Evolution: A fact and a theory

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Is Evolution a Theory or a Fact?

In a recent book titled “Science, Evolution, and Creationism”, the Committee on Revising Science and Creationism (A View from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies), explains why evolution is both a fact and a theory. Although these distinctions have caused much confusion amongst creationists who insist that we teach alternative theories of evolution, the simple fact is that there exist no alternative theories. And while a skeptic attitude is important in science, skepticism is reduced when the facts end up supporting the theory time after time and when the theory can be used to make successful predictions.

It is both. But that answer requires looking more deeply at the meanings of the words “theory” and “fact.” In everyday usage, “theory” often refers to a hunch or a speculation. When people say, “I have a theory about why that happened,” they are often drawing a conclusion based on fragmentary or inconclusive evidence.

The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.

Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the Sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics).

Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously.

One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed. For example, the theory of gravitation predicted the behavior of objects on the Moon and other planets long before the activities of spacecraft and astronauts confirmed them. The evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik (see page 2) predicted that they would find fossils intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial animals in sediments that were about 375 million years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction made on the basis of evolutionary theory. In turn, confirmation of a prediction increases confidence in that theory.

In science, a “fact” typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term “fact” to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.

32 Comments

my theory is that this article will be quote-mined to prove that the “Theory” of Evolution is being presented as dogmatic “fact” by the Evilutionists. Dan

Dan,

That was sort of my reaction to seeing this article. PvM, please clarify: Given that there is already an article announcing this book (New NAS book on Evolution and Creationism), are we preaching to the choir, baiting quote mines, or trolling for trolls?

More info (and perhaps slightly more clarity) here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evo[…]on-fact.html

This particular essay talks about evolution being a fact, where “evolution” refers to the fact that biological entities have changed over time.

It also describes the theory of evolution, i.e. the theory that explains the fact of evolution.

I think it is also fair to say that the conclusions drawn using evolutionary theory are treated by biologists as fact. For instance, common descent and the conservation of critical stretches of protein sequence are treated as fact by biologists. And so on.

Grrr. Why do we employ these prestigious committees when they output such nonsense? The bit about being supported by a vast body of evidence is just plain wrong. One _hopes_ that a theory will come to be so supported, but it’s not definitional. A theory is a logically structured attempt at an explanation, period. If it’s falsified first thing out of the gate, it’s a failed theory, but not a non-theory.

Mark, I am afraid that you are the one spouting nonsense. Your lack of understanding of the state of evolutionary science is showing.

Mark wrote:

“A theory is a logically structured attempt at an explanation, period. If it’s falsified first thing out of the gate, it’s a failed theory, but not a non-theory.”

Please specify in detail how your definition of a “theory” differs from your definition of a hypothesis and a prediction. Which definition fits modern evolution best? Which definition (if any) fits creationism best?

Just to leave a comment, for any further Creationists.

Evolution=Fact: Species change over time. You can whine about the ‘difference’ between Macro and Micro evolution. But doesn’t change the proven fact(s)..(many of them, lots of facts) that species change over time and sometimes become new species. The data is there, proven fact. Get used to it. ‘Gaps’ in the evidence are about as wide as the ‘gaps’ in the evidence for gravity. If you can’t afford a few books, read Wikipedia…seriously.

Theory Of Evolution=Our(‘Our’ meaning the human race) best guess on exactly how this happens. ‘Best guess’ involves natural selection, genetics, molecular biology and a buncha other stuff involving higher mathematics that I don’t understand. The Theory of Evolution is an attempt at an explanation for the FACT of evolution.

Sorry to all regulars for the rant. I know everyone else has said it 1000 times, but sometimes we all need to unleash.

Gravity=Fact. Things fall down.

Theory Of Gravity=Our best guess on HOW. Involving bending the fabric of spacetime, and again with the higher mathematics I don’t understand.

Same thing with Evolution. The FACT is we KNOW living creatures change over time(as species, not individuals…and somehow some people never grasp the difference), the THEORY is our attempt at explaining HOW.

And no, Goddidit is not a better theory.

