Saturday, December 29, 2007
US Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul says, "It's a theory, the theory of evolution, and I don't accept it". Sigh. I am going to delve into this subject a lot more later. Let me make two quick points.
First, the word theory is used differently in different contexts. When you think of "theory", you may think of the phrase, "it's just a theory", which makes a "theory" sound like a flippant thing. But when a scientist says, "The theory of X", or "So-and-so's theory of X", they mean, "the theoretical framework which convincingly explains X and has withstood many attempts at falsification". An example is "Newton's theory of gravity", which has been well tested in the regime to which it applies (for strong fields, one needs general relativity). Darwin's Theory of Evolution is at least as well tested.
Second, to say, "I don't accept the theory of evolution" is equivalent to saying, "I don't accept the fundamental basis of our understanding of biology". It would mean, for example, invoking divine intervention to explain how drug-resistant bacteria arise.
If you reject the fundamental basis for biology and therefore most of modern medicine, I think you are unfit to be a world leader. So, I hope at least some of Ron Paul's many net supporters condemn his stance on the The Theory of Evolution.
[If you are picky about grammar, see my note about punctuation and quotation marks here.]
[I got this video here.]
[confidence level: established, my qualifications: informed]