Sunday, February 18, 2007

Is Evolution Even a Theory?

Not to sound like a nut, but this site got me thinking: If a "theory" can be considered a scientific fact when it is supported by substantial evidence, then sure, micro-evolution is a theory, but what to make of macro-evolution? Last I checked, everytime scientists get excited about finding some intermediary skeletal remains, it winds up being Miss Piggy or something else. Am I wrong, or is macro-evolution simply not supported by facts, but almost entirely by hypothesis?

No, seriously, I'd like to know.


  1. As a science geek, I'll do my best to explain this, and as "nutshell" as possible (I could go on for days...):
    There is almost no such thing as a scientific fact. For something to be a scientific fact, it essentially has to be proved that it will never be untrue. Even GRAVITY is not a scientific fact, because we don't fully understand how it works.
    A theory is a hypothesis that is logical and testable, has been tested and has experimental support, and has not been disproven. Micro-evolution is still a theory, not a scientific fact. There are tons of experiments with results that show micro-evolution makes sense, but it still could be disproven by finding another reason.
    A hypothesis is just a question that can be tested through experiment. That's it. A hypothesis can be as simple as "Is the sky blue?" Then test it by looking outside, using a spectrometer to measure the light waves coming off of the atmosphere, etc. So macro-evolution is certainly more than only a hypothesis, and there are elements to support it; it's a theory. There is a logic to it, it's testable as archeology digs deeper, and it can be disproven. Does that help?

  2. It seems like there's a spectrum. On the left you have a mere untested hypothesis. On the right, you have "scientific fact." But since you can never truly prove anything, that's kind of like "as x approaches infinity." But somewhere in between, does the hypothesis, through sufficient testing, attain the level of "theory"? If so, my question is: has macro-evolution attained "theory" status?