I’m always looking for ways to communicate the Fact/Theory issue to scientifically less educated friends in a simple way that engages further discussion. How about the old television announcers line:

The Fact of Evolution. Brought to you by: The Darwinian Theory of Evolution.

I’ve stopped using “theory of evolution” in my classes. I now teach that evolution is a directly observable natural phenomenon. Because it is directly observable, it is a fact. The theories that explain evolution are “the Theory of Natural Selection” and “the Theory of Sexual Selection” and “the Theory of Common Descent”. I explain that other scientists sometimes confusingly call this last theory “the theory of evolution”, but that I will avoid that name for clarity.

Vaughn

I don’t think this explanation is as clear as it should be. At the start they define theory as “explanation.” This is correct.

Later on they say,

However, scientists also use the term “fact” to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples.

This is not right. The explanation (e.g., Evolutionary Theory) is not the fact of evolution as I tried to explain in my essay Evolution Is a Fact and a Theory.

I’m also a bit upset that the authors of Science, Evolution, and Creationism don’t make a clear distinction between evolution and natural selection [Teaching IDiots About Evolution]. This book isn’t nearly as good as I though it was when I first looked at it.

txjak: “Mark, I am afraid that you are the one spouting nonsense. Your lack of understanding of the state of evolutionary science is showing.”

You seem to have misunderstood. I didn’t say or imply anything about the state of evolutionary science. As it happens I’m satisfied that evolutionary science is as solid as it gets. My claim is that in the real world, scientists don’t use the word according to pretentious definitions like the above, so a reference to evolution as a theory is no more an endorsement in practice than it is a criticism.

DS: Please specify in detail how your definition of a “theory” differs from your definition of a hypothesis and a prediction.”

MB: I would say that a theory is a logically structured explanation, implicitly or explicitly in terms of clear axioms with clear logical consequences. I would say that a prediction is a potentially observable implication of a theory (or of a theory plus some data constraining the free variables of the theory), which is not present in a question begging way in the axioms of the theory. I would say that a hypothesis is an untested theory (especially a smaller, less complicated theory), or a theory in the context of being tested.

Note that it’s not that I think that there’s some profound reason why the words _should_ be used that way, it just appears to me that that how they _are_ used, and there’s only so much lip service I’ll pay to aspirational definitions that nobody actually takes any notice of.

DS: Which definition fits modern evolution best? Which definition (if any) fits creationism best?

MB: I would say evolution is a theory, and moreover a well-tested and uncontroversially accepted theory (at least in scientific circles), and thus also a scientific fact.

I would say that generic creationism is not a theory because it makes no true predictions, i.e., things that haven’t been smuggled in as axioms after it was known what needed to predicted. An omnipotent God has no logical consequences - to imply potentially observable things, you have to add some axioms about things that the God _wanted_, like a universe with three dimensions of space and one of time and … and fjords and … two-legged intelligent life forms. I could go on about more particular forms of creationism but hopefully you get the idea.

It seems to me, folks, that there is a large amount of agreement in the underlying concepts, but that we are debating the language used to express that.

I do not believe this new book chapter adds much beyond what already existed. In fact, by going on about the way scientists treat theories as “fact”, it is bound to cause some confusion in some readers.

Evolution is a fact. Biological entities have changed over time. Before we had radioisotope dating, the relative ages of different rock strata were determined by stratigraphy. This is the comparison of the different assemblages of fossils that occur in the different strata. Thus, Devonian rocks have one characteristic assemblage of fossils, Ordovician another characteristic assemblage, and so on. It is undeniable fact that organisms once lived that no longer exist, and that most organisms alive now did not exist in the distant past (NB their ancestors, however, must have existed in the distant past).

The fact of evolution is explained by the theory of evolution. To my way of thinking, the theory of evolution comprises a set of hypotheses that, together, make a coherent explanation. All of these hypotheses have been confirmed to greater or lesser extents. These represent the mechanisms by which biological change occurs (natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, genetic drift, sexual selection et al.).

