21 May 2005

kansans have stopped evolving

So I'm from kansas, and this is the second time i've gone through the whole "Why doesn't my state believe in evolution" crisis. But I think over time I've realized it's not just a problem with the crazies who want to put creation in the curriculum. It's actually more a problem with the way we view science.

I would like to remind people that the philosophy and purpose of science is not to prove anything. It's to observe something about nature and then try to come up with an explanation.

So, you can come up with an explanation, and other scientists may agree or disagree with your methods and conclusions. As long as they agree and adopt your theories into their own work, you're good to go. If they don't agree and you still want them to take you seriously, you have to work harder to make your experiments sound and show that your conclusions are applicable, realistic, useful.

The neat part is, if some people do agree and accept your theories, but some other people disagree, the burden is not yours anymore. Why not, well, that's because nothing in science can be proven true, it can only be proven false or withstand the test of many attempts to prove it false. The burden is on those who dissent, and it's their job to prove you wrong.

Hey Kansas, please go ahead and teach that evolution is a theory. But make sure you teach that so is gravity. Kids are smart enough, they'll get the point.

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