Only a Theory
“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
We need to be very careful about our terminology. One example of incorrect terminology is when a fellow creationist argues with an evolutionist by saying: “Evolution is only a theory.” In the popular understanding, the idea is that there are facts, which are fully provable, and theories, which are just people’s ideas. These uses of the words fact and theory are, unfortunately, somewhat naïve.
There are very few scientific facts. A fact needs to be observed over and over again, and no known observations are found to the contrary. But not everything that we call a “fact” is as certain as we think. There are some “facts” from history which had not been found wanting for centuries. Laws are related to facts. Take Newton’s Laws of Motion, for example. These laws still work in conditions with which we are familiar, but we know that they do not apply when we study objects moving at velocities approaching the speed of light.
The National Academy of Sciences defines a theory as “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment”. But evolutionary ideas are not confirmed by experiment and definitely not by observation. So evolution does not fulfill the definition of a scientific theory. We can state that evolution is not actually a theory; it is a statement of someone’s worldview, the belief system with which they interpret the world.
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