The Evolution Of Theory Essay

727 words - 3 pages

There is a monkey in your family tree. Whether that is fact or theory, and the difference, Stephen Jay Gould explains in, “Evolution as Fact and Theory”, which appeared in the May 1981 issue of Discover Magazine. Mr. Gould was described by the New York Times as, “one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century” (Yoon). He wants to show how the creationist's have built their argument against evolution on sand, and the evolutionist’s argument built on solid rock, as any paleontologist would prefer. It is a war of words, where their meaning, use and misuse, determine on which side you stand. His argument is not perfect, but using lack of perfection as evidence of evolution, he makes the case quite convincingly.
It is unlikely the two sides of this debate will ever reach agreement as long as they give the same words different meanings. Gould tells us the difference between theory and facts by stating that facts are data, and, “theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts” (439). Scientists accept evolution as fact, by an overwhelming majority. He points out that the theory is “the mechanisms by which evolution occurred” (439). Gould lets us know that the debate in the scientific community is about the mechanism, not whether evolution occurred, as some creationists have claimed.
Creationists have stated that creation is a scientific theory, which should be given the same consideration as evolution. Science uses falsifiability as one way to test theories. The logic being that you cannot prove something true if there is no way to prove it is false. According to Gould, “Scientific Creationism”, cannot be proved false. He quotes Duane Gish, Ph.D., “creationism’s leading intellectual”, from his book, “Evolution? The Fossils Say No!", “We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processed used by the Creator.” (440) Thomas Henry Huxley, in his article, Evolution and Ethics, said, “There may be positive empirical evidence for some passages in sacred texts, but the belief that they are the word of the divine is just that: belief, not empirically falsifiable fact” (445).
In contrast, Gould...

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