Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Morning Comics #6

Here's another bit of irreverent humour from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, poking fun at the Creationist misuse of 'theory'.  When biologists speak of evolution, they can speak of evolution as a 'fact', by which they are referring to things like experimental evolution in which change in a species is documented and not inferred, and they can speak of evolution as a 'theory', by which they mean that evolution is an explanatory framework which includes and explains, under a unifying whole, a disparate group of facts that had heretofore been considered separate.  Thus the Darwinian theory of evolution explains, among other things, the genetic similarities between all living things; adaptation; biogeography; palaeontology; morphological similarities; homologies; and a whole host of other things.  When Creationists say that evolution is 'just a theory', they mean something very different.  They quote the biologists who use the word theory, but they do not use it in the elevated sense of the biologist; instead they use it in its colloquial sense, as 'sheer speculation' or 'unproven'.  The above comic captures fairly well (and hilariously) the frustration that biologists feel over the consistent misuse of this important word.

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