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Creationism: If it's supernatural it's not science

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Image credit: Julia Margaret Cameron
Image credit: Julia Margaret Cameron
National media attention focused on suburban Cobb County, Ga., last week as a federal court heard constitutional challenges to a school district policy requiring that a biology textbook carry this disclaimer: "Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things.

This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

news icon View: Full Article | Source: LA Times

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Shadowsleet

It's because the average person doesn't know what "theory" means...scientists can talk to each other and use the world theory, without having an need to worry about it being misinterpretted.

"Theory" is not the same as saying evolution is a "proposition", or a "guess". Gravity is scientifically classified as a theory, but nobody's going to claim it might not exist, are they? tongue.gif The unfortunate fact is that, thanks to creationists, who seem to delight in twisting the truth on this matter, the average person thinks that saying evolution is a theory somehow casts doubt on its validity.

Scientists are, obviously, not stupid: the attempt at adding in this disclaimer is the church's sad and pathetic way of hoping children will not believe the facts written beside it.

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Elvite

If the students are encourage to approach the subject "with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered", what's the problem? I would think scientists would want kids to do that. It sounds like a scientific approach to me.

This disclaimer sounds like an attempt to appease both sides, which I think is a great thing. If indeed evolution is a "fact", then any open minded kid would see that. Right? Are the scientists afraid that evolution won't stand up when being studied carefully or critically considered? Doesn't make sense.

Calling evolution a fact is a bit of a stretch. There are holes in the theory of evolution. There is a lot of supposition to fill in the gaps. That doesn't mean that it isn't true, in and of itself, but it is stupid arrogance to say that it is 100% fact. If you can't demonstrate it as 100% fact, then it isn't. The same thing applies to math theory, doesn't it? I don't think it can ever be considered fact, at least not in this coming century. There's still much more work to be done to fill in all those gaps. Frankly, I'm not certain that anything short of H.G. Wells time machine could do that.

Personally, I don't want my kids to mindlessly accept everything a school tells them as truth. If it's true, it will hold up to any test. Mindless acceptance is called indoctrination.

Edited by Elvite

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Great Big Sea

Let the kids create their own beliefs on this who cares if they want to put a disclaimer

in the books?

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blazer2004

this has nothing to do with the kids people are just saying the truth

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aquatus1
If the students are encourage to approach the subject "with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered", what's the problem? I would think scientists would want kids to do that. It sounds like a scientific approach to me.

The problem is in the way it is approached. "Theory" has a scientific definition, and a common use definition. What the creationists are proposing is to use the common use definition as the scientific one, and that is bad science (to say nothing of grammar). The reason for multiple definitions in a dictionary is not to provide variety, but to provide precision. If you are using a term in science, then you must use the scientific definition, not the common use definition.

This disclaimer sounds like an attempt to appease both sides, which I think is a great thing. If indeed evolution is a "fact", then any open minded kid would see that. Right? Are the scientists afraid that evolution won't stand up when being studied carefully or critically considered? Doesn't make sense.

That is actually the problem. Science is not done by compromise. Science is not done by vote. Science is not done by law. To call a theory, any theory, a "fact" is a demonstration of how easily science can be misunderstood. The definitions used by the layman are so different than the definitions used by scientists that to attempt to mix the two would result in utter and complete confusion for the student. The fear isn't wether evolution will stand up to investigation, but rather that the students will not learn how to investigate scientifically in the first place.

Calling evolution a fact is a bit of a stretch. There are holes in the theory of evolution. There is a lot of supposition to fill in the gaps. That doesn't mean that it isn't true, in and of itself, but it is stupid arrogance to say that it is 100% fact. If you can't demonstrate it as 100% fact, then it isn't.

Exactly. Unfortunately, thanks in no small part to creationist propaganda, the common person thinks that science calls theories "facts" and considers everything to be "100% true". Allowing creationists to continue this disinformation by plastering misdirection on textbooks will not help the situation at all.

Let the kids create their own beliefs on this who cares if they want to put a disclaimer in the books?

As a science teacher, I would be particularly insulted if somebody without the slightest idea of what constitutes proper scientific research, methodology, or at the very least vocabulary, waltzed into my classroom and began telling me how to teach science.

As for letting kids create their own beliefs, heck, that's like saying "let kids learn to drive by themselves". There is a specific way in which a vehicle has to be driven, and specific rules which must be followed. The same holds true of science. Science is not a belief system, in which pretty much anything goes. Science is a methodology, a specific sequence of events used to verify the credibility and verifiability of a phenomena. It is a recipe for discerning fact. It can, unlike belief systems, be done incorrectly.

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STIX

How about putting a disclaimer on the cover of every bible in the world!?

Disclaimer: the contents of this book are just an interpretation of events, in no way should you consider these events true or false.

