Evolution: theory or hypothesis?

edited August 2009 in Religion & Philosophy
Evolution is often claimed to be a theory, though it appears to be a hypothesis. Why is it considered a theory?

Comments

  • Evolution aside, a "theory" is an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations.

    A "hypothesis" is a proposed explanation for an observable phenomenon.

    Hypothesis applies to the single. A theory applies to the multiple.

    Evolution is a theory because it depends on [i:29bg7do1]multiple[/i:29bg7do1] observations.
  • Thanks crAsh; that was my understanding of a law vs theory thoguh. Law is single, theory multiple. Everything I read says that a theory is nearly as infallible as a law. A hypothesis is single too though?
  • I'd be lying if I said I knew for sure.

    I'm just regurgitating what I was taught and how I've always understood it....
  • We've discussed this before... The concensus of many is that "evolution" fails to meet the conditions of "theory" and is indeed hypothesis. Why? Theory is the stronger word -- akin to law, just unproven (and in this case, unprovable).
  • said:

    Why? Theory is the stronger word -- akin to law, just unproven (and in this case, unprovable).[/quote:1bvctcte]

    What does that make God?

  • said:

    said:

    Why? Theory is the stronger word -- akin to law, just unproven (and in this case, unprovable).[/quote:2eg4gxly]

    What does that make God?[/quote:2eg4gxly]

    God...

  • said:

    God...[/quote:12nooc7s]
    Cop-out.

  • said:

    said:

    God...[/quote:1rjsqdac]
    Cop-out.[/quote:1rjsqdac]

    As I see it, the discussion from the OP was whether evolution was a hypotheis or a theory. God was not mentioned, nor did I start the discussion concerning God. The God thing was a subtle ad hominem, to which i gave a snarky, but accurate response.

  • said:

    As I see it, the discussion from the OP was whether evolution was a hypotheis or a theory. God was not mentioned, nor did I start the discussion concerning God. The God thing was a subtle ad hominem, to which i gave a snarky, but accurate response.[/quote:mdcqxgjz]

    I was not making an argument, but asking a question.

  • said:

    God...[/quote:3uj4jhu5]

    No shit?

  • said:

    We've discussed this before... The concensus of many is that "evolution" fails to meet the conditions of "theory" and is indeed hypothesis. Why? Theory is the stronger word -- akin to law, just unproven (and in this case, unprovable).[/quote:2tx83pdm]

    Plenty of theories have been proven to be true. This one just hasn't been abandoned, to the frustration of its critics.

  • said:

    said:

    We've discussed this before... The concensus of many is that "evolution" fails to meet the conditions of "theory" and is indeed hypothesis. Why? Theory is the stronger word -- akin to law, just unproven (and in this case, unprovable).[/quote:1gryn89a]

    Plenty of theories have been proven to be true. This one just hasn't been abandoned, to the frustration of its critics.[/quote:1gryn89a]

    Which, in the line of evolution have been proven true -- and if they have, why are they not called "laws" instead?

    As an addendum, just how many basic physical laws are there?

  • said:

    said:

    God...[/quote:343l4tk5]

    No shit?[/quote:343l4tk5]

    Sounds like an argument to me... Sorry. I'm sticking to the OP on this one. You want to argue God, let's go, but make a new thread.

  • Evolution isn't a theory. It's a fact.

    So say many, I hear....

    Some relevant threads: [url=http://www.npboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13401:346pt0v4]Defining Science[/url:346pt0v4]

    And [url=http://www.npboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13371:346pt0v4]Is Evolution Needed to Further the Advances of Science?[/url:346pt0v4]

    In particular is [url=http://www.npboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=245080#p245080:346pt0v4]glf's post here[/url:346pt0v4], the various stages of a scientific idea.
    said:

    [b:346pt0v4]Stage 0 -[/b:346pt0v4] The original pre-Darwinian situation, in which the complex functionality of life triggered a natural human disposition to recognize intelligent agency, creating a strong presumption in favor of such agency as the cause of life.

    The prevailing theory that must be overtaken -- and which is STILL held by the majority of persons on this planet -- even after decades of intensive Darwinian teaching, censorship in the classroom, and a virtual lock on peer-reviewed materials in the scientific realm.

    [b:346pt0v4]Stage 1 -[/b:346pt0v4] An alternative mechanism is proposed, random variation culled by natural selection, and preliminary evidence in favor of the new theory is collected, gathered, and systematized. It is at this stage that the new theory (naturalistic Darwinism in any of its forms) is treated as a hypothesis representing the potential for further development and investigation.

    At this stage, the presumptions of stage 0 are not negated, for there has been no new theory forthcoming as yet -- intelligent agency is still the presumptive cause.

    [b:346pt0v4]Stage 2 -[/b:346pt0v4] Hypothetical naturalistic Darwinism pathways leading to actual adaptive forms are described in sufficient detail and with sufficient understanding of the underlying genetic and developmental process that it seems virtually certain that these pathways represent genuine possibilities. These pathways must be possible, not only in the sense of involving no violation of physical or chemical laws, but also in the sense that EVERY step in the path can be assigned an estimated probability that is sufficiently high for the joint probability of the entire pathway to be consistent with a reasonable belief that such a thing might really have happened.

    At this stage, we have, for the first time, grounds for some degree of doubt in the correctness of the presumption of intelligent agency. The presumption is not yet canceled out, the attitude ought to be one of continuing to assume that the original presumption is correct until later stages are fulfilled, however, some evidence is forthcoming to support further investigation of the Darwinian hypothesis.

    [b:346pt0v4]Stage 3 -[/b:346pt0v4] A significant number of hypothetical pathways of the kind described in stage 2 are verified as the pathways probably actualized in history. New evidence from fossils and homologies is found that conforms to the specific expectations, based on the hypothetical pathways, and few if any instances of evidence are found that cannot readily be explained in terms of these pathways. Each hypothetical pathway describes a large number of intermediate steps, leading from some known ancestral form lacking the adaptation in question to some known form possessing it. Each step should be fully described at both the genetic and the morphological level: that is, we should be specific about which mutations, lateral gene transfers, or other processes have occurred, and how the new genotype is expressed in the morphology. For each step, a hypothetical environment needs to be specified, and the tools of population genetics employed to show that the hypothetical new genotype would in fact be selected over its rivals in the hypothetical environment.

    The pathways described above should generate a vast number of specific predictions. First, the fossils found should match exactly the morphology of the hypothetical steps. Second, the new forms of genetic vestiges and other homologies that are found should be witness to the actual existence of the hypothetical genotypes. And third, the evidence of ancient ecosystems, including climate, geographical isolation, and presence of food sources, predators, and competitors, should be found -- namely evidence of the hypothesized selective environments.

    Once this is found, the naturalistic Darwinian can probably be said to be responsible for all of life with some degree of certainty, however, even at this stage, there is still some apprehension that exactly the correct assumptions and proofs have been found in case later discoveries moot some point in the process.

    [b:346pt0v4]Stage 4 -[/b:346pt0v4] In nearly every case, apparent design has been successfully explained by naturalistic Darwinian terms, and in each case, there has been found an overwhelming body of specific evidence confirming the discoveries.[/quote:346pt0v4]
    Which stage is evolution at?

  • said:

    I agree that we are still at stage 1...

    [[url=http://www.npboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=245081#p245081:2piwuy7n]Source[/url:2piwuy7n]][/quote:2piwuy7n]
    Has evidence mounted since July 2008 to change your reckoning? If so, in what specific ways?

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