Subutai
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7/1/2014 10:11:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 9:33:31 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/1/2014 7:56:59 PM, Subutai wrote:
I'm glad you posted this. I created a thread several months ago essentially saying the same thing, but no one ever responded to it. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about evolution, and both sides commit it, albeit in obvious different ways.

I think your thread is actually fairly different. YYW's main point is that fact and theory are not interchangeable and hence evolution is not a fact, whereas you argue primarily the distinction between colloquial and scientific uses of theory and conclude that "[evolution] is both a theory and fact." I'm not sure YYW would agree -- he argues that evolution is a theory, not a fact.

I think YYW made an accurate statement with, "Evolution is a theory, based on facts." Yes, the point of my thread was to point out the distinction between common and scientific uses of scientific words. I think YYW worded it better.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
Subutai
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7/1/2014 10:13:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:09:54 PM, YYW wrote:

Here is the thread:

http://www.debate.org...

I actually think you worded it better by distinguishing the facts that evolution brings together into a coherent theory than I did.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/1/2014 10:22:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:13:24 PM, Subutai wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:09:54 PM, YYW wrote:

Here is the thread:

http://www.debate.org...

I actually think you worded it better by distinguishing the facts that evolution brings together into a coherent theory than I did.

Very cool. I wish that people understood these things, and I cannot understand why they can't/don't/won't/what ever keeps them trapped in a state of ignorance. If understanding the distinction between these words was complicated at all... or even something that's not hard but esoteric like decision theory, I'd be more forgiving... but it just blows my mind how thick some people are.

/endrant
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.
Tsar of DDO
lifemeansevolutionisgood
Posts: 551
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7/1/2014 10:26:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.

Maybe you should read the link?
YYW
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7/1/2014 10:27:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:26:19 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.

Maybe you should read the link?

I did. Perhaps you didn't. Do read the other posts in this thread, to enlighten yourself.
Tsar of DDO
lifemeansevolutionisgood
Posts: 551
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7/1/2014 10:29:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:27:18 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:26:19 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.

Maybe you should read the link?

I did. Perhaps you didn't. Do read the other posts in this thread, to enlighten yourself.

I have. It just is not an easy thing to accurately decide with the links on this thread as they all come from sources of the same credibility. I simply made that response in order to show that a better source would be needed to make a definitive answer.
YYW
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7/1/2014 10:31:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:29:16 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:27:18 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:26:19 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.

Maybe you should read the link?

I did. Perhaps you didn't. Do read the other posts in this thread, to enlighten yourself.

I have. It just is not an easy thing to accurately decide with the links on this thread as they all come from sources of the same credibility. I simply made that response in order to show that a better source would be needed to make a definitive answer.

There is a definitive answer. Your post refers to what happens when scientists speak in colloquial terms, and no more.
Tsar of DDO
lifemeansevolutionisgood
Posts: 551
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7/1/2014 10:49:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:31:50 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:29:16 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:27:18 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:26:19 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:23:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 10:19:56 PM, lifemeansevolutionisgood wrote:
Is evolution a fact or theory? Short answer, both.
http://www.nas.edu...

Only if you bastardize the meaning of words.

Maybe you should read the link?

I did. Perhaps you didn't. Do read the other posts in this thread, to enlighten yourself.

I have. It just is not an easy thing to accurately decide with the links on this thread as they all come from sources of the same credibility. I simply made that response in order to show that a better source would be needed to make a definitive answer.

There is a definitive answer. Your post refers to what happens when scientists speak in colloquial terms, and no more.

His source puts fact as "an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as "true.""

My source says, "a "fact" typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions."

My source seems to fit his pretty well now that I think about it.
Enji
Posts: 1,022
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7/1/2014 10:51:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:09:54 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:33:31 PM, Enji wrote:
I think your thread is actually fairly different. YYW's main point is that fact and theory are not interchangeable and hence evolution is not a fact, whereas you argue primarily the distinction between colloquial and scientific uses of theory and conclude that "[evolution] is both a theory and fact." I'm not sure YYW would agree -- he argues that evolution is a theory, not a fact.

The National Academy of Science is clear on what the conceptual distinctions are. Though there is a real distinction between how the word "theory" is used colloquially, and what "theory" actually means... and to the extent that popular usage diverges from the word's actual (i.e. scientific) meaning, it tends to frustrate me. I haven't read his thread, but he's a smart guy and doesn't seem like the type to confuse those words.

Evolution is a theory that explains why certain phenomena are the case. It is factually based, and generally accepted in the scientific community. But evolution is not, itself a "fact." What irritates me the most is when people -like that comprehensive git in a debate I've recently commented on- think that somehow the word "theory" connotes something that isn't based on sufficient evidence. The reason that this person believed that is because he, aside from embarrassing Canada's public educational system, understood the word "theory" only colloquially.