Its not a fact that creationism exists, its not even a theory, its an interpretation of events by different witnesses. In my opinion creationism is supported by no evidence whatsoever, if you took eyewitness accounts as proof of everything then things like bigfoot, the loch ness monster, aliens, ghosts, giant lizard creatures, vampires, and even zombies exist.

It is an attempt to discredit the theory of evolution, not darwinism...evolution is a simple idea of one creature changing to become another similar creature...regardless of how it happens, thats the theory in question...and there is tons of evidence to support it too.

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Stellar

A theory, the ruff equivalent of a "hunch!" A HUCH!? WTF are they smoking?

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Scorpius

The gaps of evolution can be filled in with mutations. Darwinism, holds some truth in it as does evolution, but if we smother ourselves with the concept of evolution we fail to see the bigger picture and the details that go with it.

Evolution would be the bigger picture and mutations would be the details. Hows that for science!

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Elvite
Calling evolution a fact is a bit of a stretch. There are holes in the theory of evolution. There is a lot of supposition to fill in the gaps. That doesn't mean that it isn't true, in and of itself, but it is stupid arrogance to say that it is 100% fact. If you can't demonstrate it as 100% fact, then it isn't.

Exactly. Unfortunately, thanks in no small part to creationist propaganda, the common person thinks that science calls theories "facts" and considers everything to be "100% true".

So what you are saying is that science doesn't call theories "facts" and does not consider them to be "100% true". In other words, "Evolution is a theory, not a fact". Both you, I, and that disclaimer are all saying the same thing.

In case you misspoke, I wanted to encourage you to look at it from the other side. You are thinking that common people (I guess you mean non-scientists) don't understand what theory means. Perhaps scientists do not understand what common people consider to be fact. A fact is 100% correct, meaning that it contains 0% error.

It would appear that you agree with me that there are problems with evolution which have yet to be accounted for, (meaning that the it very well may contain errors). The fact that scientists are adding new parts to it and disproving other parts of it makes this self-evident. Also, there is a certain amount of conjecture or supposition within parts of evolutionary theory, (some of which may have been influenced by a person's beliefs or world view), for which there is not enough evidence to prove that part correct or wrong.

Because of this and many other things, evolution can not yet or may not ever be fully capable of being called a fact. That's exactly what this disclaimer expresses. Saying it's not a fact doesn't mean that they are saying it is 100% wrong, just that it is not 100% correct and that students should examine all the evidence.

I think too many people are trying to read between the lines of this disclaimer. No where within it does it say that students should also consider creationism or even the existence of God. Sounds like there's a few elitists out there who need to get off their high horse.

I can't see what the big problem is. Any scientist worth anything would admit that within any theory there is the chance that it may be discredited some day. Thank goodness someone took on the Theory of Spontaneous Generation and proved it wrong. Thank goodness someone was brave enough to take on the Flat Earth Theory. Thank goodness guys like Einstein and Hawking proved that Newton's "Law of Gravity" was not entirely accurate and does not take into consideration what occurs inside Black Holes.

In fact, even today various theories are proven wrong or incomplete all the time. That's why they are called theories. This is why evolution is a Theory and not a Fact. Because it is not proven to be 100% accurate, even scientists must have a certain amount of (gulp) faith.

Edited by Elvite

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Panthera leo atrox

I like the idea of the disclaimer thumbsup.gif

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Shaftsbury
If you can't demonstrate it as 100% fact, then it isn't.

Creationists have had over 2000 years to try and prove their theory as fact, and have failed to do so to my understanding, so why is it that I never see any disclaimers on any of their documents that they hand out so freely?

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Stellar

You cant demonstrate anything as 100% fact. Try to prove to me that you exist.

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Elvite
If you can't demonstrate it as 100% fact, then it isn't.

Creationists have had over 2000 years to try and prove their theory as fact, and have failed to do so to my understanding, so why is it that I never see any disclaimers on any of their documents that they hand out so freely?

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No creationist or evolutionist has to put a disclaimer in the book they write. It's their book and they can do what they want. However, if an institution feels it necessary to clarify their position on a subject while not misrepresenting or otherwise slandering that subject, they should be free to put a disclaimer in themselves or require it to be placed in the book before they purchase it. Not that this will ever happen, but if a public school started handing out Creationism books and put a similar disclaimer to it, I wouldn't have a problem that disclaimer either.

This school district worded their disclaimer in a very neutral fashion. They didn't even mention creationism, God, or seeking out any alternatives to evolution. They made a truthful statement and encouraged the education process. Big Crime!

You cant demonstrate anything as 100% fact. Try to prove to me that you exist.

372465[/snapback]

Well then, saying that "Evolution is a theory, not a fact" is quite an appropriate remark. Thanks for backing me up.

