Re: Evolution and fact

From: John Clark (
Date: Sun Jan 16 2000 - 15:59:26 MST

<> On January 16, 2000 Wrote:

> The problem is not that evolution is a fact. The problem is calling it a
> fact with such finality.

I think it's rather refreshing to call a spade a spade from time to time and
I commend the late great Carl Sagan for doing so. I love critical thinking but if
every statement has a caveat and every caveat has an exception and every
exception has a footnote then communication if not thought is paralyzed.

Monty Python had a skit about that, John Cleese is a highwayman pointing
a gun at a defenseless traveler. Give me all your money or I'll shoot you right
between the eyes. I don't mean I'll hit a point bisecting a line connecting the
center of your two pupils I mean I'll hit you somewhere in the general area
of your forehead because I never miss, that is I seldom miss. See that tree over
there, no not that one the other one, I reckon I could hit it 6 out of 7, ah, 4 out of 5
times. Yes, on a good day, on a good day I could do that. Probably. It's because
I practice every day, almost every day, except when I'm feeling a bit tired, or the
wife is nagging me to fix the plumbing or [...]

>In science calling an explanation, a fact circumvents Popper's solution.

Ah Popper, an amusing fellow but not to be taken seriously.
Philosophers of science are not shy in telling others exactly how to find
knowledge about nature but have never demonstrated any ability to actually
do so themselves. They're sort of like professional movie critics.

And I'm not just talking about biology, Stephen Hawking writes about them in
"Black Holes and Baby Universes":

 "philosophers have mostly not had enough mathematical background to keep
  up with modern developments in theoretical physics. There is a subspecies
  called philosophers of science who ought to be better equipped. But many of
  them are failed physicist who found it too hard to invent new theories and
  so took to writing the philosophy of physics instead. They are still
  arguing about the scientific theories of the early years of this century,
  like relativity and quantum mechanics. They are not in touch with the
  present frontier of physics."

>Darwinism has changed many times, it is not one single idea or "fact."

Obviously, but what does that have to do with the price of eggs?
As I said before things change, the fossil record shows us that Life
evolves and nothing in science has more evidence in its support.

     John K Clark


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