This is why people need to learn science in school. They also need to learn literature, math and languages, which are equally indispensable, but it should be a requirement that all demonstrate a sound command of the meaning of these four words: theory, fact, hypothesis and law.

I didn't realise that in the debate that sparked this thread the commenter had made the same misrepresentation of theory as Subutai addressed in his thread. You were focused more on the distinction between theory and fact, so I thought the commenter argued something more along the lines of this: http://www.debate.org... I think here the distinction you make is accurate and relevant.

But I think "evolution is a fact" is a little fuzzier. Is evolution the change in allele frequency over time? This is an observation, and hence is a scientific fact. Is evolution the modern synthesis? This is the comprehensive explanation of observations, and hence it's a scientific theory not a scientific fact. Is evolution the claim that all life on earth is evolved from a common ancestor? This is a conclusion based on evolutionary theory, which I think can reasonably be called a fact in a non-scientific context.

On a less related, but casually associated note, I am a Christian but I vehemently oppose teaching creation, intelligent design, etc. in schools. But I am a minority in that regard.

I believe you're less a minority than you think. While a majority of Christians believe in Creationism over evolution, substantially fewer support "teaching the controversy," many would rather neither evolution nor creation be taught in public schools. I would oppose this too (while less harmful to science education than teaching creation, I think this is more harmful than teaching evolution). And globally there's much smaller support for Creationism than in the USA.

Or perhaps you're a minority in how strongly you oppose it - I don't know.
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/1/2014 10:53:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 10:51:33 PM, Enji wrote:
Or perhaps you're a minority in how strongly you oppose it - I don't know.

I want only evolution to be taught.
Tsar of DDO
GarretKadeDupre
Posts: 2,023
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7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true
Proof that people witnessed living dinosaurs:
http://www.debate.org...
Enji
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7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.
GarretKadeDupre
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7/2/2014 8:14:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

That's the problem, it's not accurate.
Proof that people witnessed living dinosaurs:
http://www.debate.org...
Enji
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7/2/2014 8:16:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 8:14:17 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

That's the problem, it's not accurate.

That's not the topic of the thread though.
GarretKadeDupre
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7/2/2014 8:17:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 8:16:59 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 8:14:17 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
That's the problem, it's not accurate.

That's not the topic of the thread though.

Oops, I just like Evolution debates so much.
Proof that people witnessed living dinosaurs:
http://www.debate.org...
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/3/2014 3:27:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

If it is your object to assail the meaning of words, then yes, evolution can be considered a fact.

There is real danger in what you're talking about, because familiarity with a theory, even in a colloquial sense, does not make it anything more than a theory.

And moreover, not to be unnecessarily caviler about your post above, but this isn't an "argument" I'm making. It's a statement of what is the case. I'm not trying to persuade you, or any audience of anything.
Tsar of DDO
rross
Posts: 2,772
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7/3/2014 3:59:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

I love you, Enji (in a noncreepy way I promise). You're so smart and concise. :)
rross
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7/3/2014 4:04:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/3/2014 3:27:36 PM, YYW wrote:

If it is your object to assail the meaning of words, then yes, evolution can be considered a fact.

There is real danger in what you're talking about, because familiarity with a theory, even in a colloquial sense, does not make it anything more than a theory.

And moreover, not to be unnecessarily caviler about your post above, but this isn't an "argument" I'm making. It's a statement of what is the case. I'm not trying to persuade you, or any audience of anything.

You guys should debate this. It's a really interesting question, what is fact what is theory. I don't think the division is as clear as you make it out to be. That would be an awesome debate. :)
YYW
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7/3/2014 9:26:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/2/2014 8:14:17 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

That's the problem, it's not accurate.

https://www.youtube.com...
Tsar of DDO
Enji
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7/7/2014 9:18:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/3/2014 3:27:36 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/2/2014 7:52:39 PM, Enji wrote:
At 7/2/2014 6:58:15 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 7/1/2014 9:03:43 PM, Enji wrote:
Similarly, evolution-as-a-theory (the modern evolutionary synthesis) shouldn't be called a fact, but the claim that all life on earth has evolved from simpler forms reasonably could be.

lol wut

maybe you should post that again, it might make it true

The modern synthesis is the scientific theory of evolution. As YYW argues, a scientific theory (an explanatory framework) is distinct from a scientific fact (an observation); a scientific theory is factually based, but is not a scientific fact itself.

