Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel explains:
Our best theories, like the aforementioned theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, and Einstein’s General Relativity, cover all of these bases. They have an underlying quantitative framework, enabling us to predict what will happen under a variety of situations, and to then go out and test those predictions empirically. So far, these theories have demonstrated themselves to be eminently valid. Where their predictions can be described by mathematical expressions, we can tell not only what should happen, but by how much. For these theories in particular, among many others, measurements and observations that have been performed to test these theories have been supremely successful. More.
“Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution” (Siegel)? In the current environment, this is so ridiculous, it’s hard to know where to begin responding (which is probably the point of the exercise)*. The only things “eminently valid” about “evolution” today are obvious facts like an assortment of evidence, “everything changes” (see Heraclitus, millennia ago) and “over time, those fittest to survive do” (tautology).
Right. Never mind “proof.” Things that are even more basic, like evidence, are becoming dismissible when push come to shove (and these days, it does).
I (O’Leary for News) was at lunch with a friend the other day. She pointed out that the way post-modernism works is to demand equal belief in contradictory streams of nonsense. The way it is shaping up in science, it seems to mean, among other things, treating truisms and tautologies as if they required belief—probably so that large amounts of undemonstrable stuff can suddenly be swapped in unnoticed: “Evolution,” seen as the mere existence of a past (“fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution”) is suddenly swapped in as support for whatever neo-Darwinian orthodoxy claims, however poorly sourced.
Of course, it’s true that “scientific proof” is a myth, as Siegel insists. There are no proofs outside mathematics. But there are varying degrees of credibility. And the space between textbook evolution and the Big Bang is astronomically large. Which is the probable reason the two are grouped together in an article like this. The people who hate the well-evidenced Big Bang tend to love the poorly evidenced neo-Darwinian theory of evolution (the only one anyone seems to care about). This din is likely to get louder.
See also: Another axe lying at the root of the Tree of Life
The Big Bang: Put simply,the facts are wrong.
Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.
What the fossils told us in their own words