Posted by: Green Knight | September 30, 2011

Theory vs. Practice

I got so tied up in writing the last post that I forgot to include something totally weird and cool and synchronistic.  Whenever someone tries to tell me that evolution is “just” a “theory,” I always say, “so is gravity, go test it by stepping off the top of that 20-story building over there.”  Even Albert couldn’t quite figure gravity out, so the Grand Unified Field thingie is still something we’re trying to achieve.  I’ve been using that example for years, so it was a bit of a shock when I read a book last week, Death From the Skies! by the astronomer Philip Plait, Ph.D.  A footnote on page 270 says, “I am using the word theory as a scientist means it: a set of ideas so well established by observations and physical models that it is essentially indistinguishable from fact.  This is different from the colloquial use that means “guess.”  To a scientist, you can bet your life on a theory.  Remember, gravity is “just a theory” too.”

Well, I guess great minds think alike, or it was an idea whose time had come.  Now I need to meet this guy!


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