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"An evolutionary arms race between early snakes and mammals triggered the development of improved vision and large brains in primates, a radical new theory suggests.

The idea, proposed by Lynne Isbell, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, suggests that snakes and primates share a long and intimate history, one that forced both groups to evolve new strategies as each attempted to gain the upper hand."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060721/sc_space/fearofsnakesdroveprimateevolutionscientistsays

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That makes it sound like evolution is true and snakes made primates get better eyes

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That's because all of the greatest existing scientists have examined the evidence very carefully and consider evolution to be a fact.

Examining evidence very carefully ... you should try it.

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Tim isn't interested in fact. He has proven that already. He is interested in being disruptive. He is incapable of learning ... only expousing.


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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFallibleFiend:
That's because all of the greatest existing scientists have examined the evidence very carefully and consider evolution to be a fact.
Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory. There is a big difference. Here is a good quote from Stephen Hawking about what a theory is:

"a theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations...any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single repeatable observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory."

So by this account we could say that the Modern theory of Evolution is a good theory, but that does not make it a fact.

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"Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory. There is a big difference."

Evolution is a fact AND a theory. Facts are not theories - they are different things, but neither are they mutually exclusive. You cite a reasonable explanation of theory. You do not give a definition or explanation of fact. FACT, in science, does not mean irrefutable. It does not mean 100% certain. It does not mean unquestionable. It does not mean directly observed or observable.

A fact is a bit of knowledge that it would be intellectually perverse to deny. We teach the existence of hydrogen atoms as fact, not because anyone has ever seen one, but because it would be intellectually perverse to deny their existence.

As creationists have a problem with intellectual integrity, depending as they do on mental sloth, they frequently accuse evolutionists of wanting to teach evolution as an unquestionable fact. That is one of their innumerable lies. Of course students and others are allowed to question evolution. Scientsts themselves who are actively involved in the research do not. But others can question.

HOWEVER, creationists themselves don't get blasted for "asking questions." That is a bald-faced lie. They get blasted for making stupid assertions, such as the ones made by anyman regarding radiometric dating. They get blasted for passing on urban legend as if it were fact.

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In the context of science I think that the definition of a fact is an observation. A theory is then a model of certain observations that will then predict new observations. So I think most scientists would say evolution is a very good theory, they would not say it is a fact.

I never learned about the fact of hydrogen atoms. I learned about the theory of Atomic structure and the very good evidence for that theory.

Now regarding your definition of fact:

It isn't intelectually perverse to deny any theory, even a good theory, sometimes thats how new even better theories are developed. I can say that some theory is a good model for making predictions, but I don't think it's entirely correct so I'm going to formulate a new theory. Therefore by your definition theories are not facts, because they can always be denied.

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You are laboring under the misimpression that FACT means unquestionable and THEORY means questionable. That isn't the case.

A theory is a generalized explanation that ties together numerous observations in such a way that hypotheses can be generated which could prove the theory false, if it is indeed false.

Neither facts nor theories are 'truth.'

"It isn't intelectually perverse to deny any theory, even a good theory, "

It is intellectually perverse to deny a good theory without any evidence against, while there is a staggering amount of evidence in support of it.

In science classes, we learn about the theory of atomic structure, but students in high school are not confronted for one second with the possibility that hydrogen atoms may not exist. Nor do we put notes in the beginning of textbooks that indicate that their existence should be subject to especial scrutiny.

The Germ Theory of Disease is a theory, but it, too, is a fact. (Note that theories don't graduate from theories into facts. Even after they are accepted as facts, they are STILL theories. "Theory" hasn't got anything to do with certainty.)

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So at what point can a theory be described as a fact? What theories are facts and what theories aren't facts? By your definition was Newtonian Gravitation a fact at one time? Is it a fact now?

Don't you think it's much clearer to define a fact in the context of science as an observation?

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TwoSheds you are making assumptions about the meaning of words that are far from the target.

Start your education here:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

It is material you obviously do not understand.

If you have any questions about what you've read: Ask them.


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Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
TwoSheds you are making assumptions about the meaning of words that are far from the target.

Start your education here:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

It is material you obviously do not understand.

If you have any questions about what you've read: Ask them.
Okay I've read it, and I don't see anything in there which disagrees with anything I have said. I've emailed the author to ask him his opinion on the matter. In any event I appreciate you lowering the tone of the debate by personally insulting me.

Have you responded to my post about the universe yet?

