Is Evolution a theory or is it simply fact? What constitutes a theory?

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  1. profile image0
    Matthew Kirkposted 11 years ago

    Is Evolution a theory or is it simply fact? What constitutes a theory?

    "People write to me that evolution is only a theory. Well, it is not a theory. Evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive. Evidence from every quarter. What is a theory is whether natural selection is the mechanism and the only mechanism. That is a theory. But the historical reality that dinosaurs led to birds and mammals produced whales, that's not theory." - David Attenborough

    The above quote got me thinking. Is it a theory or is it simply fact? When does evidence become so overwhelming?

  2. hockey8mn profile image68
    hockey8mnposted 11 years ago

    It is a theory the same as gravity.  I know for a fact I can't float to the moon, but it doesn't change the fact that its a theory.  You can never prove anything to a 100% certain, because their will always be that one outlier.  The closest thing to fact is theory.

    1. profile image0
      Matthew Kirkposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Surely we have to accept some things as facts? I think eternals3ptember answered this one pretty well. The law of gravity states gravity is a fact and has been proven, the theory of gravity is about working out exactly how it works and what makes it!

  3. profile image38
    Jayesefposted 11 years ago

    A fact is a theory before it is proved. Evolution has been scientifically proved, and so now it is a fact.

    1. profile image0
      Matthew Kirkposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with this I think. The Sigma scale which they use a lot in physics sounds like an interesting way of proving far beyond 'reasonable' doubt but not theoretical doubt, not a doubt any sane person would bet on.

    2. Mitch Alan profile image80
      Mitch Alanposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If it is a fact, then explain irreducible complexity. Explain away "ex nilo, nilo".

    3. wtaylorjr2001 profile image61
      wtaylorjr2001posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      A fact is an always true statement like the sun came up yesterday.
      A theory is possible explanation for an observed fact like this part of the earth sometimes faces the sun.
      A law is a theory that has enough evidence to be relied on without testing

    4. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      So the relationship of the circumference of a circle and the diameter is Pi with is a never ending number that we round off to 3.1416. A right angle is 90 degrees. Prime numbers occur randomly without and predictable sequence--facts or theories?

  4. wtaylorjr2001 profile image61
    wtaylorjr2001posted 11 years ago

    Evolution is not a fact. No scientific theory is a fact. This is because of something called the principle of falsifiability. In short there must be a possible experiment that can prove a scientific theory false. You can never say for certain that experiment will not come to be. You can prove a theory false, but not true.

    No matter how much evidence you have to support a theory, you will never prove a theory true. Only one piece of evidence is necessary to prove it false.

    1. profile image0
      Matthew Kirkposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What about selective breeding in dogs and birds and all manner of creaures? That seems like pretty good proof for evolution, otherwise unbelievably lucky and very consistently lucky!

    2. wtaylorjr2001 profile image61
      wtaylorjr2001posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Matthew please go to this site and you will understand what I mean. … node6.html
      All the evidence in the world cannot prove something scientifically. Science can only disprove via experimentation.

    3. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Evolution occurs naturally--selective breeding is something entirely different,

  5. dashingscorpio profile image82
    dashingscorpioposted 11 years ago

    The reason why people call it a theory is because none of us were around to (witness) what really happened. The only so called written documentation of the birth of man has to do with the "Garden of Eden". Other people say if man came from apes why are there still apes.

    Another "interesting theory" is humans came to earth after leaving a dying planet and were forced to start over again. This is also how some people explain how the pyramids could have been built without the heavy equipment we have today.

    Some theories are easier to prove or disprove than others. At one time the earth was believed to be flat. However after Columbus sailed around the world and didn't (fall off) mankind started saying the world was round. Later we'd have  satellite images of earth which proved without a doubt the earth is round. Everyone is now in "agreement".
    However I suspect the real reason why evolution will not be fully accepted by some people is due to their (religious beliefs). If people throw out the Adam and Eve story they are forced to question (everything) in the bible. It opens the door for us to ask: Did god create man? or Did man create god? Was religion originally created by a government to control it's citizens? Will Christianity one day be looked at similar to the way we look at Greek Mythology? hmmmm

  6. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 11 years ago

    A theory is an idea based on available evidence that has a high probability of being correct.

    Someone said gravity is a theory. I disagree. Gravity is a fact. The "what goes up, must come down" observation, proves gravity. We also know the speed of gravity, and we know that the mass of the moon results in a lower level of gravity, and we have proven zero gravity.

    Evolution is still a theory--a valid theory--however, if you are referring to the Darwin theory, there is the question of why the great apes and man exist at the same time.

    Creationism is a faith based theory, based on a belief in a higher power that can never be proven because it is based on the belief of the actions of a higher power, i.e. God.

    My theory is that God as the creator, used a form of evolution as the road map for the development of the world, mankind and the entire universe. Since we have only explored a minute part of the universe, we do not have the evidence to prove or disprove either of the theories.

    Since we know, from archeological findings, that man developed from a lower level to his present level, and that dinosaurs no longer roam the earth, we can assume some form of evolution exists. The issue is what caused the evolution to occur.

    I know there is no absolute answer to the questions I raised and am not trying to hijack the question and start a creationism vs. evolution debate. That has been done more times that I can remember since I have been on Hub Pages. My summary comment is that theories are theories. There are theories about time travel. None of those have been proved. Thus, evolution, while having a high probability of being correct, has not been proven to be an independent event that did not involve intervention by some higher power, again, God.

    1. wtaylorjr2001 profile image61
      wtaylorjr2001posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Gravity and all of the laws in science are not facts. … node6.html

      God has nothing to do with science because there is no possible experiment that can prove God doesn't exist.

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I read your link, but I do not believe it covers everything. However, we could argue to the end of the time about this . It is my theory that God created science,  I can't prove God does or does not exist. I just believe he does.

    3. wtaylorjr2001 profile image61
      wtaylorjr2001posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Larry the link is a response to what you said about gravity being a fact. That I can say something about. I can't say anything about God. I don't believe he exists, nor do I believe he doesn't exist. I just don't know. That all science can say.

    4. eternals3ptember profile image60
      eternals3ptemberposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I think you are confusing the theory of gravity with the lawbof gravity. They are different beasts, 2001. The theory of gravity is how we believe the phenomenon occurs, while the law states that it does (which is observable).

    5. profile image0
      Matthew Kirkposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think the issue is what caused evolution to occur, reproduction does. Evolution does not rule out the existence of a god, the two theories can exist if that is what you're getting at, which is why I don't understand why religions fight it!

    6. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Religion fight it because those that do not believe in creationism and evolution working together will not accept the religious beliefs, thus you have a conflict. Believers of God, witl chose creationism, if they are forced to chose between the two.

  7. ftclick profile image56
    ftclickposted 11 years ago

    Evolution is a theory since there are other possibilities of how life evolved. There is not any irrefutable proof to say otherwise.  The facts that some scientists use to support evolution is based off of, you guessed it, many theories. It is not 100% proven. Was Columbus the first to discover North America? Probably not, but he is the one that gets the credit from a written journal.

  8. nanderson500 profile image81
    nanderson500posted 11 years ago

    Scientific theories are based on a very solid amount of evidence and have stood the test of time. People informally use the term to mean something akin to a guess, but that's not what it means in the scientific community. Evolution is both a theory and a fact.


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