When Theory Becomes Law

28 November 2007

Usually I hate to dignify the views of proponents of creationism and intelligent design by discussing them. Their views are so off-base, that they are not worth time. But as their influence grows, we do need to ensure that they don’t gain ground. With this in mind, Clive Thompson has written a wonderful piece in issue 15.11 of Wired: “Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law“.

When creationists don’t like what’s inside a book, they put a sticker on it which reads “Evolution is a theory, not a fact”. Mr. Thompson believes scientists are too careful; there is plenty of evidence which shows that evolution of living (and non-living things such as viruses) clearly occurs. His idea is to call evolution a law, not a theory. That way, it’s harder for people to discount it.

I think it’s a great idea. But implementing it is the problem – it will be hard to change decades of scientific habit.