evoluetion and facts

Tue, 5 Mar 1996 17:14:26 EST

To D. Read:
Thanks,but I can't quite buy it. A is related to B by a vast
pattern observed in a mass of facts, including a whole realm of assumptions of
scientific logic and methods. "evolution is a fact" communicates a mistaken (
defensive?) absolutism, but diminishes a principle which is greater than any
simple fact (by Lasker's definition.) An hypothesis which is repeatedly
verfied is still an hypothesis, is it not? Maybe by that time it is a "fact of
culture" in that it is that thoroughly accepted. But is it a fact of nature
(inorganic or organic)? Lasker and others, whose impatience with unreasoning
idoelogues is quite understandable, make themselves seem just as absolutist as
the ideologues when the borrow this bit of rhetoric.
Following Robert K. Merton, I prefer, "Fact is fact, theory is theory;
both must interact in science. And I conclude that evolution is theory, not
"just" theory, but good theory in that it accounts for more of the facts
more adequately that any alternative explanation.
Thanks for listening.