Found an interesting post on the Washington Post by Katrina vanden Heuvel lambasting the GOP presidential stumpers for being anti-science.
But, interestingly enough, she’s got it wrong. In the way they deny evolution and climate change, they’re actually correct. Do they mean to be or are they playing a linguistic double game?
Explanation — when Rick Perry says that evolution is a “theory that is out there, there are some gaps in it” guess what?
He’s absolutely correct. Evolution is a theory. There are some gaps in it. That’s WHY it is a theory.
The problem is, in scientific terms, a theory is an explanation for observed data that has not been proved yet — the data is real (all those millions of years of fossils! All those records of species change! All that research that verifies the theory!) but the explanation, since it is not able yet to be proved, is a theory.
Science is full of theories. There is an amazingly large amount of this world we can’t completely understand. Maybe someday we will, but I doubt it. Gravity, for example, is still stumping people. Doesn’t make it less valid.
Perry et al are playing to a crowd who think the word “theory” is synonamous with “wild guess.” That is not the case, but that’s how it is perceived and, perhaps, in their own minds that is how it is or at least they know that is how it is perceived to the crowd they are playing to.
However, if Rick were to sit down with some scientist and debate evolution, that scientist would, also, call evolution a theory, then Perry would, then they’d agree.
Katrina also slams Rick for saying that nobody knows how old the earth is.
If you put it down to hours and minutes, nobody really does know how old the earth is. Time is relative, and in a very real way time is also a social construct, so he’s absolutely correct there as well, as far as he goes. A billion years here or there, nobody knows.
If this leaves some people thinking what Rick REALLY believes is that the planet is only 10,000 years old, well, is that his fault?
ps. People who ask if I “believe in” evolution drive me nuts.
You don’t believe in a theory — a theory is not a matter of faith. It is an explanation. You can accept it or reject it, but if you reject it you need to come up with a better one — and no, you don’t get to say “and then a miracle occurs.”