Letters to the Editor

Theory becomes fact when it's the best explanation

The "Unless you've proved the theory, it's not science" letter (April 1) is wrong on several counts:

-- Pope John Paul II believed in evolution, and he was hardly an atheist or an agnostic. The only conflict between the Bible and evolution is with those who think that mankind was created in a puff of smoke and a flash of lightning. If it takes nine months to create an individual, how much longer would it take to create an entire species?

-- Saying that none of the "doom and gloom" predictions have come true is like the description of a guy falling from a 30-story building who says "so far, so good" while he passes the third floor. Like that guy, we may be reaching a point of no return.

-- Theory is accepted as fact when it best explains all of the applicable evidence. It cannot always be tested explicitly.

For example, the plate tectonics theory of the Earth's crust was resisted for years by many geologists, but it was finally accepted because it explained observed phenomena better than any other theory. And tobacco was blamed for several types of cancer based on correlative evidence long before it was proven at the genetic level.