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What is Science?

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Science, Theories, and Facts

Evolution vs. Creationism

Intelligent Design Theory

What is the Theory of Evolution?

Teaching Problems


Science, Theories, and Facts

Science is a system used to learn about the world around us.  It studies everything, questions everything, and shares ideas and discoveries.  Each theory builds on those proposed before.  Even after generations of work, recent discoveries and new ideas modify our collective understanding.  This process has a huge learning curve.  No one has all the answers, and often it takes a spark of genius or rebellion to even ask the right question.

The scientific method is a process used by scientists to help organize knowledge.  Its use can determine if new information is valid, invalid, or catch people who cheat.  Scientists start with an observation or question and build a hypothesis (educated guess) in an attempt to explain what they see.  “Scientific method” requires a hypotheses tested in multiple ways and by multiple people to determine accuracy.  A theory is a collection of tested hypotheses that explain a wider variety of events.  Theories change often and must be continuously tested.

For a theory to become widely accepted,

its hypotheses must consistently and accurately match observations.

Facts are difficult to substantiate in science.  How we define an object may be factual. (The object is a chair)  But the way we think of objects can be "factual by definition" only, ("Chair" is an English word, not universal.  It does not describe size, coverings, or number of legs.).  We also impose opinions as facts.  (The chair is comfortable. -- Not necessarily true for everyone.  Thus not a fact.)

Any theory that becomes established is talked about as if were a "fact".  Revolutionary ideas are considered loony.  This is the scientific method: guilty until proven worthy.  To become a scientific fact, data must be scrutinized to the point no one believes otherwise, not one person, no data left out.  That is why cosmology and evolution are still theories.  We just don't have enough data yet.

Scientists are often wrong.  They have altered, modified, discarded, and reinstated theories countless times, in all disciplines.  The age of the universe has gone from thousands of years, to millions, to billions.  There are still big holes in the data and many more questions than answers.  But none of that negates the work done, the observations made, or people’s ability to determine cause and effect.  It just says they can be wrong.

The fluidity of scientific theories is a stumbling block for most people.  Scientists publicly admit that new data forces reevaluation of hypotheses and theories.  They find the process exciting.  It means they are on the cutting edge of discovery.  But many people can’t handle the uncertainty.  They want definitive answers set in stone.  It is difficult to keep up with or explain multi-faceted theories that frequently change.  It is much easier to say, “It happened this way…”

Political unrest, religious suppression, and lack of funding for the sciences inhibit education and sharing of information.  Only when a complete ecosystem is studied can an animal truly be known.  Very little of the Earth has been studied.  New species (living and ancient) are being discovered every year.  New discoveries will prompt new theories and change our understanding of the world.


Evolution vs. Creationism

  By definition, both “young earth” and “old earth” concepts of creation have been legitimate theories for a long time.  People support both sides passionately.  Sadly, such passion breeds distrust and harsh words leads to closed minds.

Old earth theories were postulated over 200 years ago.  Theories on evolution date back 400 years, long before Darwin.  Because the evidence presented was without Biblical references, the majority of scientists opposed both "old earth" and "evolution" theories.  But to refute the theories scientists found they had merit.  At the time, this was a genuine theological and scientific discussion.  Commonly held beliefs were being questioned.  Questions required answers.  Answers spawned more questions.  The Church had none.

Geologists and paleontologists devote their lives to studying today’s earth to determine what happened in its past.  They see layers as events to be revealed.  Over and over the environment changed.  Dry land was covered in oceans then swamp, desert, and oceans again.  Just like today, sediments settled then were stripped away by erosion to settle elsewhere.  Fossil beds show past life and hints of the niche each species filled.  All the fossils did not exist at the same time, not all were herbivores, nor did they die in one watery event.

Archeologists have evidence that humans started using stone tools over 100,000 years ago.  For most of our existence, other humanoids lived alongside us.  These people were not human but considered the afterlife and personal beauty.  They made homes and cared for their sick and elderly.  The Americas were populated over 12,000 years ago.  Neolithic villages in China date back over 10,000 years.  People constructed Stonehenge over 8000 years ago.  All these events are chronological.  All happened prior to the young earth creation and long after the dinosaurs disappeared.

The world is not stagnant.  Huge rocks fall from the sky leaving craters that slowly fill with sediment.  Continental plates slide, scrape, and crash into one another.  Glaciers cover continents then retreat to the high mountains.  Scientists chronicle these events testing their theories against observation. They study the layers of the earth like pages in a history book.  They analyze the relationship of fossils and living things as the characters.  Past and present, animal species adapt to changes in environment.  With each fossil found and each geologic survey, the data supporting an old earth and evolving life grows.  The details will change, but the overall theory remains sound.

Many old earth hypotheses have become accepted because they consistently match observations.  Young earth hypotheses have not.  Mainstream scientists don’t attack creation theories because they are creationist, but because they don’t consistently match observations.  They attack creationists because creationists insist on rejecting evidence that refutes their claims.


The concept of evolution is not at odds with Genesis One,

only the traditional interpretation of the text.

read more


Intelligent Design Theory

So much data has accumulated that most scientists who are Christian can no longer reject the theory of a very old universe.  This allowed for the formulation of the current Intelligent Design Theory.  These people accept the geologic time scale but not the concept of evolution.  They insist unguided breading could not produced certain aspects of creation citing very intricate parts of a few species, flagella of certain bacteria, mammalian eyes, etc.  Like young earth creationists they want supernatural concepts taught in science classrooms.

"Intelligent Design" is not a new concept.  Philosophers from all times and nations have insisted their god was true because of the intricacies of nature.  Simple concept, if an observation is not understood, attribute it to a god.  This "new" theory will never prove that their god exists when anyone can use the same logic.