Common descent can actually be deduced from molecular genetic evidence (entirely independently of the theory of evolution). I regard common descent as a hypothesis that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

However, my encounters with the actual science indicate that scientists do not bother to divide the theory into different categories during their day-to-day work. So, such things as common descent are treated as fact. Natural selection is treated as a fact. Polymorphism, random mutation, recombination, are all facts. This is because these have all been observed and reported in the literature (common descent has been observed via molecular genetic evidence).

In practise, scientists do not bother to define these things - they represent the background in which new science is taking place. And it is the new science in which the scientists are really interested.

I note myself as in nearly total agreement as Nigel, Mark and Keapon, modulo some definitional details. (Personally I prefer hypotheses as predicting a specific fact, whether they are isolated ad hocs or connected to a theory, but the general usage is wider.)

It is convenient to distinguish between the facts and a (possible) theory that predicts those facts, but for me a verified theory owns the facts it explains. So in that sense a verified theory contains a couple of connected facts to me - including the fact that it works, and that there is an existing underlying process.

This is brought out more clearly by the reasoning Nigel and Keapon describes, to use a definition to identify the process and combining it with theories to test them. Again Larry provides the meat as he provides a minimal definition of evolution:

Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.

Assumedly one wants a definition covering the minimal subset of all observable cases of the process for practical and theoretical reasons (having a simple, unambigious test regardless of case and/or theory; parsimony as predictive power; et cetera). For the same reasons I think one wants a definition that is minimally theory laden.

For comparison, I believe I have earlier seen a suitable minimal definition for gravitation, else I make a suggestion:

Gravitation is a process that results in acceleration in a test mass by another mass.

And it is easy to see that EM processes and many other physical processes are similarly defineable.

Evolution is an observable process (as in deducable “from molecular genetic evidence”) regardless of underlying mechanisms, which is a fact, or rather the fact of life creationists better get used to.

It isn’t the first time an august scientific body has described accepted theories especially I believe, perhaps without even mentioning the alternative usages. But it is annoying, as it can be a source of confusion.

I don’t understand why people refer to “the theory of evolution” as if it meant that evolution is a theory.

There are plenty of other examples of “the theory of X” which don’t carry the implication that X is a theory:

The theory of music The theory of flight The theory of the earth

and even

The theory of everything

I don’t understand why people refer to “the theory of evolution” as if it meant that evolution is a theory.

It would be much better to refer to “Evolutionary Theory.” Why don’t we all try and use that phrase instead of “Theory of Evolution?”

My approach to this fact / theory business is to say that I consider a fact to be: a proposition sufficiently well-supported by evidence and reason that at this point it would be unreasonable to withhold at least provisional assent. This is cribbed from one of Gould’s essaya, thought I don’t recall where he got it.

This is a definition that is broad enough to include theories, such as the theory of evolution or the germ theory of disease in addition to what I’d characterize as simple or direct observations without any inference, at the other end of the spectrum of things that can be “facts” (and a surprising amount of what we consider ‘simple’ or ‘direct’ observatinos actually involve inference). I’m tedious enough that I trot this out where necessary, largely because I think that otherwise we really lose sight of what we are saying when we refer to something as ‘being a fact’ or ‘not being a fact’, which is, in the vernacular very close to ‘true’ or ‘not true’.

I’m pre-disposed by my legal background to view facts as more than the most simple and direct observations. Courts regularly find as “fact” such complexes of observation and inference as (in the civil trial) ‘OJ Simpson caused the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman’ or (for example) ‘the statements by Dr Lipstadt in Denying the Holocaust about David Irving as historian and holocaust denier are substantially true’. In neither case are these facts simple, direct observations.

Until we went into space and could observe directly, even ‘the Earth is round not flat’ was a theory and not a simple, direct observation. But it was also fact in any meaningful definition of the term.

“Until we went into space and could observe directly, even ‘the Earth is round not flat’ was a theory and not a simple, direct observation.”

You’re slipping back into the common use of the term ‘theory’. I’m partial to the definition that in science a theory is a statement which is supported by all the available information on a subject and contradicted by none.

