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RE: Theory or Law : Semantics??



I'm for it, to some extent. It's been pointed out (e.g. by Dawkins) that the
Hardy-Weinberg Law (so-called) is analogous to Newton's First Law of Motion
(describing the status quo in the absence of forces, including drift). An
appropriately formulated Law of Natural Selection (Plus Drift) would then
parallel the Second Law (F = m*a). After that it starts getting into the
even more gloriously messy details of natural history, but the occurrence of
speciation and subsequent (genetic and phenotypic) divergence is also pretty
fundamental and law-like, and everything else about Life follows from that.
Of course, re-branding the basic parts of the Theory as 'The Three [or
however many] Laws' would be pretty much just a marketing (and teaching)
exercise, i.e. mainly rhetorical.

-----------------------------------------------
Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa
riversleigh@outbackatisa.com.au
http://www.outbackatisa.com.au/Fossil-Education/Palaeontologist.aspx
 
"Get this $%#@* python off me!", said Tom laocoonically.

-----Original Message-----
From: dale mcinnes [mailto:wdm1949@hotmail.com] 
Sent: 08 January, 2010 3:40 PM
To: DML
Subject: Theory or Law : Semantics??


Odd question to ask the List.
 
Do you believe that the Theory of Evolution should 
just be regarded as a well established Theory?? Or 
do you think we should start calling it a Law?? How
comfortable are we on this??
 
Again. Not a frivoulous question. It could carry  
somewhat of an impact over to Joe and Jane Public.
If they hear it referred to as Law (as in Gravity),
it may send the signal that those who disagree are
completely out-of-touch with 21st C reality. When 
the public hears "theory" they automatically assume
"hypothesis" ...... "speculation" ...... "best guess".
 
Could semantics be part of our problem out there??

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