With great interest I read John Timmer’s article for Ars Technica called, “Kentucky lawmakers shocked to find evolution in biology tests.” They were surprised because although the state government has tried to get evolution removed from the state curriculum, the federal government determines the content of nationwide standardized tests, and with evolution having such strong scientific support, both in terms of scientists and evidence, it is featured prominently in the standardized tests.
The article quotes Senator David Givens,
I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution.
What the senator fails to understand is that the word ‘theory’ in the context of science, has a very specific meaning. Creationism certainly does not qualify. Not only is it not a scientific theory, it’s not science at all.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines theory in the commonly used sense the senator using:
loosely. An unsubstantiated hypothesis ; a speculative (esp. fanciful ) view.
The same dictionary defines theory in a scientific context:
A system of ideas or statements explaining something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the things to be explained ; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment and is accepted as accounting for known facts.
The theory of evolution fulfils the requirements of this definition nicely.
The article goes on to quote Representative Ben Waide,
The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up.
Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.
Waide has one characteristic in common with the perfect crime: no clue. Evolution is indeed a scientific theory, just as gravity is a scientific theory. In fact, we know more about how evolution works than about how gravity works. Does Waide think Newton made up gravity, and it doesn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny?
These guys would be a hoot if they weren’t responsible for helping to run the government. Their incredible ignorance can, and does, cause real harm.