OT - I had the same problem with “axioms” and “postulates” when I was in school, while I was working on “proofs”. Point being, we seem to have communication issues.

Yes, we seem to have communication issues.

Let me suggest this:

ISTM that (biological) evolution is something that takes place in the world of life on earth, has been happening for as long as there has been life, and without a doubt will continue to do so.

The evidence for this is so overwhelming that I don’t have to repeat it in this blog. Indeed, a lot of the anti-evolutionists admit that evolution happens, just that they want to put rather strict (if vague) limits on it. A brief way of stating our confidence that evolution happens is to say, “Evolution is a fact”.

There are theories which explain how evolution happens, about what causes evolution to act the ways that it does, or which help us to understand features of the world of life that are a result of evolution. These theories are, by and large, mutually supportive to such a degree that we can group them all together under one title, “The Theory of Evolution”. That’s what people (other than the anti-evolution people, that is) mean when they say, “Evolution is a theory”.

No one here needs to apologize for your rants here that’s understandable. The fact is that science is always right. 2. The Bible is not literal fact and that is true. 3. Biblical science is not an actual science and evolution is always right. So what evangelicals are just a bunch of bigots and that is the honest truth.

First of all, yes -species do “evolve.” There are some observable changes in species over time. Second, and to the point - there is no evidence of one species changing into another distinct species. Why not open to the possibility that there are other explanation for the origin of life? At one time “science” said the world is flat and all other ideas are wrong and will not be considered. By closing the door to any idea outside of evolution we do the same thing. It is not a forgone conclusion. There are many gaps in the theory. In fact there are gaps between each distinct species. To accept evolution is a larger leap of faith than to accept that an intelligent and powerful force created the world for a purpose and with laws that govern it. Evolutionists accept the laws but not the writer of those laws.

John,

True science is not always right. There are numerous “theories” that have been put forth that have been proven wrong. Science is the open and methodical search for truth. The problem with the evolutionists is that they are not open to any other idea. The universe is so complex that it could not have just happened. The chemicals and elements that supposedly combined on their own to form that first simple life form are present today. Why do you think that they cant be combined to form life again? Why has a bright evolutionist chemist not done this experiment and replicated it? Because they can’t. To think that all this just happened is not science and clear thinking, it is just lunacy.

a surprising amount of what we consider ‘simple’ or ‘direct’ observatinos actually involve inference

In passing - that isn’t correct, unless you have a very different threshold for surprise than ordinary.

It is true that isolated observations and hypotheses involves a lot of inference, it is one of the most powerful tools there. But as soon as you have a tested theory or even a reasonable null hypotheses inferences are superfluous. They act as a (great) scaffolding.

@ James:

there is no evidence of one species changing into another distinct species

There are many evidences for speciation; here is 29+ of them.

other explanation for the origin of life … universe is so complex that it could not have just happened

The post and thread is entirely about evolution. Why do you mix other sciences into it? If you don’t know about the science we are discussing and what it concerns, why do you comment from an authoritative position instead of an interrogative?

You also mention other ideas “outside of evolution” as if there are any better theory or any remaining reasonable doubt regarding either this old piece fact or the current theory predicting it in all its details suggests the former. As you apparently don’t know anything about the subject discussed, read the provided link and its science references to get a good overview.

And if you by chance are reading creationists view of any science - among them evolution, abiogenesis, and cosmology you mention above - stop immediately. Creationism, especially ID, is an anti-scientific scam which purpose is to destroy existing sciences, in fact all of science, by any means necessary including lies.

And here comes another one…

James Wrote:

True science is not always right.

Er, how exactly? Isn’t “true”, pretty much by definition, right?

There are numerous “theories” that have been put forth that have been proven wrong.

Not so. Many hypotheses have been proven wrong, but this is not the case for theories. Very few ideas that have achieved acceptance as “theory” have subsequently been shown to be wrong. The only one that springs to mind is Newton’s theory of gravitation, which is still known to be a pretty good approximation of reality, despite being “wrong”.

Thus, a good scientific theory, even if it is wrong will still be a good approximation to reality.

Science is the open and methodical search for truth.

