reply to post by B.A.C.
If a theory is falsified, poof, no more theory.
Er, no... actually. A theory does not go *poof* and disappear until it is replaced by something which better explains the facts. For example, we know
the theory of Gravity is wrong. It was wrong when it consisted merely of Newtonian Mechanics, because it could not account for the orbit of some of
the planets - notably Mercury. We knew it was wrong, but it worked in most all other cases - so we used it a better theory came along, Relativity.
Einstein's theory of Relativity encompassed all of what Newtonian Mechanics had to say about gravity, but also could account for the orbit of
Mercury. However, Relativity isn't perfect either. It assumes certain things about elementary particles which know isn't true, and the disconnect
between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics represents one of the largest gaps in our understanding of known physics.
Does this mean we've discarded the theory of Relativity or Newtonian Mechanics? Not at all.
Even if evidence were presented to prove that our understanding of Evolution is fundamentally flawed, we would still use Evolution until a better
theory were presented to replace it.
Evolution has already had such challenges, because in it's original framework, Darwin had no concept of what inherited information was being passed
down. It was, however, revealed (in part) within his lifetime by the Augustinian Priest Gregor Mendel - known as the father of modern genetics - as
was the first of his predicted transitional fossils: Archaeopteryx. Later discoveries by Watson, Crick, and Franklin confirmed the existence of DNA -
the information that Darwin was searching for. Not to mention the introduction of Genetic Drift by Sewall Wright.
Each piece of the puzzle could have potentially poked major holes in Darwin's theory in the same way that Mercury's orbit highlighted obvious flaws
in Newtonian Mechanics. That didn't happen. Each discovery matched extremely well with Darwin's predictions, albeit augmenting them. The ability to
confirm the evidence of evolution without fundamental contradiction from the bottom up taxonomically, as well as from the top down genetically is why
Evolution is considered a Twin Nested Hierarchy. It's the unifying theory of biology, not because it's been artificially pushed into such a position
or because it's half-assed explanation, but because it ties together multiple different and largely unrelated fields of biology into a cohesive
Is Evolution the final word? We can't say. There could be much more left to discover. However, just because we acknowledge that, does not detract
from the veracity the theory has thus far proven to have. The reason why Evolution is so often touted as fact, despite it's status as theory is
simply because it is absolutely the most comprehensive and most well supported theory in science.
[edit on 27-3-2009 by Lasheic]