Vanessa Wamsley on her response to evolution being taught in schools as scientific fact.
A 10th-grader perches on the edge of her chair as her biology teacher lectures on evolution. She listens intently. The years she’s spent in Sunday school and church services have prepared her for this very moment. Her hand shoots up, and the teacher calls her name. Breathless, she asks a question.
“How do you know evolution really happened? Were you there?”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”
From which, in many cases– but not all– scientific facts are derived.
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is, whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable careful observation or measurement (by experiments or other means).
Hence, evolution is a theory because it cannot be proven by specific facts. I see this battle much like climate change. Climate change is occurring (and has occurred many times in the past, based upon scientific evidence). What the debate should be about is not climate change, but the cause for climate change– naturally occurring, or man-made. Based upon how dirty the planet has become in the past 100 years I suspect the latter, but my conclusion is only a sliver of the scientific process.