Conclusions based on the theory are neither observations nor theories (nor hypotheses nor laws), but they can reasonably be called a fact in the colloquial use of the word (something which is true) if the theory is accurate. Thus I think resolutions along the lines of "Evolution is a fact" can be justified semantically; such debates, then, would focus on whether the modern synthesis is accurate.

If it is your object to assail the meaning of words, then yes, evolution can be considered a fact.

There is real danger in what you're talking about, because familiarity with a theory, even in a colloquial sense, does not make it anything more than a theory.

I think expecting the meaning of fact to correspond with the narrow, technical, scientific definition of the word and the meaning of evolution to be the theory of evolution is more akin to "assailing the meaning of words," than pointing out that a resolution along the lines of "evolution is fact" is justifiable given a reasonable interpretation of the language used.

The phrasing "does not make it anything more than a theory," suggests that you think I believe fact is a stronger status than theory; this isn't true. I merely believe that such resolutions are semantically meaningful and do establish a relevant topic of debate.

And moreover, not to be unnecessarily caviler about your post above, but this isn't an "argument" I'm making. It's a statement of what is the case. I'm not trying to persuade you, or any audience of anything.

I believe "cavil unnecessarily" would make more sense here; "Caviler" is a noun.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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7/8/2014 12:15:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 7:12:24 PM, YYW wrote:
It is a testament to our failed education system that so many fail to understand the difference between these three words. If you know the difference, huzza! You're ahead of the curve. If you think you know the difference, better be sure so you don't look like a dullard when you're talking about these simple concepts with your friends. If you don't know the difference, but at the same time have the temerity to talk about things that you don't have a clue about... know that we are all silently judging you.

This is a source that is FOR THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION, which explains the difference:

http://ncse.com...

And here's what the National Center for Science Education (whose mission is to teach evolution and climate change science) has to say about that issue:

Fact: In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as "true." Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow.

Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.

Law: A descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances.

AND A BONUS:

Hypothesis: A tentative statement about the natural world leading to deductions that can be tested. If the deductions are verified, the hypothesis is provisionally corroborated. If the deductions are incorrect, the original hypothesis is proved false and must be abandoned or modified. Hypotheses can be used to build more complex inferences and explanations.

Guess where they got that awesome series of distinctions?

...this cool place, of course.

The Role of Theory in Advancing 21st Century Biology, National Academy of Sciences
http://dels.nas.edu...

I write this today, because I've seen a debate about whether evolution is a FACT or not.
I've seen commenters, who embarrass themselves and whatever institutions of learning they attended, vehemently defend that evolution is a FACT.

Dear friends, evolution is not a fact. Darwin himself would not claim that evolution is a fact. It is a theory, based on facts.

The word FACT and THEORY are not interchangeable. They do NOT mean the same thing.

The Fool: Now been making competition. Probably in a way that will work against me. For a good for that at least.

In fact I'm quite hesitant to want to explain it because, it may sound absolutely stupid to many people.
And I don't really want to make a fool of myself.
<(8D)

No pun intended.

Here goes nothing.

Many terms, and particularly these terms are in a sense ALIVE... I know that sounds ridiculous.

The meanings are in a sense moving and it all depends where "that" which we were referring to is at in the moment.

For example, a theory, can be,"in fact", a theory.
And a theory can of course become a fact, and something can be a fact and theory at the same time.

The latter is easy to demonstrate, where, I can have a theory that there is a car from my house, and this could have been repeatedly confirmed in the past as well. (Scientifically supported)

But insofar as there is a car for my house, it is also a fact that there is a car in front of my house. And when there are no cars in front of my house, it is no longer a fact. But it can still be a theory, even if a false one.
This is one way in which is moving.

To hold it still you have to increase the use of rigor in your language...Which includes changing, the point of reference in relation to One mind and the next.

For example, to say "in what sense" and "where is it a theory". In my mind, in your mind"?? In the general public? Markers like this help pin down the slipperiness of moving meanings.

The problem arises, when, it is in the best interest for certain group, to be unspecific, and avoid having it pinned down, while it may be in the interest of another group pushing for stronger verification. To be more specific.

And then of course we have social language games...
And most people don't even know when they are doing this.

(I"m telling you this is a serious invisible issue because the majority can control information, by the way they use the language and definitions in certain ways and not others, they can manipulate, exaggerate, repress, and or subordinate certain expressions and information. The topic of evolution is a perfect example.)

Another way in which it is moving, is that, yesterday scientific facts, can fall out of favor, and then fall back in favor, with a few changes depending on new information.

But the general theory, can still hold strong.

So what was a hypothesis, or theory, or a fact, and law, can fall back and, back up the ladder of truth, or trust, if you will.

