I think that one of the big barriers to understanding between the sides is the different way the word "theory" is used in scientific texts as
opposed to the every day use in English.
In every day use, the word "theory" implies a guess, an untested hypothesis. Something that you believe, but that you don't have enough proof to
call fact yet, and thus something open to casual doubt. We have conspiracy theories
, and work-related theories
and so on.
Science, however, uses the older term of the word. In a scientific context if something is to be considered a "fact" it must be irrefutable. A
scientific fact is not subject to change, revision or question, therefore there are very few things in science called "facts." Even the workings of
gravity are not referred to as "facts."
Let's take a step back, now, to clarify the scientific process. Science, in its most basic form, is a tool for people to classify and understand
the natural world, nothing more. Science can only every be properly used to answer the question "What?"
The scientific process has been summed up in its most basic form by the phrase "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis." In a more expanded way this means
that you start out with an idea of how something works, your hypothesis
. You come up with this hypothesis through observation of the world.
To find out if your hypothesis has any validity, you test it. You first measure what, exactly, is taking place. This gives you a starting place.
Now you change things, small things usually, and see how this affects the outcome. Through this process of experimentation, you determine under what,
if any, conditions your hypothesis is correct.
A hypothesis that seems to hold up under almost every circumstance is considered a theory
. It's not unheard of to question a theory, but
there is a large volume of evidence that's been gathered, usually by multiple people over a great amount of time, that backs up the theory. In spite
of this, theories are reevaluated all the time. College students often hope to make a name for themselves by showing how some pre-existing theory is
incorrect, even a little bit, and then to correct that past mistake.
Unfortunately, science is of absolutely no value when trying to evaluate God or spirituality of any kind. Unless your religion has measurable,
quantifiable results, science cannot "see" it. This does not invalidate science as a tool, any more than your inability to fill a tire with air
using a hammer invalidates the hammer as a tool. As I said earlier, science is created only to address the "What" of things, God encompasses the
None of which should serve to make evolution any more correct in your view. It is your faith that God created the world in a total of 144 hours, and
quite honestly that's fine. I just want to make sure that you, and others reading the thread, understand what science is and is not. Too often in
creation vs evolution "discussions" on the Internet it seems to come down to people yelling either "Science Bad, God Good!" or "God Bad,
Science Good!" Me, I find the conflating expressed in either of those slogans as laughable as someone yelling "Words Bad, Calculus Good!" because
he can't use advanced math to describe a word.
 Not to say, ninki, that you particularly need to have this explained. I just thought it'd be good to define some stuff before the crowd rushes
in and dogpiles you. It's easy to get into arguments online when you misunderstand the way someone's using a word.
 Read: "arguments"
 Yes, I footnote sometimes. I have a Liberal Arts degree, sue me
[edit on 12/16/2004 by Whiskey Jack]