Archive for Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Varied theories

May 10, 2005


To the editor:

According to the May 1 Journal-World, John Calvert thinks that creationism should be taught along with evolution, because "Both theories," he said, "are just that -- theories." Either he is honestly deceived or deceptively clever, because not all theories are the same, as any dictionary will tell you.

According to Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (2nd ed., 1997), in non-technical contexts, the words "theory" and "hypothesis" are used interchangeably "to mean an untested idea or opinion." Clearly, this is the sense in which Calvert used the term "theory."

But the same authority goes on to explain that "A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena." It is in this technical, scientific sense that evolution is a theory but NOT a hypothesis.

To avoid Calvert's deceptively equivocal use of the word "theory," honest creationists should accordingly be advocating a sticker in biology textbooks that states: "Evolution is a scientifically verified and established explanation; it is not an untested idea or opinion."

Richard Kay,


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