You could think of these three stages as either, distinct levels, or, continuity of increasing confidence...(as far as I understand this paradox once you all things)
(The law continuity demonstrated by Leibniz (and calculus just happens to be the calculation of continuity, go figure))

Hypothesis--Theory-- Fact--Law

Evolution is a very complex theory, where, it's not something that can be refuted down right, but only little aspects at a time. And when previous findings are disconfirmed, an aspect of the theory may be readjusted, to fit the new information, but it is still generally the theory of evolution.

The biological professor that I know would "consider" it a fact, and that's the most trickiest term of all, "Consider"..

That is the theory is "itself" an evolving and growing theory. For it acts like the Immortals of the Persian army, where when you refute one aspect of the theory, another one will grow in its place, to replace it.

The problems and disagreement usually arise from misunderstanding of what evolution does and does not indicate.

Evolution is best to be taken as, our best understanding of the "history" of life on earth.

It doesn't really explain "how" something happened as opposed to "that" something happened.

For example we can predict quite easily that, a bacteria will evolve and get stronger, if we do not use enough antibiotics to wipe out the entire strain.

Secondly we have no problem, artificially, selecting for certain traits.
Remember we are a natural, part of the environment of everything else.

And so in the game of evolution we are as natural As the birds and the bees selecting for certain flowers and Vice versa.

Against The ideologist

We free spirits"
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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7/8/2014 12:26:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Quick EDIT
*********The Fool: Now I am Probably just making things more complicated then they need to be, in a way that will most likely work against me. For I am good for that at least.

**In fact I'm quite hesitant to explain what I want to explain because it might sound absolutely Absurd to many people,
And I don't really want to make a fool of myself.

<(8D)

No pun intended.

Here goes nothing.

Many terms, and particularly these terms are in a sense ALIVE... I know that sounds ridiculous.

The meanings are in a sense moving and it all depends where "that" which we were referring to is at in the moment.

For example, a theory, can be,"in fact", a theory.
And a theory can of course become a fact, and something can be a fact and theory at the same time.

The latter is easy to demonstrate, where, I can have a theory that there is a car from my house, and this could have been repeatedly confirmed in the past as well. (Scientifically supported)

But insofar as there is a car for my house, it is also a fact that there is a car in front of my house. And when there are no cars in front of my house, it is no longer a fact. But it can still be a theory, even if a false one.
This is one way in which is moving.

To hold it still you have to increase the use of rigor in your language...Which includes changing, the point of reference in relation to One mind and the next.

For example, to say "in what sense" and "where is it a theory". In my mind, in your mind"?? In the general public? Markers like this help pin down the slipperiness of moving meanings.

The problem arises, when, it is in the best interest for certain group, to be unspecific, and avoid having it pinned down, while it may be in the interest of another group pushing for stronger verification. To be more specific.

And then of course we have social language games...
And most people don't even know when they are doing this.

(I"m telling you this is a serious invisible issue because the majority can control information, by the way they use the language and definitions in certain ways and not others, they can manipulate, exaggerate, repress, and or subordinate certain expressions and information. The topic of evolution is a perfect example.)

Another way in which it is moving, is that, yesterday scientific facts, can fall out of favor, and then fall back in favor, with a few changes depending on new information.

But the general theory, can still hold strong.

So what was a hypothesis, or theory, or a fact, and law, can fall back and, back up the ladder of truth, or trust, if you will.

You could think of these three stages as either, distinct levels, or, continuity of increasing confidence...(as far as I understand this paradox once you all things)
(The law continuity demonstrated by Leibniz (and calculus just happens to be the calculation of continuity, go figure))

Hypothesis--Theory-- Fact--Law

Evolution is a very complex theory, where, it's not something that can be refuted down right, but only little aspects at a time. And when previous findings are disconfirmed, an aspect of the theory may be readjusted, to fit the new information, but it is still generally the theory of evolution.

The biological professor that I know would "consider" it a fact, and that's the most trickiest term of all, "Consider"..

That is the theory is "itself" an evolving and growing theory. For it acts like the Immortals of the Persian army, where when you refute one aspect of the theory, another one will grow in its place, to replace it.

The problems and disagreement usually arise from misunderstanding of what evolution does and does not indicate.

Evolution is best to be taken as, our best understanding of the "history" of life on earth.

It doesn't really explain "how" something happened as opposed to "that" something happened.

For example we can predict quite easily that, a bacteria will evolve and get stronger, if we do not use enough antibiotics to wipe out the entire strain.

Secondly we have no problem, artificially, selecting for certain traits.
Remember we are a natural, part of the environment of everything else.

And so in the game of evolution we are as natural As the birds and the bees selecting for certain flowers and Vice versa.

Against The ideologist

We free spirits"
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL