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Old 02-18-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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After perusing these boards for a few weeks I have come to the conclusion that (many) creationists use the word theory incorrectly. Or, they don't understand what it means to use the word theory in regard to scientific conversations. For some, I'm sure it's merely ignorance talking (note: ignorance is NOT the same as stupidity). For others, I suspect it may be an inflammatory way to try to poke the bear for a reaction. And a reaction it does receive, with evolutionists repeatedly trying to explain that the creationist argument of "evolution is ONLY a theory" is an incorrect statement, and that the word theory is being used in error.

In terms of scientific conversations (ie, discussions about evolution, etc) the word theory tends to mean something along the lines of:

"A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

Ta da, simple as that. However, the creationists that refuse to recognize this term seem to think it's interchangeable with the word hypothesis or conjecture. Creationism is a hypothesis, basically defined as follows:

"A supposition; a proposition or principle which is supposed or taken for granted, in order to draw a conclusion or inference for proof of the point in question; something not proved, but assumed for the purpose of argument, or to account for a fact or an occurrence."

Creationists hypothesize that the universe exists because a deity created it. This is not a theory, as there are no facts to back it up, and it is not currently (if ever) testable. The funny thing is, creation and evolution don't necessarily have to be at odds with each other. It would be a lot more logical if creationists lashed out against abiogenesis rather than evolution, since abiogenesis and creation both deal with where/how life originally came about, and not how it changed to exhibit all the variations we observe now.

In any case, the point of this post is this: if creationists and evolutionists can't even agree on the meaning of a simple word, how can they ever truly have an intelligent discussion on the subject? And, will this ever change? Will they ever have a meeting of the minds over two simple words...theory and hypothesis?

 
Old 02-18-2009, 11:54 AM
 
2,633 posts, read 4,449,739 times
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Creationists will not call their myths a hypothesis for two reasons:

1. They are convinced that what they say is the absolute truth. Calling something a hypothesis doesn't convey the "I'm 100% sure of this and nothing I see or find will ever make me change my mind" message.

2. It implies that there are more ideas than creationism or evolution. If you make everyone believe that it's just a choice between evolution and creationism then all they have to do is attack evolution to give the impression that creationism is right. To put it simply it's the "If they are wrong then It must mean I am right" logical fallacy. They can't make a constructive argument against it so creationists always conveniently ignore other religions in these discussions just because of that.
 
Old 02-18-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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That seems so counterproductive to getting anyone to listen to them though. I mean, the first step to having an intelligent conversation with anyone is to present your arguments using the correct terms.
 
Old 02-18-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZugZub View Post
That seems so counterproductive to getting anyone to listen to them though. I mean, the first step to having an intelligent conversation with anyone is to present your arguments using the correct terms.
From what I've seen, the entire debate is counterproductive. It's about on par with the debate over whether Christianity or Islam is a better religion.
And, sure, the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are problematic but they are nothing compared to when religious people throw down the gauntlet with this word: TRUTH.
 
Old 02-18-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b. frank View Post
And, sure, the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are problematic but they are nothing compared to when religious people throw down the gauntlet with this word: TRUTH.
Ah yes, the counterpart to the scientist's FACT.
 
Old 02-18-2009, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica
4,708 posts, read 7,561,052 times
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Creationism (that is, the idea that God or Supreme Being was responsible for creating ex nihilo all matter, energy, and physical processes in the entire universe, as well as all biological species on Earth AT THE SAME TIME as described in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, etc.) can be called a hypothesis only in a generic sense but could not be considered a valid hypothesis to a practicing scientist because (1) it is inconsistent with many other known scientific facts and (2) it is untestable.

A valid, that is, well formed, hypothesis is testable. A hypothesis is also, in effect, "a question being asked of nature"--it is the basis for devising one or experiments that can answer the hypothesis's question, and it presumes a set of facts and relationships already described in some existing, relevant scientific theory. There is no relevant scientific theory that provides a context for a "hypothesis of Creationism."

So think the OP's thesis about the validity of the notion of a "hypothesis of Creationsim" is faulty.

The following explanation is helpful, too, but mentions that a proper scientific hypothesis should *not* be expressed as a question, but rather as a relatively detailed explanation that has a predictive value.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypotheses

Last edited by ParkTwain; 02-18-2009 at 07:00 PM..
 
Old 02-18-2009, 06:48 PM
 
Location: vagabond
2,631 posts, read 4,831,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParkTwain View Post
Creationism (that is, the idea that God or Supreme Being was responsible for creating ex nihilo all matter, energy, and physical processes in the entire universe, as well as all biological species on Earth AT THE SAME TIME as described in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, etc.) can be called a hypothesis only in a generic sense but could not be considered a valid hypothesis to a practicing scientist because (1) it is inconsistent with many other known scientific facts and (2) it is untestable.

A valid, that is, well formed, hypothesis is testable. A hypothesis is also, in effect, "a question being asked of nature"--it is the basis for devising one or experiments that can answer the hypothesis's question, and it presumes a set of facts and relationships already described in some existing, relevant scientific theory. There is no relevant scientific theory that provides a context for a "hypothesis of Creationism."

