Monday, October 08, 2007

Theory not Fact

Over the weekend, we managed to get by the Darwin exhibit at the Field Museum. As you walk in the front door of the museum, you see the great skeletal remains of Sue, the T Rex dinosaur. Somehow, Sue looks older than 6,000 years old.

Here is part of the exhibit's blurb.

"Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is central to science and is the foundation for all modern biology. This exhibition presents the evidence that led Darwin to realize that all life on Earth evolves, over millions of years, from common ancestors. Darwin's notes, along with original fossils and specimens collected during his historic voyage on the Beagle, show how Darwin carefully developed and refined his theories about the evolution of species.

Keenly observing nature in all its forms—from fossil sloths to mockingbirds, primroses to children—Darwin saw that we all are related. Every living thing shares an ancestry, he concluded, and the vast diversity of life on Earth results from processes at work over millions of years and still at work today.

Darwin's explanation for this great unfolding of life through time—the theory of evolution by natural selection—transformed our understanding of the living world, much as the ideas of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the physical universe.

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection underlies all modern biology. It enables us to decipher our genes and fight viruses, and to understand Earth's fossil record and rich biodiversity.

Simple yet at times controversial, misunderstood and misused for social goals, the theory remains unchallenged as the central concept of biology."

Yet, just as it was challenged in 1869, when he finally did publish the "Origin of Species", there are those today who quote "do not believe in Evolution".

The exhibit did a good job of explaining what a theory is. That in Science, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. Rather, a theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence.

Towards the end, one display in the show showed the sticker that was required on Georgia biology books disclaiming the contents inside to be theory not fact.

Another time line showed where Arkansas had its ban on teaching evolution knocked down 9 -0 in the sixties, only to inact another unconstitutional law just a few decades later requiring creationism to be taught in conjuction with the science.

Darwin believed in his theory so much that he married his cousin, a Wedgewood (of pottery fame).He lived a quiet life with his family in the country. He left it to others to defend his ideas.

When he passed, he was buried at Westminster Abbey next to Newton.

When the Republican Presidential candidates were asked about Evolution, three of them said they didn't believe in it. How they explain how that bacterial infection that is no longer responding to antibiotics managed to do that is beyond me, but in the fullness of things, I guess it all makes sense.

Those who don't think we can evolve,


And that's a fact.

Not Theory.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

we can all agree... if you don't believe in evolution... you won't.

p.s. nice shoes.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the books in a US Park Service book store at the Grand Canyon National Park that explain the canyon as a result of Noah's flood. Who would have thought..........actually, they weren't thinking at all.

5:41 PM  

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