Monday, September 26, 2005

The sad part

Today I was in seminar when the lecturer gave the warning:
This lecture refers to Darwinian evolution. Evolution is only a theory. Others believe another explanation may be equally valid
It was in jest. Yet, it was at that point that it dawned on me: There are MANY "theories" regarding fetal development, carcinogenesis, even the history of our nation. Still, when a researcher gives a talk on how he perceives a particular process based upon the data he's collected, he isn't required to give a caveat explaining that other theories exist. Should he be? Do I need to know about all relating theories to hear one? It's just something I've noticed.

Tuesday is my first mid-term. Others who have taken this class before me have not done so well. Oh we go


Blogger Neal337 said...

I don't think equal time for various theories should be required. However, I do think that it should be know that a given topic is a THEORY, and that others do exist. I also think that we should be FREE to express what we have found to be the most true, whether it be Darwin, Aliens, or the Bible. Yay, go America.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Owen said...

I think that at a certain point it should be *obvious* that there are other theories out there, and that a lecturer should not be required to state such. Now, in the case of the sciences, I think that it's supremely bogus to require acknowledgement of non-scientific theories in class. Others are free to believe other things, but they should not be free to force those beliefs upon a class devoted to the scientific enterprise.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Owen said...


One more thing: In the sciences, a theory means more than it does in common vernacular. A scientific Theory (capital T) only becomes elevated to such a status (just short of a law) after intense scrutiny and testing, and after acceptance from the vast majority of the scientific community. So saying something like "evolution is just a THEORY, one among others" in a science class shows ignorance of scientific nomenclature. Sorry, Neal :)

9:01 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

1) A "theory" is to science what a proof is to mathematics (for all intensive purposes).

2) Science is full of examples where two theories appear to contradict but actually don't. This is also true of the history of "clashes" between science and religion. For instance, not many still believe that a round earth disproves the bible.

To me both ideas tell a different side of the story. One is not assumed better or more accurate than the other. Since the realm of application is limited, they do not need to be presented as contradicting theories.

11:21 PM  

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