# What is a theory? Evidence for some theories...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by renewed, Apr 9, 2010.

1. ### renewed macrumors 68040

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#1

What is a theory? According to Merriam-Webster it is:

For the sake of today's discussion let's look at the last two.

5 : a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena <the wave theory of light>
6 a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b : an unproved assumption : conjecture c : a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject <theory of equations>

I'm sure many of you can agree on this. But what is an acceptable general principle? Is there one? Let's check out a little thing called demarcation...

Okay so we can conclude that true theory based on a general principle can be hard to come by, right? However, most of us can agree on the Scientific Method... what is that?

Let's try this out real quick on something most of us can agree on...

Do some birds eat bird seed?
From research it seems some birds do eat small seeds.
I bet if I put out birdseed, some birds will eat it.
I set out bird seed to see if they will eat it.
It was seen that some birds did eat the bird seed
Birds were seen eating the bird seed that I set out. My conclusion is some birds eat bird seed.

This a fairly simple and rather hard to argue example of the Scientific Method. If everything was this easy then of course it would show that it holds true. Now let's try something a little more difficult.

I see an ant on my counter.

Why is this ant here?
Ant's like food. Sometimes they hunt for it.
The ant is looking for food.
I set out a sugar cube to see if the ant takes it.
The ant did not take it so the ant wasn't looking for food.
I conclude the ant had another purpose.

This can't be proven. Just because the ant did not take the sugar cube, does not mean it was not looking for food. This is an experimental fallacy.

The same holds true about religion. "I have not seen God, therefore he does not exist." This cannot be proven or disproven. So does that mean this is not science? One would argue that God is the basis for all science, without Him we would not exist. Others would argue that science itself disproves God because he cannot be proven via the Scientific Method. This is the point of demarcation.

The short conclusion to this is that, yes some science is based on opinion. My opinion is that God does exist and some others is that He doesn't.

Let's take something else. There is a lot of proof for Darwin's theory of evolution in the creation of humans, and a lot of evidence against it. Both are theories. An opinion must come to rest for someone to take either side. Why is it an opinion? Because neither can be proven with 100% certainty.

2. ### Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

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#2
Can you name any of this so called evidence against Darwin's theory? Without using your bible, please.

3. ### yellow Moderator emeritus

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#3
And your point is... ? That in your opinion there is a god?

4. ### Queso Suspended

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#4
Science looks for evidence to back up its hypotheses. Religion says "this is the answer, so ****". No comparison.

5. ### renewed thread starter macrumors 68040

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#5
I actually believe in some evolution. It's the chimps to humans that I do not. I'll shoot a quick question for you... if chimps evolved into our now present day humans... why didn't they all evolve? Surely evolution is based on evolving for survival... if becoming human was best for the species, why did some stay back and how did they survive?

That science is full of opinion... which was being argued against in another thread. Started this one as to leave that thread alone out of respect of the OP.

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7. ### yellow Moderator emeritus

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#7
Religion is also full of opinion... So can you condemn one without condemning the other? I don't believe in Forums, either.

8. ### NT1440 macrumors G4

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#8
Hold on. Is the issue now just theories or what constitute a scientific theory and what it takes to become classified as one in the scientific field? The latter is what I was getting at in the last thread.

9. ### djellison macrumors 68020

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#9
Please provide your single best piece of evidence against it. I would be fascinated to see it.

10. ### renewed thread starter macrumors 68040

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#10
If you read my post you will see that the scientific theory is used as an example. Check out demarcation, which is solely based on the scientific theory or better yet the scientific method used to derive such theories.

11. ### leekohler macrumors G5

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#11
Exactly- we were discussing scientific theory. I still have seen no scientific method proving there is a "God".

12. ### Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

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#12
That's the question people have been using for decades and here is the simple answer: no one knows. We may never know. That does not disprove evolution at all. Here's my problem with religion and arguements like you are making (and I say this with all due respect, I enjoy a could go-around with religious people and don't mean to demean you or your religion; I just disagree with it, anyway...); Mankind has always wanted to know where they came from, how the world was created, how the universe works, etc. A long time ago, people had no idea about the things we take for granted now and made up what is now seen as ridiculous reasons for how the unvierse works. That giant fire ball in the sky? Must be a firey chariot being dragged across the sky by giant horses. They believed that as much as people believe in Jesus, Moses, etc today. We now know better, of course. I can't put myself in their shoes, so to speak, but I find it silly to think Well, I don't know how something works, so it must be gods or magic. I can't give you a blow by blow on exactlly how evolution worked. Maybe noone ever will. But to then have to say, well, since I can't figure it out, it must be god! I mean, its so silly to think we came from apes to some people but the magic man in the sky makes sense? I honestly don't get it. I can sit down with religious people and show all the mistakes in the bible and they will come up with any reason to still have to believe in it. It says the Earth is a few thousands years old. We know, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that this is wrong but NOPE! Its the word of god, has to be true. Yet I can't show you a video of how evolution works down to every last detail so we throw that theory right out the window. Forget the fossils just found, forget all the scientific evidence...nope! Magic man in the sky! He did it all because science can't answer your questions 100%. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

13. ### djellison macrumors 68020

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#13
A scientific theory...

