Is evolution a fact or science?

If evolution is a scientific fact, then it is replicatable and reproducable. How close are we to evolving or transforming a species into a new one?

If evolution is scientific theory, then it is a testable theory (experiment) and not a fact. We can't make it happen (experiment) but we can see large amounts of evidence that show that it did. Fossils are facts because we can replicate finding them. But until we can evolve somethng, evolution remains a theory.

We call gravity a theory also because we cant make it. But we can see facts like a ball falling.

Now, many people will say evolution is a fact. Period. Even though they can't evolve something. These people are religious because they accept evolution as fact based on faith,


Seedless watermelons, seedless grapes, hybid corn are still the same species (sterile). Dalmations and Chihuhuas are still dogs. I am speaking evolution, you know transitional forms.

Update 2:

Still mayflies are mayflies.

Update 3:

Drosophila is close but still Drosophila

Update 4:

I actually have a faith the humans evolved from a past primate. Not a fact and not a good theory though. No one has made an ape into a human.

22 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    I wish you would ask this in a science section (like Biology). The fact that a concept of SCIENCE is debated on political or religious terms is appalling! Science isn't determined by political ideology, or by vote. Scientific principles are not decided on what "moral message" we want reinforced.

    Science is NOT a political issue, it is NOT a democracy. The theory with the most evidence wins.

    >"If evolution is a scientific fact, then it is replicatable and reproducable. How close are we to evolving or transforming a species into a new one? "

    Let's define our terms.

    When a biologist says "evolution is a fact" it's fair to ask what HE *means* by the word evolution in that sentence. It is not fair to judge his statement based on YOUR definition of what you think 'evolution' means. True? Isn't that fair?

    To a biologist, the word "evolution" just means "genetic change". That's it.

    Here is the definition of evolution in

    "(1) The change in genetic composition of a population over successive generations, which may be caused by natural selection, inbreeding, hybridization, or mutation.

    (2) The sequence of events depicting the evolutionary development of a species or of a group of related organisms; phylogeny. "

    So evolution CAN include "you know, transitional forms" ... but evolution ALSO includes the breeding of seedless watermelons and chihuahuas.

    It is in THAT sense of the word 'evolution' that scientists will say that 'evolution is a FACT'. It is a FACT that species change genetically over time. It is replicatable and reproducible. (By the way, those mean the same thing.)

    >"How close are we to evolving or transforming a species into a new one? "

    We have reproduced speciation many times in the lab ... the splitting of a species into two species that to not interbreed. We can do this with fast-reproducing species like plants and various kinds of insects.

    And we are pretty close to achieving speciation in dogs by use of reproductive isolation of breeds. Chihuahuas and great danes are theoretically able to cross-fertilize, but usually with fatal results. So if we have not yet achieved a ring species, in another couple-hundred years we will have.

    If you mean a Homo erectus "transforming" into a Homo sapiens, then of course we can't reproduce 1 million years of evolution in a laboratory. But again, that is not a requirement to demonstrate the FACT of evolution ... the FACT that species experience genetic change over time.

    >"If evolution is scientific theory, then it is a testable theory (experiment) and not a fact. We can't make it happen (experiment) but we can see large amounts of evidence that show that it did."

    Yes. Very nicely put.

    My only objection is that you position the word 'theory' as if it is 'not a fact'.

    A 'theory' in science is not the opposite of 'fact.' It is not a statement of confidence in the truth of a statement. A 'theory' is not an 'unproven fact' or a 'fact in dispute'.

    A 'theory' in science is an *EXPLANATION* for facts.

    So the 'theory of evolution' is the EXPLANATION for the 'fact of evolution.' They are two separate things.

    Just as the 'theory of gravity' is the EXPLANATION for the 'fact of gravity'. They are two separate things.

    >"We call gravity a theory also because we cant make it. But we can see facts like a ball falling. "

    No we call it a 'theory' because it is an EXPLANATION for facts like a ball falling.

    >"Now, many people will say evolution is a fact. Period. Even though they can't evolve something. These people are religious because they accept evolution as fact based on faith,"

    No. These are people who are using the word 'evolution' and 'fact' in very specific, scientific ways. They are using the word 'evolution' to mean "genetic change", and they are using the word 'fact' to mean *repeatable observation*.

    There's no faith involved at all.

