Evolution Confusion [1]

Note: This was a detailed response to post about evolution. The post contained a lot of common misconceptions, so I wanted to take the opportunity to try dispelling them.

Evolution: A Modern Paradox

In today’s culture, evolution has permeated people’s worldview and has changed science into a new meaning.

As far as I understand, the definition of science has not changed as a result of the discovery of evolution. What is the older meaning that has been supplanted, and with what newer meaning?

Evolution is a matter of faith, certainly not scientific fact, because there is no solid proof supporting the theory. No one was there to see what really happened, and it contradicts proven scientific law.

Actually evolution is a matter of scientific fact. Your confusion comes from the extremely common misunderstanding of what science does. Science does not prove anything. Ever. The scientific method is a process where observations are made and models are proposed to explain these observations. These models are also known as hypotheses.

For any given set of observations there can be many different hypotheses that explain the data. Some hypotheses might seem more reasonable than others, but you cannot prove that any one of them are correct, though you can certainly prove some wrong. So the scientific method continues by collecting more data and trying to determine which hypotheses best fit the new data.

This is where experiments come in. Not all science is experimental, since experiments are things where conditions are manipulated by people. We simply can’t manipulate anything we want (like in evolution where we can’t go back in time, and astronomy/cosmology where we can’t manipulate giant, distant bodies). Experiments are useful because they allow us to throw out alternative hypotheses that don’t shed any light on the data.

For example, let’s say you wanted to decide if beer bread made with dark beer tastes better than that made with light beer. I hypothesize that dark is better, based on the fact that I think dark beer tastes better (taste of beer is the data). So, I need to collect beer bread taste data.

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