Friday, November 11, 2005

Evolution is just a theory

Yes, and so are Newton's laws of physics. All science is based on theories. A scientific theory can be considered our best explanation to date of how something got the way it is. In some cases, such as chemistry and physics, science can predict what will happen under the right circumstances. For example, if certain chemicals are brought together, what will happen can be predicted by science, because the reason for the reaction is well understood and supported by experiments that have been conducted and verified by independent means.

There are plenty of areas that are still unexplained by science, however. Does that mean that science will not or cannot explain them? Let me just say that many people have gone to their graves without knowing the answer to something that we take for granted today. Questions like "Is the earth flat?" or "How fast does light travel?" were areas that nobody knew the answer to for millenia. I think it is fair to say that there will always be more questions and there will continue to be more answers as time goes by.

Just because a question baffles someone does not mean that it must have a supernatural answer. Assuming a supernatural answer has been a practice for millenia, however, when a scientific answer is either missing or hard to accept. The latest vestige of this is seen in the notion that since there is so much complexity in life that has not been explained by science, it must therefore be the work of one or more "intelligent designers." The intelligent design movement finds the theory of evolution hard to accept, so they are trying to find ways to poke holes in it. What they are not doing is providing an alternative scientific theory.

So what evidence is there that supports evolution as a scientific theory? Start here for more on that topic.