I agree. It is the only way to achieve a consensual truth.

The problem with the evolutionists

With the who, now?

is that they are not open to any other idea.

You are plain, flat-out wrong, here.

Other ideas have been examined, compared with reality and found wanting. Woefully so, in the case of creationism.

The universe is so complex that it could not have just happened.

Whoa, now who’s not being open to other ideas?

This is an argument from personal incredulity, which is a logical fallacy. Just because you cannot imagine how such complexity has come to be, does not mean that it did not occur through natural processes.

Also, you seem to be sowing in a bit of strawman argument there. Your claim that the universe “could not have just happened” implies a kind of all-at-once “poof” into existence in the state we observe today. This is not the case. It is, in fact, the creationist claim (that the universe and biological diversity came into existence with a “poof”). No, the biological diversity we observe today is the result of aeons of accumulated divergence.

The chemicals and elements that supposedly combined on their own to form that first simple life form are present today. Why do you think that they cant be combined to form life again? Why has a bright evolutionist chemist not done this experiment and replicated it? Because they can’t.

Again, you are wrong.

Here you are conflating abiogenesis with evolution. Biological evolution has occured irrespective of how life actually started. Evolution can accommodate a single event of special creation, because all evolution requires is that life on Earth began somehow.

Also, the chemical composition of the early Earth was different from what exists today. There are two principle differences:
(1) The early Earth had no molecular oxygen, so the environment was far less oxidising than it is now.
(2) Life now exists. The life that exists now has survived about 3 or 4 billion years of competition. If new life were to arise now, it would immediately be faced with the need to compete with existing life. Try to imagine a new-born infant trying to compete with an elite athlete. It ain’t gonna work.

Additionally, the first self-replicator seems to have come about just once in an “experiment” that was taking place all over the world, all the time, over millions of years (if not tens or hundreds of millions). How could anyone expect to replicate that?

To think that all this just happened is not science and clear thinking, it is just lunacy.

Well, you are right. Fortunately, the position you present is nothing to do with science. According to evolutionary theory, life started off very simple and has gradually accumulated advantages. This has led, in most cases, to increasing complexity, but do not forget that there are also examples of decreasing complexity (such as eyes becoming vestigial in cave-dwelling organisms).

Most of this change happened over very large timescales. Given the age of the Earth, there is no problem with the acquisition by living organisms of quite sophisticated adaptations.

You also mention other ideas “outside of evolution” as if there are any better theory or any remaining reasonable doubt regarding either this old piece fact or the current theory predicting it in all its details suggests the former.

Sorry, bad editing when in a hurry:

You also mention other ideas “outside of evolution” as if there is any better theory or any remaining reasonable doubt regarding either this old piece fact or the current theory predicting it in all its details.

Btw, reading the excellent comment of Nigel, we do expect replication of abiogenesis, just not in the lab. At the current rate of technology and statistical progress in exoplanetary hunting, some experts are mentioning discovery of other life in the range of 1 to 3 decades. (And I haven’t seen anyone argue against.) Apparently we are expected to detect and study aspects of other biospheres by spectrometric measures.

Well, if they now can map the surface or rather weather of planets in other solar systems, I assume detecting life from the overall atmosphere is children’s play.

So, another time slot, another thought.

As we veered off from evolution into other sciences, we could as well expand on observations of abiogenesis. The most optimistic astronomer I’ve read on the subject so far, Dimitar Sasselov, seem to think that we will have a fair statistic of observed biospheres in a decade, and eventually a good number of them within detection range [Edge, #221 sep -07]. I would assume that could mean observing a wide range of biosphere ages, as it seems planetary systems evolve even as we speak.

So we would have observations constraining not only evolution and the frequency of human equivalent intelligence that creationists of different brands sometimes claim is an inevitable result, but also in some manner constraining different theories of abiogenesis.

Personally I look forward to the very near time frame when abiogenesis hopefully isn’t just loosely constrained by in vitro laboratory scenarios, but de facto testable against in vivo observations. IANAB, but I can’t see any hinder for abiogenesis being one of the many fecund sciences of the modern age.

