26 October 2009

Theory or Fact?

As I have pointed out before, science starts with observation, repeatable, reliable observations. To most people, such observations are facts. It is undeniable. It is there for the keen eye to see and testify. For the scientists, these are data, factual data.

The sun came out from the East the day before yesterday in Melbourne. The sun came out from the East yesterday in Melbourne. The sun come out from the East today in Melbourne. These threestatements are facts. But for a scientist, these statements are data. So a scientist postulate a theory. The sun comes out from the East. (Note that the time reference and place reference has been removed from this postulate.) Now the scientist will see if this postulate can explain the observed factual data. Yes, it can. So it passes the first test. Now, the scientist will see if this postulate predicts new observations. Yes, it predicts that the Sun will come out tomorrow from the East in Melbourne. So we wait and test if the new observation can be observed as predicted. ... the result will be known tomorrow. It also predicts the sun will come out from any place. But let put that aside to keep the length of this post short.

Meanwhile, this is an overly simplified example of how science works. The example is also overly simplified by not taking into account a number of conditions that may have superficial effects on the observation, e.g. the weather condition. But this is not the point. The point is that when a postulate graduates into a theory, it would have been tested over and over by many many scientists in many many different places at different times. A theory "explains" many observable facts.

When the IDiots say, 'evolution is only a theory, not a fact', my response is "what? what do you mean by ONLY?". Of course, a theory is not A fact! A theory is more than a fact, a theory explains a lot of facts. The correct sentence to show a little knowledge of the scientific process should be evolution is a theory, not only a fact.

To those with compulsorily lying abnormalities, next time when you want to say something about evolution, do not expose your ignorance by saying evolution is only a theory. Saying that will only expose your arrogant ignorance on the subject matter you are trying to say. That weakens your position of argument to the point 'no comment' is a more than enough response. So be warned.

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