The most irritating problem I see in this theory is that they insist on using isolated parts of nature to prove they could not have come into being without external help.  This makes sense if you are trying to sway the uneducated.  Instead, science has shown us that all the universe is incredibly intricate, even dung heaps and the space between atoms.  Laws of nature are in place to control everything.  We just don't know what they are yet.  Some of those laws allow for change, and change can start with the repositioning of a single atom.  Evolution Theory (and the data from biology and fossils) shows that all life forms have predecessors.  There is an amazing lineage that lead up to the current amazing specimen.

On the other hand, nonbelievers who contest Intelligent Design theory always attack the idea that a god would have made the world perfect.  Supporters of Intelligent Design and Young Earth theories actually use this terminology.  There is plenty of "non-perfect" data to choose from.  In fact, nothing is actually perfect.  Therefore, either the creator is inept or a theory that includes a god is false.

Actually the concept of "perfection" is the problem.  Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationists have a very narrow view of the world.  It is highly influenced by the Biblical story of Eden and the mythology that surrounds the story.  Non-believers view is also limited.  If they truly believe in evolution then any animal, no matter how bizarre, is perfect.  Each quirk is the perfect accumulation of its lineage.  No experiment has ever been devised to prove or disprove supernatural forces.  There is no way to test if changes are only natural or if a superior being has had fun tweaking his creation.  Science can only illuminate our understanding of nature and expose bad science.  Because anyone can voice objection or approval, it also helps in removing any person's personal, cultural, and religious bias.

If the creation story of the Bible does not describe what is found by nonbelievers then that proves something is false: the document may just be mythology; the interpretation of scientific data could be wrong; or the interpretation of the text needs a big rethink by both sides.

My personal opinion is that the universe was created by a singular entity that befriended Abraham with the objective of the salvation of human spiritual souls.  In that, the creation story must be verifiable to prove the existence of a creator.  Read Genesis One for a non traditional interpretation that supports the Jewish God of creation and a creation that looks very much like the one described by science.


Basically, What is the Theory of Evolution?

Simply put, evolution means change and change is not evil.  The theory developed over time and with much research to explain the multitude of observations seen in nature, past and present.  Changes result from mutations within the makeup of DNA and RNA.  Some mutations kill.  Most are benign.  A few are beneficial. These are passed on to descendents.  Changes can also result when conditions favor existing traits.

One of the statements used in evolution theory is “survival of the fittest.”  Young earth creationists do not like this idea because they interpret it as saying survivors are superior, thus the next generation must be advanced.  Since neither fossils nor recent life show these tendencies then the young earth creationists pronounce the hypothesis false.  Actually, the concept does not mean superior, more complex, or more advanced.  It poses that living things who survive to reproduce will pass on their genes.  These genes determine specific attributes in future generations.  If a particular trait allows an advantage during a stressful time then those genes survive because the animal survives.

The basic question in the debate revolves around how a lineage can change so much that it becomes a new species.

The fossil records show animals with similar but very different attributes appear in consecutive layers.  Often the appearance is sudden (In geology, “sudden” means thousands of years not days or decades).  The original forms sometimes coexist with the later forms.  Occasionally the earlier forms outlast the newcomers before disappearing themselves.

Creationist theory interprets these as not different layers but how the "Great Flood" bunched animals together.  All animals, past and present, were created in two 24 hour days.  The Hebrew word that is translated "Kinds" in Genesis One is interpreted as each species.  These beliefs greatly limit the amount of possible change.  Because mankind has always manipulated plants and animals to suit his needs, only slight mutations that produce breeds are accepted.  Even this concession was not quickly accepted in the creationist community.

Young earth creationists insist that if evolution were true then we should find animals evolving into new forms today.  Often the argument involves a blending, like creatures out of mythology that combine two kinds of animals.  Since no fossil shows a blending ever happened then evolution must be false.  This analogy is pure propaganda.  No current mainstream scientist believes such a blending occurs in nature.

If evolution is a true theory, then animals are evolving today.  But even with bacteria, the fastest reproducers, the process might take generations of humans to produce a new species in a lab.  A thousand years is a blink in geologic time.  Young earth creationists do not accept the concept because of the time needed to see the process exceeds their imposed limit.

The theory of evolution interprets fossil evidence as the ultimate type of change: different yet related.  "Kind" is not interpreted as a species but the complete lineage of each organism and the relationship between them all.  Each has a unique set of genes representing every one of its forbearers.  Despite the amount of change, they are complete and true to their lineage.  Just like the Biblical text says.

Because of environmental factors, a community can change appearance, sometimes within a few years.  There have been many observable occurrences of this happening.  Part of the Theory of Evolution says that if the factors that produced the change continue long enough, the change becomes genetically dominant.   Enough small changes can produce animals that the original animal will not recognize as its own "kind" thus a new sub-species.  A slight change in the reproductive process and you have a new species.

This does not mean scientists understand exactly how this happens.  But as new data is compiled, knowledge will grow and better hypotheses will be presented until a general consensus can be reached.


Teaching Problems

Many science teachers still use simplistic or outdated terms to explain complicated concepts.  But, as in any subject, each student must continue their study to understand beyond the basics.  Current paleontologists try not to use terms like “primitive” or “advanced”.  These words imply superiority, which is inaccurate.  They prefer “basal”, “generalized”, and “derived” to show lineage.  Evolution does not mean better, more complex, or more advanced.  It does mean any group of living creatures can become different given the right conditions and enough time.  Some of those changes might be significant.


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