Monday, December 20, 2004

Did the American revolution really happen?

I read this...

Was the landscape around the small town of Dover in Pennsylvania created in just six days? Were the gently curving hills perfected, the streams formed and finished, the wide, empty skies fixed in place beneath the firmament and the narrow wooded valleys completed? Was it all really done in less than a week?

It was, at least according to the creationist beliefs of much of the town's population of 1,800, who have little time for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. And their fundamental beliefs are set to gain further currency.

As of next month, in a hugely controversial move, the town's high school will become the first in the US for several generations to teach a form of creationism as part of its curriculum.

In Dover, the school board will meet lawyers this week to discuss its options and decide whether to go ahead with the changes to the curriculum and fight the lawsuit. The members' decision will be carefully scrutinised not just by the townsfolk of Dover but by school boards across the US which are considering similar measures.

In Grantsburg, Wisconsin, for instance, a school board has revised its curriculum to teach "various scientific models of theories of origin" though it has since argued that it will only be teaching students "about the controversy surrounding evolution" and not ID.

In Charles County, Maryland, the school board is considering a proposal to eliminate textbooks "biased toward evolution" from classrooms. Similar proposals have been considered this year in Missouri, Mississippi and Oklahoma. In Cobb County, Georgia, school textbooks have for the last two years contained a sticker which informs students: "Evolution is a theory, not a fact."

Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, the Dover school board members may not be lacking in support. A poll last month by Gallup suggested that 45 per cent of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their current form within the past 10,000 years. "

I think if they say this... "evolution is a theory not a fact"
They should also say "the american revolution is a theory not a fact"
I mean the evidence that the american revolution occured is not nearly as strong as the evidence for evolution. And we certainly dont see the american revolution repeating itself in an experimentally verifiable way.


Blogger Nigel Kearney said...

Evolution is most certainly a theory. It is the best theory we have to explain the facts we have observed, but it is not itself a fact. I recommend you read 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery' by Popper.

Historical stuff is in a special category by itself. I would say that the American Revolution is a 'fact', but in a different sense of the word than a scientific 'fact'.

The crucial difference is that the existence of the American Revolution is limited by times and place, but the truth of evolution is claimed in a general way including all times and places even where no observations have been made.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post - it allowed me to refine my thoughts. Anyway my reply is in the next post


7:27 PM  

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