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Theory of Evolution?

Helgi Briem Magnusson hbriem at rhi.hi.is
Mon Dec 27 03:41:41 EST 1993

In <1993Dec26.132226.5368 at altair.selu.edu> scsd2401 at altair.selu.edu writes:

> If evolution is just a theory then why do so many people refer
>to evolution as if it were an absolute truth. Many theories have
>been disproved in the past and many have been found to be true.  
> Some scientist in Florida discovered human foot prints along
>side dinasour foot prints. If these foot prints are verified
>to be what they seem then the evolution idea will be disproved.
>As the theory claims that man and dinasour did not exist at
>the same period in time.
>                                          Ralph S.
As has been stated many times in the past, this sort of creationist
cattle manure does not belong here, but in talk. origins.  However,
for your enlightenment:
a)  A theory is not the same thing as a hypothesis.  A theory in
science is roughly equivalent to a law, like for instance Newton's
laws of motion, but more far-ranging.  It is a body of related
facts and laws that have great explanatory power.  The theory or
evolution encompasses three main threads:  1)  The fact that
life on earth has evolved from a common ancestor in the distant 
past.  This is a fact. 2)  Mechanisms thought to explain this 
evolution, natural selection, random drift, migration and mutation.
All these mechanisms are facts, but people argue about whether these
are sufficient to explain all evolution and about the relative
importance of each.  3)  Hypotheses about the exact course of evolution
through time, i.e. who is related to whom, is X the ancestor of Y etc.
b) The so-called human footprints were found to be made by dinosaurs
years ago, unless you are talking about the ones that were forged
by a drifter who did it as a joke.

Helgi Briem
Institute of Experimental Pathology
Keldur, Iceland


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