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Re: "Law" of Evolution

Jonathon Woolf wrote:

> D.I.G. wrote:
> > 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?


As I understand the (extraordinarily) reasonable assertion in the
following paragraph, the definition of "Evolotion" is what I would call
"conditional," by which I mean that the quality of its verifiability
changes according to the circumstances in which it is applied, and that
are shadings in its meaning.

The staph strain, according to this "evolved" into a resistant strain,
and there is proof to show that it did. In this shading of meaning, that
an "evolution" of an organism occurred is a fact because it was

In the case of vast geologic time, because, by definition (short of time
travel -- which I'm not advocating as a reality, please) we cannot
observe the actual changes, so evolution in that case remains
theoretical by which I mean that it is the best, most parsimonious
explanation for the changes that occurred but cannot be proven.

So, does it follow, then, that the appropriate terminology applied to
evolution must be specified according to the particular situation in
which "evolution" is occurring?

It would then be appropriate to say, it is a fact that a staph virus
evolved into a resistant strain, but it is not a fact that a (specific)
dinosaur evolved into another (specific) animal.

So in some cases, evolution is a fact, and in other cases evolution is a
theory.  Zen hard at work again.


> 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

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