    Again, this is why debating this in a *political* context is a disaster. In the halls of science, EVERYBODY SPEAKS THE SAME LANGUAGE. They have very precise meanings of what words like 'evolution', 'fact', 'theory', 'law', 'evidence', etc. all mean.

    I.e. in science, whenever there is a discussion, everybody stops and asks "if we are debating X, then what do YOU mean by X when you support it, and then I will accept YOUR definition as what I am disputing." If the two parties don't even agree on what the terms mean, then they don't even start the discussion.

    That's why scientists arrive at consensus, while in politics we are losing daily our ability to reach any kind of agreement in politics at all.

    >"I actually have a faith the humans evolved from a past primate."

    I don't. I don't accept ANY scientific claim on "faith." Ever.

    "Not a fact and not a good theory though."

    What makes a "good theory" is evidence. And the evidence for humans having evolved from earlier primates is abundant.

    "No one has made an ape into a human."

    And nobody has ever created gravity or a star or made a crater on Mars. But that doesn't mean that we don't have good "theories" (explanations) for falling objects, the formation of stars, or what causes craters on Mars.

    Again, you are confused about what words like 'fact' and 'theory' MEAN in science. You don't have to replicate something to qualify as either a fact or a theory. You have to replicate *observations*, not the theory itself!

  • 4 years ago

    There are two answers to that question: 1) Randomness is not science fiction. 2) Evolution is not just "random chance." Natural selection (which is the process that we believe drives evolution) has a random component, and a non-random component. The random component is normal 'variation' ... the fact that not all individuals are identical. When your parents got together, there was an astronomically huge number of genetic combinations they could produce ... and yet they produced you. So there was a huge amount randomness in the fact that you are here, but that doesn't mean that anything supernatural had to occur to produce you. So if you can understand the random (and yet fully natural) component in your birth, that is the same random component involved in evolution. The non-random component is the 'selection' part. Some individuals have traits that make them slightly better adapted to their environment than others. They will go on to produce more offspring, and thus pass on those very traits. Nothing random about that at all.

  • 1 decade ago

    Evolution is a theory, but that does not mean that it doesn't happen or isn't real. Why do you think you have to get a new flu vaccine every year? It evolves!

    Just so you know, evolution isn't something that happens overnight. It has to involve a heritable trait that is passed through generations. Sometimes, a population will split up (due to a few different things, like insurmountable geographical changes) and the populations will evolve into different species because they can't interbreed. Any trait change that occurs in one population will not occur in the other population because they are not breeding with each other.

    It makes perfect sense if you take the time to learn it!

  • 1 decade ago

    It's both a fact and a theory. It happens, and we can see that it happens, hence it is a fact. And, contrary to your unsupported assertions, it can be reproduced. Where do you think seedless watermelons came from?

    Our explanation for how it happens is a theory.

    Gravity is also a fact and a theory. The ball falling demonstrates the fact of gravity; we observe that bodies are attracted to each other by a force proportionate to their mass, and we call that force gravity. The theory of gravity is our explanation for why the fact of gravity exists.

    Your suggestion that fact and theory are distinguished by different levels of evidence is absolutely and completely false.

    Your claim that if something is a fact then it must be replicated it in a laboratory is also ridiculous. If we observe something happening, then it's perfectly reasonable to say that it happens. The fact that a scientist didn't cause it to happen is irrelevant (especially when the theory in question is about a natural process).

    In any case, experiments have been perfectly consistent with the predictions made by the theory of evolution.

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  • The theory of evolution is testable. If evolution has happened, then there must be artifacts of its having happened and the results of a search for those artifacts will confirm it.

    As one noted evolutionary scientist once said, all it would take to falsify evolution is to find a fossil rabbit in Cambrian strata. In using the example of a fossil rabbit, he was being only slightly facetious. In fact, his intent was broader. All it would take to falsify evolution would be to find the fossil remains of any of the 5,000 species of present-day mammals (including humans) or 10,000 species of present-day birds in the Cambrian, or in the Devonian, or in the Ordovician, or in any strata where they should not be found according to evolutionary theory.

    So the artifact of evolution is that fossils of none of those species would be found in those strata. And, in fact, no fossils of those species are to be found in those strata. So those findings validate the theory of evolution. The creationist "model," on the other hand, does require all of those species to be found in all such geologic strata, since according to the creationist model all species were created at the same time and that the fossil record was laid down by the biblical flood. They should therefore be found throughout the strata and not in a pattern that follows an evolutionary progression, as is the case.

