Just a theory?

2004-11-10: Creationism in the USA and increasingly in my (and your) backyard

Some religious folks hate Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the major mechanism underlying biological evolution , because they accuse “evolutionists” of wanting to make man “just another animal” so that sin, particularly sexual sin, is OK since man is not God’s special creation. And biological evolution has a history on earth of millions of years, whereas in the Bible God declaims a recent special creation of the Earth, therefore evolution must be wrong.

Thus the phenomenon of “creation science” (see www.infidels.org for more than you probably want to know, also the NSCE site for “Project Steve”). Creationists essentially rely on misrepresenting the fundamental theoretical model of modern biology, the evolution of species over aeons, as purely Darwinism and as discredited science. In the USA, of course, the constitutional provision that separates church and state with regard to the teaching of evolution in science class in public schools is continually being tested in the courts. The latest tactic is for anti-evolution folks to demand a disclaimer sticker in science textbooks to the effect of “Evolution is just a theory”.

Currently a school district in Georgia is being sued for attempting this tactic. Their sticker reads

“This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”

Obviously, critical thinking in science is important, as is the understanding of exactly what a scientific theory is. So why limit such disclaiming stickers only to textbooks containing material on biological evolution? So, inspired by a thread in the USENet newsgroup talk.origins (thanks to Daniel W. Johnson), I offer a modest beginning to this labelling in the name of science:

A glass paperweight in the shape of an apple with words embedded inside.

This product relies on Gravity. Universal gravitation is a theory, not a fact, regarding the motion of objects. This product should be used with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

The computer you are using contains components designed according to the theory, not fact, of solid state electronics. Its continued operation must be considered uncertain and tentative.

Please feel free to spread this image so long as my name is attached.


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