And the alternative such exciting knowledge would be magic? Pshaw!

For what it’s worth, I live in Texas, and I get this “Evolution is just a theory” nonsense all the time, to the extent that I have a rehearsed response…

Creo-guy: “After all, evolution is just a theory”.

Me: “Yeah, like the ‘theory’ of relativity.”

“Seriously, it was a “theoretical” (poke the air liberally with ‘sneer quotes’ here) when it was first written down 150 years ago - five years before the civil war - when nobody knew anything about geology or genetics. Just like atoms were “theoretical” radio was “theoretical” and heavier than air flight was “theoretical” back then.”

“In 150 years of research and testing since then every significant advance in biology has supported evolution and nobody has ever found any evidence against it. Sure, there are authors and preachers that claim to see problems, but think hard, has any of them actually shown you any evidence, of have they just waved their arms and said ‘such and such obscure expert claims this is impossible’?”

“No, you test an idea aggressively for 150 years and never find a flaw, it deserves to be called a fact. If all these mechanisms were discovered tomorrow they would just be called “the laws of genetic evolution” or something like that and this whole stupid “theory” business would vanish overnight.”

That’s a lot of points to rebut off the cuff, and stressing that the TOE is 150 years old and has been aggressively tested for a century and a half seems be new news that takes many people aback, at least where I live.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM: Btw, reading the excellent comment of Nigel, …

Thanks for the kind words, Torbjörn.

“At one time “science” said the world is flat and all other ideas are wrong and will not be considered.”

I don’t think the old idea that the earth is flat cold be considered scientific. It’s just something that people assumed by looking at their immediate surroundings. As time went on, some people in differnt parts of the world relised that it is, in fact, round (the Inuits have known for quite a while, judging by their mythology, and I can’t imagine the Polynesians colonizing the Pacific if they thought it was flat). Then some Greeks went even further and used some actual science to calculate the curvature of the planet.

Man, some of this stuff is hard to parse.

First of all, yes -species do “evolve.” There are some observable changes in species over time.

The very first step is in the wrong direction. There is no “constant-speedism” operating, but evolution is like rust, it just keeps working away. Over enough time, small changes grow into big changes.

Second, and to the point - there is no evidence of one species changing into another distinct species.

The word you’re looking for isn’t “distinct”, it is “current”. There is a basic conceptual error hiding under this claim, namely that all current species are all there is, can be, and ever has been. Within this false frame of reference, the statement is true - no species at any given time has EVER evolved into another species extant at that same time. Never happened, never will happen.

Instead, species gradually split, evolving into 2 or more NEW species which have never before existed at all. Go back a few dozen million years, and precious few species at that time would map exactly to any species alive today. The conceptual error is in thinking evolution says species evolve into *other existing* species. They do not. They evolve into something brand new, never seen before. And there is LOTS of evidence that this happens.

Why not open to the possibility that there are other explanation for the origin of life?

And this, believe it or not, changes the subject. We were talking about the origin of brand new species. We were explicitly NOT talking about the origin if life. Evolution is the study of how life changes over time, not about where or how it started. Just as chemistry is the study of how molecules interect, and NOT the study of where they originally came from. Life could have originated POOF by magic, and evoltionary theory wouldn’t even notice.

At one time “science” said the world is flat and all other ideas are wrong and will not be considered.

This claim is wrong multiple times over. First, science NEVER said the world was flat. The world has been known to be (roughly) sperical since the Phoenecians, WAY before Christ. Second, the claim that it was a popular belief at one time that the world was flat, seems to have been fabricated in the 18th century. There doesn’t ever seem to have been a time when the world was popularly consider flat. Third, there has never been a time when science has EVER rejected ANY claim except on the basis of rigorous intersubjective testing.

No need to continue this charade any further. I don’t think this guy is deliberately Lying For Jesus, I think he’s Making Shit Up to support a priori convictions. Another nutbag who thinks the way to make wishes come true is to SAY they’re true. It’s one of the rules of religious magic - you say the incantations, and the act of saying them invokes the magic.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on January 21, 2008 11:44 AM.

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