    As for the evolution of of humans from a past primate, the fossil evidence supports it.

    Here is another example of the predictive power of the theory of evolution with respect to human evolution.

    About fifty years ago, when it was first noted that apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, but humans have 23, the creationists subsequently pounced upon that as evidence against the evolution of humans from a common ancestor with the apes. The evolutionist scientists, however, using evolutionary theory and an understanding of genetic modification, proposed that two of the chromosomes must have joined together in the line that led to man from the common ancestor, thus reducing the chromosome number.

    That prediction has been verified with the results of the recent human and chimp genome projects. It was found that human chromosome 2 is the result of the joining of two chromosomes that have homologues in the chimp. The decoding of the genomes revealed that human chromosome 2 has a stretch of non-functioning telomere coding in the exact place it should be if the two chromosomes had joined in the human line from the common ancestor with the apes, and there is also non-functioning coding for a centromere in the exact location where the extra centromere would be as it occurs in one of the homologous chimp chromosomes, as well as a functioning centromere in the same location as in the other homologous chimp chromosome.

    Long before the genome projects verified it, this article contained an example of the proposition that two of the ancestral chromosomes joined together to form human chromosome 2.

    These sites explain the finding of the genome projects.

    A scientific theory does not need to be verified by observations in the lab. As long as verifiable predictions can be derived from a theory, then it is reasonable to accept that it reflects reality. Astrophysics, for example, has come up with theories of stellar evolution, particularly how stars produce energy and what happens to stars during their life cycles. Those theories have been, for the most part, verified by observations, particularly the types of radiation and elements produced in supernova. Now obviously supernovas cannot be produced in a lab. Are you saying that the theories of stellar evolution are not good theories for that reason?

    The point is that the theory of evolution fits the evidence and there is no other theory that fits the evidence. The evidence is substantial

  • 1 decade ago

    Those who accept the existence of a supreme creator based on faith could be said to be "Religious", whereas those who pertain to the theory of gravity or evolution based on scientific analysis and fact could not. The difference being that those who accept the existence of a supreme being, accept that existence on the word of ancient texts that have been re-translated over and over again for thousands of years by men who have used those texts for monetary or political gain, not to mention oppression, murder, rape, more murder, a little genocide and did I mention murder. Religion breeds hate, nothing more. Those who accept the Theory of Gravity have something to prove this belief to themselves by merely dropping a pencil, those who believe in the Theory of Evolution also have a way to prove it to themselves. Simply by going to a zoo and looking at a primate. Or to be more specific, Bonobos, sometimes referred to as Chimpanzees though there are some differences. They share 99% of the same DNA as human beings. Not to mention the fossil record of pre-humans. Those who believe in science do not believe in science based on faith, but fact. The argument that it cannot be true based on the fact that we haven't evolved anything is ridiculous, since evolution takes place over hundreds of thousands of years, we are evolving right now. The fact that religion still exists proves that that evolution is only physical, not social.

  • 1 decade ago

    Gravity isn't a theory. Ever hear of Newton's Law of Gravitation? Gravity can also be measured.

    Evolution is a fact. Many species actually have evolved. Whether or not Humans evolved from primates is what is being debated.

    Science isn't all about experiments in a laboratory. Observation is a very powerful tool as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    We HAVE seen proof of evolution so it is a fact. IT is yet to be determined how it got started, do almost the entire scientific community has developed hypothesis on how it works and have figured out there was no need for a god, while on the other hand the ignorant bible-humpers will deny this fact no matter how many facts are thrown at them.

    Just like when scientists were proving the Earth revolved around the sun.

  • 1 decade ago


    noun Biology

    the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution.


    This happens all of the time. We see it with Viruses.

    Also, two strains of Drosophila paulistorum developed hybrid sterility of male offspring between 1958 and 1963 (observed by humans). Artificial selection induced strong intra-strain mating preferences.

    Evolution is a fact, natural selection is the theory. The same way gravity is a fact, and newton's theory of gravitation is the theory.

  • David
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Actually we have demonstrated proof of evolution, we watched the evolution of mayflies through several generations in an enclosed artificial environment with set needs, and forced them to evolve to fit said needs.

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