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anthropal

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Jun 2 12 2:43 PM

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I was reading a book on forensic archaeology a few months ago and was interested in pages 86 and 87 where it discusses the scientific method. The folowing is from page 87, but the whole piece is worth reading:

Eventually, over much time, with precise testing marked by a failure to falsify, scientific theories can become scientific principles.

I think that explains better how well established theories such as evolution are approached in the scientific world. Evolution is more than a "just a theory", it is a principle. Scientific principles are still theories, it's just that some are so well established that the basic fundamentals for all intents and purposes need no further investigation. Populations evolve over successive generations - fact - and this principle is the foundation of biological processes.

Any thoughts?

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richw9090

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Jun 3 12 9:39 PM

As a popular explanation, I think it is fine.  We just need to remember that scientific "principles" have no formal place in the hierarchy of the scientific method.

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anthropal

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Jun 4 12 10:49 AM

Yes I understand, and grappled with the definition for some weeks before posting. I think it is a good definition for Creationists, but really has little value within science, and here raises another issue. Creationists tend to take what is accepted in a scientific definition (theory) and replace it with a generic definition, then use it to show a layperson that evolution really "is just a theory". I remember a Ph.D. student who was assisting in teaching a second year zoology lab class who said that well accepted theories can become laws. I quietly corrected her after class, but there is something amiss if Creationist obfuscation can reach into the science lab. For example, abiogenesis could be called a theory, from where Creationists use what is essentially a well tested hypothesis to compare to biological evolution, but biological evolution is so well established as a theory that saying in scientific circles it is generally accepted as a principle wouldn't really bat an eye. The hierachy is accepted in scientific circles because scientific processes are so well understood they need no explanation, but not so for the layman, and the Creationsist plays upon this by saying that scientists use their own definitions to hide some "truth" that a theory is really just a guess.

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