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Re: "Law" of Evolution

D.I.G. wrote:
> Would someone be kind enough to outline the process whereby a "Theory"
> of Nature becomes a "Law?"

When enough people buy the assumption that a generalization can't ever
be violated, it gets dubbed a 'law of nature.'  

> To the best of my knowledge "The Theory of Evolution by Natural
> Selection" is, by definition, a theory. Has it, in fact, become a Law of
> Nature? What would it take for the scientific community to adopt it with
> the same weight as, say, Newtonian Mechanics or the Laws of
> Thermodynamics?

It already has.  More so, actually.  No one can rigidly prove the laws
of thermodynamics (in fact, modern subatomic physics depends on the laws
of thermo being breakable within the uncertainty principle), but you can
rigidly prove, by direct observation, that Darwin's rules of variation
and selection work the way Darwin said they did.  Just look at the scare
this week about that staph strain that's resistant to vancomycin. 
Darwin's process is no longer a theory, it's an observed fact.  The
"theory" part comes in when you extend the process to cover the origin
of larger taxa over geologic time.  We _know_ that Darwinian evolution
can produce speciation, because we've seen it happen.  We don't _know_
that it can also produce new genera, families, orders, classes, or
phyla, because we haven't directly seen any of those things happen, but
we _theorize_ that it can.  

-- JSW