The law of Evolution

2009/03/24 § Leave a comment

Calling the processes that led to life via evolution a “theory” causes tremendous confusion amongst non-scientists. As I pointed out previously; the theory of evolution should be called the “law of evolution” for all practical purposes when dealing with laymen.


Evolutionary tree with bacteria blue, archaea green, and eukaryotes red.

Evolutionary tree, with bacteria blue, archaea green, and eukaryotes red.

Two key sentences in that which I want to draw particular attention to: “When scientists use the word theory, it has a different meaning to normal everyday use.” and “In science, a theory is not a guess, not a hunch. It’s a well-substantiated, well-supported,
well-documented explanation for our observations.”

Theory in science doesn’t mean guess… that would be a hypothesis.

Theory is demonstrable and demonstrated. A Theory has undergone strenuous tests and proofs. And is as such considered as fact unless and until proven wrong.

Colloquial use of the word Theory causes never-ending grief for scientists when they try to
explain anything to the press or non-scientific public because people’s brains have been trained to think of theories as extremely uncertain, whereas they are
the opposite in science. (That being said there are also scientists who throw it around clumsily making the situation even worse)

Get over it, Evolution is a fact. Just as much as the theory of general relativity or the older Newtonian version, the theory of gravity are facts.

And similar to this example of the theory of gravity, changes of the law of evolution are going to be of relatively (no pun intended) minor extend. The general direction is set (because very well proven). The law of evolution has an astounding explanatory power, as any great “theory” of science should have.

Just accept it, evolution is not going to disappear or becoming wrong just because your ideological world view requires so.

If you are a creationist and struggle to accept this fact, I recommend reading several books written by Richard Dawkins about the topic. If you then still struggle study biology, preferably molecular biology and genetics for 18 or 19 terms, that helped me a lot… 😛


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