• Explains a natural phenomenon.
• Predicts future occurrences or observations of the same kind.
• Can be tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation.
• Is Supported by a vast body of reliable knowledge.

I see nothing that would support creationism or the existence of a god under any of those .

They didn't.

Read these - then get back to us.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primate#Evolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae

Next question.

14. ### Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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#14
On the contrary, renewed, you should have focused on definitions 2 and 4a, since those more closely relate to the context in which the word "theory" is use din your original quote.

Nope. Religion cannot be disproved through science. It's like trying to drive a slotted screw with a Philips driver. Incompatible tools. You can't scientifically validate religion.

15. ### Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

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#15
I kind of disagree . Take Christianity. The bible is the word of god, correct? Can't be wrong if you are god, right? However, how much of the bible has been proved wrong? Is the Earth a few thousand years old? Nope. Can't be the word of god if its wrong, right? And if the word of god is wrong, isn't the whole darn thing just made up?

16. ### renewed thread starter macrumors 68040

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#16
What proof do you have that the world is "x" amount of years old? I'd like to hear your theory on it (or how you agree with someone else's).

17. ### Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

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#17
Do we really need to argue over how old the world is? You'd like to hear my theory as if I am the first person to tell you that the world is millions of years old and not a few thousand. Please tell me you are joking.

18. ### djellison macrumors 68020

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#18
Please review these - then come back to us with any questions you may have.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/age.html
http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...serid=10&md5=bfa23e4a306a270dbbc70af2b51b549c

If, at any point, you are going to suggest that any and all evidence that has directed us toward these findings is somehow 'planted' by your God, can you say so now and save us all the bother of attempting to engage in a debate with someone who's clearly not interested in an actual debate.

19. ### renewed thread starter macrumors 68040

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#19
Ok.. hominids... the idea is just so ridiculous I assumed "chimps" would do the trick. But if we must be technical then yes, you are correct.

Hopefully you are not basing this on carbon-dating alone.

20. ### NT1440 macrumors G4

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#20
Please explain what makes it ridiculous?

21. ### Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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#21
The scientific method relies on repeatable experimental results to prove or disprove things. Religion, on the other hand, constitutes the belief in supernatural entities or phenomena held to be of an ultimately unfathomable character.

Science is the result of critical, systematic evaluation. Religion is founded on faith. I am not placing a value judgement on either, but they cannot be evaluated in terms of the other. Science cannot prove the existence of the supernatural; it can only say that no scientific evidence for the supernatural has ever been found. This is not a pronouncment that "God does not exist", merely that science is not equipped to deal in such matters. No "theory" in science can be constructed to test the existence of God. Conversely, theological methods can't be used by doctors to determine drug doses, or by biologists to explain how diseases jump species, or by engineers to predict stress loads in buildings, or by astronomers to describe the composition of the solar system.

As to the age of the earth, and the origin of Homo Sapiens, the scientific evidence does not contradict any but the most fundamentalist of Judeo-Christian sects. People who think otherwise generally do so from an ignorance of Darwinian and geological principles as well as an ignorance current theology.

22. ### djellison macrumors 68020

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#22
We're talking about you questioning a well known, well documented scientific theory. YET we must be technical. That's how it works.

What, explicitly, do you find 'ridiculous' about it.

Incidentally - you certainly didn't have time to read the material I supplied in full before describing it as ridiculous. I go to the trouble of finding you some documented, cited material so that you can educate yourself - and you've clearly not bothered reading it.

Are you here to troll, or are you here to have an interesting debate?

23. ### Queso Suspended

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#23
Humans are simply apes who at some point in the past became cognitively aware. Even without the increasing amount of evidence from the fossil record and DNA research this should be clear. Why do you think so many of us have problems with our lower backs if it's not that our spines were originally designed for four-limbed movement? Why do we have an appendix if we didn't use to eat far more leaf matter? Even our behaviour is influenced and mirrored by our ape cousins. The only reason this is even still being discussed is down to religious nonsense. We are apes, albeit incredibly talented ones. I mean, we can even imagine deities and other pretend figures such as Santa Claus.

24. ### yellow Moderator emeritus

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#24
I'm curious how much ****ing would have to go on to get from 2 people to an estimated 6,813,600,000 people in just a little over 5000 years? And why does everyone look different?

25. ### leekohler macrumors G5

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#25