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If my arguments aren't satisfying to you, ere's two interesting quotes on the subject:

via Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact)

"In science 'fact' is an objective and verifiable observation. It is usually contrasted to a theory, which is an explanation of or interpretation of facts. In the philosophy of science, it has often been called into question (famously by Thomas Kuhn, but by others as well) whether scientific facts are always "theory-laden" to some degree (as knowing what facts to measure, and how to measure them, requires some presupposition about the facts themselves). In the field of science studies, "scientific facts" are generally understood to be entities which exist within complex social structures of trust, accreditation, institutions, and individual practices."

another via skepdic.com (http://skepdic.com/science.html)

"Scientific facts, like scientific theories, are not infallible certainties. Facts involve not only easily testable perceptual elements; they also involve interpretation.

Noted paleoanthropologist and science writer Stephen Jay Gould reminds us that in science 'fact' can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent" (Gould 1983, 254). However, facts and theories are different things, notes Gould, "not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts." In Popper's words: "Theories are nets cast to catch what we call 'the world': to rationalize, to explain, and to master it. We endeavor to make the mesh ever finer and finer." "


So according to these sources there are "Scientific Facts" that fall in line with your definition of a fact, but theory and fact still remain seperate entities.

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TwoSheds all I am doing is saying what IFF said when he wrote:
"You are laboring under the misimpression that FACT means unquestionable and THEORY means questionable. That isn't the case."

The point is rather simple. You are using words you don't understand.

If you find that insulting so-be-it.


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No, that isn't what I'm arguing. I'm arguing that there is a difference between a fact and a theory. And I think I have done so resonably well. I have given logical argument, and two other supporting opinions. Can you show me a point I've made that you disagree with? Give me an example where I don't understand the words I am using.

"It is material you obviously do not understand."

I'm not supposed to take that as an insult? Also why did you post that link? Does it contradict anything that I have said?

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TwoSheds wrote:
"No, that isn't what I'm arguing. I'm arguing that there is a difference between a fact and a theory."

Oh I get that ... but also that you are misunderstanding the meaning of the words in the context of science.

Is gravity a fact or a theory?

What about gravity is a fact?
What about gravity is a theory?

With all due respect, you do not understand the words you are using and we are trying to tell you that.


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Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
TwoSheds wrote:
"Oh I get that ... but also that you are misunderstanding the meaning of the words in the context of science.

Is gravity a fact or a theory?

What about gravity is a fact?
What about gravity is a theory?

With all due respect, you do not understand the words you are using and we are trying to tell you that.
Are you asking me those questions or claiming that I asked them? If you claim that I asked them, that isn't the case. I did ask if he thought Newtonian Gravitation was a fact. because he said that some theories are also facts. Quote something that I have said and explain to me what I do not understand. And who is this we you speak of? It seems to be only you who say that I do not understand the words I am using.

Also do you think about the issue we were debating? Do you think that theories can also be facts? What do you think of the two articles I quoted? If you think they are correct, how is that I do not understand the words I am using? Please site specific evidence.

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The word separate is ambiguous in this context. You are using the word to imply the things are mutually exclusive. Another definition is that the things are orthogonal -meaning they are not related. That's the sense that Gould is using the word.

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Do agree with Gould's statement that "Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts."? I think that implies that they are related, in that theories explain and interpret facts. If a theory could be a fact then could I also make the statement(In Gould's Definition here) that Theories are structures of ides that explain and interpret theories? If theory and fact are not mutually exclusive then that meaningless statement would be acceptable.

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More often than not, evolutionists argue on two planes. The first point they leap from is that you're an idiot for not believing what I do. The second point is you're an idiot for believing what you believe. Very rarely do you find an evolutionist who can support Darwin's theory on a fact by fact basis. Without dicusssing ID in any manner, an evolutionist cannot explain the non-Darwinian progression of the entire fossil record, they do not talk about the Cambrian explosion, they provide no explanation for the peppered moth experiment, and they do no talk about the subsequent experiments that are based on premises that are no longer accepted.

They do not engage such arguments because they know that Darwin's theory requires a certain degree of faith that is difficult to explain to the progressively curious brain.

Is ID the answer? I don't know. I would prefer that it wasn't, because it would put an end to discovery. It would spell the end of our progressively curious intellect. If we curtailed our discovery on the basis that God did it all and God does it all, we would no longer search for the mechanizations of our universe, and we may lapse back to the state of the primitive man who sacrificed at the altar of a rain god to provide for a better harvest.

I think we should continue to search through discovery to find the greater answers to life in general, to the mechanizations of the universe and how we can better manipulate our surroundings. I don't think we should accept either theory on their merits, because they're both flawed.

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TwoSheds wrote:
"Are you asking me those questions or claiming that I asked them?"

Apparently the concept of a rhetorical question escaped you. The questions were there for you to hopefully realize you couldn't answer them.

That water melts at zero degrees Celsius is a fact. Why and how it melts is theory.


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