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DarkSinister

I agree, how could we possibly single out evolution and place a disclaimer on it and not do the same to the bible? You don't find scientist going to church demanding that one is placed on the bible. I feel that creationist are threaten and they're doing anything possible to stop the teaching of evolution. Why can't creationist preach what they want in church and leave religion out of the school system? How fair would it be for all the nonbeliever in Christ and God. I mean if they have so much faith in it, why would they be so threaten that something may disprove it?

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aquatus1
So what you are saying is that science doesn't call theories "facts" and does not consider them to be "100% true". In other words, "Evolution is a theory, not a fact". Both you, I, and that disclaimer are all saying the same thing.

No, we are not. We are using the same words, but we are not saying anywhere near the same thing.

"Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

If one is a scientist, this statement is so redundant that it is absurd. This statement is not meant for scientists, however. This statement is meant for laymen, and to the layman the word "theory" does not carry anywhere near the power that it does for a scientist.

To a scientist, the word "theory" means that this is a formal explanation of the cause and effect of natural and explained forces in the known universe resulting in a specific and predicted phenomena. This is a formula, designed specifically to explain how a series of elements come together time and time again, repeatedly and reliably, and consistantly result in the same conclusion. A theory has five very specific qualities, and lacking any one of the five renders it completely and totally invalid. Theories are not facts; facts are individual elements of data that make up theories. Theories are not 100% accurate, or they violate Falsifiability. This does not, however, make them unreliable. The Pythagorean Theorum is completely falsifiable, yet it has not, not in the entire history of mathematics, ever been shown to be incorrect. In short, the word theory, to a scientist, means nothing less than an explanation that has yet to be proven incorrect, and that has reliably and consistently provided answers to the questions it was created to explain.

To a layman, a theory is a hunch dreamed up around the watercooler, as worthy of explaining the cosmos as it is the bewildering antics of the opposite sex.

This disclaimer was very carefully crafted, but not for neutrality. This disclaimer takes the layman meaning of the word "theory": a hunch, and reinforces the unimportance of it by layering on top a strong warning that, should anyone be tempted to think so, it is most definitely not a fact, i.e. something true. It then attempts to sound fair and humble by dropping the "open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.", by extension implying that anyone who does not agree with this disclaimer is guilty of those crimes.

I think too many people are trying to read between the lines of this disclaimer. No where within it does it say that students should also consider creationism or even the existence of God. Sounds like there's a few elitists out there who need to get off their high horse.

Let's not be coy. Creationism is about nothing less than the Judeo-Christian God. Other creation stories need not apply. This disclaimer is an attempt by the creationists to leach off the authority and credibility of science without doing any of the work or meeting any of the requirements. Yes, this is a creationist tactic to discredit science; in fact, it is the only creationist tactic, because creationism has not, not in the thousands of years it has existed, nor in the less than 500 years since science first began, been able to meet the requirements that scientific methodology demands of every single one of its theories. And because it cannot, it attempts to drag science down to the unverifiable level in which it dwells.

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blazer2004

cant you guys get over this we was created by god thats all there is to it

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aquatus1

Who created us is irrelevant. We aren't talking about wether God exists or not. We are talking about an attempt by creationists to discredit the scientific process. Don't try to misdirect the topic.

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blazer2004

lol why you wana fight with scientists you know they have to be always right it is useless

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Shadowsleet

Aquatus...I feel almost like you've reached inside my head...pulled out my thoughts...and organised them into a far better worded version than I had said on the first page tongue.gif

This disclaimer was very carefully crafted, but not for neutrality. This disclaimer takes the layman meaning of the word "theory": a hunch, and reinforces the unimportance of it by layering on top a strong warning that, should anyone be tempted to think so, it is most definitely not a fact, i.e. something true. It then attempts to sound fair and humble by dropping the "open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.", by extension implying that anyone who does not agree with this disclaimer is guilty of those crimes.

I wonder if the arguement by Elvite attempting to hammer home the "theory not fact" concept isn't proof enough that this is exactly what creationists think, and wanted to imply with the disclaimer in question? huh.gif

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Stellar
Well then, saying that "Evolution is a theory, not a fact" is quite an appropriate remark. Thanks for backing me up.

My point was that other things are called fact and nothing is 100% true. A fact doesnt have to be 100% true, cuz theres always some way imaginable to make it wrong... it just has to be true beyond all reasonable doubt.

lol why you wana fight with scientists you know they have to be always right it is useless

Oh please shut up already.

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blazer2004

why does that make you mad because its the truth??

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Shadowsleet

You know, I think we scientists should start a smear campaign of our own, in retaliation of this ridiculous disclaimer…”don’t believe in creationism, it may cause brain damage!”…Blazer can be our poster boy tongue.gif

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Stellar
why does that make you mad because its the truth??

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No, it makes me mad because all you ever do is come to a thread where people are actually conversing and discussing the subject, and you start saying useless crap that no one really cares about, and that you dont even understand.

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blazer2004

rofl yes i understand it im not that dumb ya know tongue.gif i know what yall are talking about ok

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