How often have you heard theists say this? Personally I hear it at least 5 times a week. while walking around my college campus with atheist and evolution shirts I'm often stopped and asked about my belief. example one shirt I have says " Fine, I evolved, you didn't", so sometimes I spark quite interesting discussions on campus. Now as a scientist I am often insulted when people say "Evolution is only a theory" for 2 reasons.

 

1) They don't actually know what a theory is.

2) Because they don't know what a theory is, they don't recognize that theories are more important than facts.

 

Now the scientific definition of a theory is "the analysis of a set of facts". Meaning logical, observable and scientific procedures are used to conclude based on FACTS that a method should be called a theory. Evolution is a theory, yes, but that just means it is several facts put together in a logical format. So the next time a christian or theist says "evolution is only a theory" simply ask them what a theory is, then explain to them what it actually is.

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Tags: atheism, darwin, evolution, theory

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Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 20, 2011 at 3:06pm

@Jim I agree. But guaging your opponent in these "debates" is very crucial. I usually tackle the issue of IC by showing that "half a wing/half an eye is better than none at all". If a partially evolved specie, a bird for example, has half a wing of course that sucks. However, that half of wing can be the difference between gliding off the top of a tree escaping death or slamming into the ground. If a specie has half an eye, or an eye that is not fully functional it can determine enough to escape perilous situations. If a cataract patient's lens is removed from their eyes, they can still see enough to avoid bumping into walls. After this, natural selection comes into play an enables the specie to adapt hence forming a fully functional wing, fully functional eye etc. I've encountered some "smart" creationist who attempt to use the IC argument but they actually do not fully understand it. Creationists tend to think if all the elements are not there then the system is nonoperational which is really not the case. thnkx for your reply!

 

Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 20, 2011 at 2:57pm

@Antonio,

My comment was directed at the "Irreducible Complexity" proponents who present arguments, which to the low information audience, seem completely reasonable if not irrefutable evidence of a “creator”. They are arguments that are difficult for the average educated Atheist to counter without a reasonably good background in evolutionary biology.
As a retired biology teacher of 30 years I've seen, even among other biology teachers, a very weak understanding of the basics of evolutionary biology. And, if the fundis have their way even fewer will understand those basics. An educated population is not fertile ground for the authoritarian point of view to flourish.

Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 20, 2011 at 1:48am
However, caution must be shown when entering this category. Creationists love to talk about "Irreducible Complexity", that these developments would not serve any purpose. But they are totally misguided. I often find that the people who debate against evolution are those that do not understand neither the concepts, theory or facts. Natural selection is a proven way to understand life, and from whence it came.
Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 20, 2011 at 1:43am
Yep, its as i said, the Dorudon fossil shows this link. The fossil shows the development of hind legs resembling a "hoof-footed" mammal. The basilosaurus fossil also show these developments.
Comment by Roswatheist on May 20, 2011 at 1:38am
I meant as an example of something that would look like a transition between a cow and a whale.
Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 19, 2011 at 10:08pm
@JIM there are no ultimate loopholes in evolution, no matter how effortlessly they try to discredit it. There is a reason it is the accepted view of 97% of the scientific community. @DORIS The Dorudon fossil which has been found and documented shows the link between whales and walking mammals. The dorudon were fully aquatic whales with hind legs projected slightly from their body wall. This is just one of the many transitional forms presented as evidence for evolution.
Comment by Roswatheist on May 19, 2011 at 8:10pm
I used a very good living transition argument today at work. Not sure if it's accurate. I do know that whales and cows are related and said so, using the useless hind limbs as an example. But I said that seals are probably like something in between a cow and a whale.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 19, 2011 at 4:48pm

Another tact is to act very interested and ask' "what part of the theory do you think is wrong, that is, after all, what scientist are always looking for".  I doubt you will get much more than, "well.. er...uh..you know the eye thing and the..uh..tail things on ..uh...amoebas” The really bright ones might mention the thermodynamics ...er..uh.. thing – you know.
Let them demonstrate their clueless ignorance freely and try not to giggle.

Comment by Roswatheist on May 18, 2011 at 8:14pm
Yeah, Miller, but I'm tired of using that line.
Comment by Loren Miller on May 18, 2011 at 7:44pm
Yeah, evolution is only a theory ... and so is gravity, general and special relativity, germ theory of disease ... and probably a few thousand others....

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