Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Keeping Definitions Straight.

Borrowing my own comment from Cranky Liberal - I am so tired of reading "it's just a theory" - time to start throwing dictionaries.

I think I’m going to post these two definitions on my blog today - they are straight out of the American Heritage Dictionary, they are 2 of 6 definitions, and the ID people are taking massive advantage of the fact that not everyone recognizes the very significant difference between the two -


1. 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.
This is what scientists (and laypeople who understand science) mean when they say “theory of evolution”.

6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
This is the definition Intelligent Design people & creationists want people to think of when they chant their mantra of “evolution is just a theory”.

Easy to confuse even reasonably smart people when you blur the decided distinction between the former and the latter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the judge in the Dover case gets it - legal training is supposed to make people be really clear about definitions, isn’t it?

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