Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

Socratic Gadfly has the quote of the day. With regard to the fact that many deride evolution by calling it a theory:
Isaac Newton developed a “theory” of gravitation. I cordially invite you all to see if it’s “just a theory” by walking off the top of the TXU building here in downtown Dallas.
Don't think I'll test that one today.


  1. Satisfying though the quote is, I'd argue that it doesn't offer much of a test of gravitational theory. Everyone knows that things fall when you drop them. The question is, why? Gravitational theory posits a force that attracts bodies of matter to each other, and spells out the properties of that attraction.

    Falling off a building could just as easily be explained by a theory that demons constantly pull our feet toward the ground. Or that the earth is flying ever upwards. Gravitational theory doesn't just predict that "things will fall." It explains why they fall (from our perspective), and predicts a host of other observations not explained by the demon-hands theory or the upward-flying-earth-theory.

    This has been another stirring contribution from the Resident Pedant.

  2. This is true. However, there are people out there, Don McLeroy for instance, who deny that evolution actually happens. If you looked at them and said, "experts can explain gravity by the following equations," they might respond "I don't believe the experts. Someone has to stand up to the experts" as the Dentist from College Station famously did.

    Or you might get Ken Ham's relativist perspective: "We both have the same facts to work with. We just choose to interpret them differently." By God, there is a giant vacuum cleaner inside the earth. The earth sucks!