So think the OP's thesis about the validity of the notion of a "hypothesis of Creationsim" is faulty.
for once, i agree with you.

this would be one of the reasons that people who claim to *know* cosmic truth really bug me, because every single one of them operates by faith or simple belief, and none of them know anything.

disclaimer: I believe that God does exist, and that He has talked to some, few people, and that those few actually know; everyone else (including me) believes.
 
Old 02-19-2009, 07:43 AM
 
1,788 posts, read 4,147,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stycotl View Post
for once, i agree with you.

this would be one of the reasons that people who claim to *know* cosmic truth really bug me, because every single one of them operates by faith or simple belief, and none of them know anything.

disclaimer: I believe that God does exist, and that He has talked to some, few people, and that those few actually know; everyone else (including me) believes.
The OP wasn't about whether or not a deity exists, or whether it's evolution or creation that is the "truth". It was about the fact that many creationists refuse to use correct terminology when discussing evolution. This makes them look either ignorant or stupid, depending on the intent. Therefore if a creationist wishes to discuss why they believe evolution is wrong, they need to use terms correctly or at best they'll be ignored -- at worst, mocked.
 
Old 02-19-2009, 08:35 AM
 
Location: PA
2,616 posts, read 3,920,447 times
Reputation: 465
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZugZub View Post
After perusing these boards for a few weeks I have come to the conclusion that (many) creationists use the word theory incorrectly. Or, they don't understand what it means to use the word theory in regard to scientific conversations. For some, I'm sure it's merely ignorance talking (note: ignorance is NOT the same as stupidity). For others, I suspect it may be an inflammatory way to try to poke the bear for a reaction. And a reaction it does receive, with evolutionists repeatedly trying to explain that the creationist argument of "evolution is ONLY a theory" is an incorrect statement, and that the word theory is being used in error.

In terms of scientific conversations (ie, discussions about evolution, etc) the word theory tends to mean something along the lines of:

"A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

Ta da, simple as that. However, the creationists that refuse to recognize this term seem to think it's interchangeable with the word hypothesis or conjecture. Creationism is a hypothesis, basically defined as follows:

"A supposition; a proposition or principle which is supposed or taken for granted, in order to draw a conclusion or inference for proof of the point in question; something not proved, but assumed for the purpose of argument, or to account for a fact or an occurrence."

Creationists hypothesize that the universe exists because a deity created it. This is not a theory, as there are no facts to back it up, and it is not currently (if ever) testable. The funny thing is, creation and evolution don't necessarily have to be at odds with each other. It would be a lot more logical if creationists lashed out against abiogenesis rather than evolution, since abiogenesis and creation both deal with where/how life originally came about, and not how it changed to exhibit all the variations we observe now.

In any case, the point of this post is this: if creationists and evolutionists can't even agree on the meaning of a simple word, how can they ever truly have an intelligent discussion on the subject? And, will this ever change? Will they ever have a meeting of the minds over two simple words...theory and hypothesis?
That is why Evolution should be called a hypothesis full of conjecture because it is not a theory.

Though we cannot test "God" or the "spirit world" we can test many of the things that the bible claims, if these are provable and test true, then we must conclude that the things the bible claims that cannot be tested must also be true. This is being logical. The bible has been found to be very true historically and acheologically.

So, it is not a theory of Creation (or hypothesis of Creation), but just Creation. Since it is a history of the beginnings and not a scientific idea.

The main problem that face a discussion is the presuppositions of a person. If a person believes "There is no God", the ultimate conclusion is that evolution is true. If a person believe "There is a God", the ultimate conclusion is Creation. Everything is interpreted through a person's presuppositions. So, a fossil when looked at by an evolutionist will appear old (6 millions year), while the same fossil will appear old to the creationist (6 thousand year).

Isotopic dating methods are affected by these presuppositions and that is why fossils are dated far older then the test data by the evolutionist, and far younger by the creationist.
 
Old 02-19-2009, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
2,833 posts, read 4,023,167 times
Reputation: 2997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikk View Post
That is why Evolution should be called a hypothesis full of conjecture because it is not a theory.

Though we cannot test "God" or the "spirit world" we can test many of the things that the bible claims, if these are provable and test true, then we must conclude that the things the bible claims that cannot be tested must also be true. This is being logical. The bible has been found to be very true historically and acheologically.

So, it is not a theory of Creation (or hypothesis of Creation), but just Creation. Since it is a history of the beginnings and not a scientific idea.

The main problem that face a discussion is the presuppositions of a person. If a person believes "There is no God", the ultimate conclusion is that evolution is true. If a person believe "There is a God", the ultimate conclusion is Creation. Everything is interpreted through a person's presuppositions. So, a fossil when looked at by an evolutionist will appear old (6 millions year), while the same fossil will appear old to the creationist (6 thousand year).

Isotopic dating methods are affected by these presuppositions and that is why fossils are dated far older then the test data by the evolutionist, and far younger by the creationist.
This post is a good example of the confusion used by Creationist and Evolution. Evolution does not claim to know how life got its start, it only address the evolution of species. The changes a species goes through in it's lifes progression due to internal genetic mutations or external influence.
It is a proven fact that animals change over time, look at the human animal, over the past few 100 years man has, on average, grown taller. If you believe in creation, then one has to justify the diversity of the human species, different skin colors, hair colors, eye color ect. This is evolution at work and how the human species will look 1000's of years from now, no one knows, but what we do know is you either adapt or you die off.
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