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Re: [Phys-l] Is evolution something to believe in?

Down with categorical imperative!

----- Original Message ----
From: Hugh Haskell <>
To: Forum for Physics Educators <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 10:57:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] Is evolution something to believe in?

At 21:16 -0700 4/2/08, curtis osterhoudt wrote:

In the context of this list, "belief" as it is taught to science
students would have to include a discussion of the criteria for
successful theories. Once that is covered, I don't see much problem
with teaching what theories may be "believed in" based on available
evidence, etc. Of course, as the sophistication of the students
advances, more and more details may be investigated (the _basis_ for
the beliefs).

It seems to me that some of us are missing Cliff's point, which is
that as scientists we don't (or shouldn't) "belive in" any theory or


It seems to me (I believe!) that it's pretty sad that the word "belief" is now sometimes synonymous with "unproven faith", whereas it can just as easily (validly) be used in the context of giving credence to proved suppositions. In this way the word has suffered the same convolution as "theory" has in the mind of the laypublic. Those interested in science have lost the ability to use a heretofore perfectly good term without being accused of hypocrisy, or -- perhaps -- violating some "pure" Carneadean skepticism.

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