Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Truth in Science Initiative


“CARSON CITY — Longtime Las Vegan Steve Brown does not oppose the teaching of evolutionary theory in the public schools. Nor does he support teaching alternative views such as intelligent design or creationism.

But Brown, a masonry contractor who has lived in Las Vegas for more than 30 years, does want the schools to teach the theory of evolution in what he calls the right way, which means acknowledging that much of the theory is just that — theory…”

More here.


isn't everything in science "a theory?" IMO this is another case of a layperson confusing the two different meanings of the word theory. He also calls it the "truth in science" initiative. This just feels creepy and I can't quite explain why.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Sometimes science that can't be demonstrated or empirically verified is called theoretical. Biology can be separated into two broad categories - modern and historical. Modern biology is an experimental science involved with the study of living tissue. Historical biology is a theoretical science mostly involved with the study of imprints left in rock and other indirect fragments. NAS scientist Phil Skell puts it bluntly in this interview:

2. Do you believe in evolution (i.e., common descent of all life on Earth through random mutations and natural selection)?

Evaluating it as a scientist, I see very little scientific evidence supporting it; it is not an unreasonable speculation.

3. How has your work specifically in antibiotics affected your views on evolution?

Reflection on it many years later failed to reveal any occasion when historical biology was part of the considerations about how to proceed.

4. You have spoken about a “historical biology” being separate from an “experimental biology.” Could you please elaborate on the distinction?

Modern biology is engaged in examining the structures and functions of tissues from live organisms; it is the most prolific and important branch of all the sciences. Historical biology has only the minuscule fragments of our ancestors, fossils, for examination. They are stones, not tissues. The geologists provide a reasonable time line, but minuscule evidence about their function, zero evidence for the “transit” from one species to another. The claim for “mountains of evidence” is a disingenuous lie. The modern biology, demonstrably, makes no use of the historical biology; at times the historical is an encumbrance on the modern.

Historical evolution is a "theory" in a manner different from experimental chemistry, physics, geology, and other "hard" sciences. -ds

The term "theory" actually denotes a basis in reality and that it has been tested many times and found to be consistent. So I guess it depends on what component they're labeling "just a theory". Patrick
Now, what could be more reasonable than that? Mats

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