Weird title I know … but it’s a metaphor, allow me to explain.
A lot of people are too simple minded to think about anything in great depth, and once they think they understand something, that’s often the end of their investigation.
it’s only a theory
Science is always evolving, an irony for the theory of evolution … and at the outset let me inform those of you who don’t know, that the meaning of the word “theory” within the scientific context IS NOT what you might think it is.
actually that’s a thesis
What the lay person thinks of as “only a theory” is ( in scientific parlance ) called a thesis or hypothesis … whereas a theory is almost synonymous with a fact, and it is entirely based on facts and evidence which are themselves based on laws, proofs, and other fundamental principles.
uncertainty and inaccuracy do not invalidate truth
Where people get confused is that a scientific theory can change, evolve, and contain inaccuracies, and yet it is nonetheless a fact … once again, please allow me to explain.
proofs and fundamental principles
A proof is one of the most fundamental truths we know of, and thus they do not exist outside of pure maths and logic, existing wholly within the conceptual realm of reality … however they map to the physical reality of our experience.
Proofs are closely associated with other similar fundamental principles of the conceptual realm, and they combine with evidence to form laws.
An example of these kinds of foundational truths can be found and understood easily by way of the philosophical statement:
“I think therefore I am” ~ Descartes
Such a statement can be said to be a fundamental truth, as it does not make any claim to knowing WHAT I am, nor WHERE I am, nor WHAT ELSE I may be … it merely acknowledges the self-evident fact that:
“if I were not something, then I would not be able to recognise myself as the actor doing the thinking”
Does this mean you’re not also a part of a collective consciousness? No … it makes no statement on the topic, and is neither contrary to nor in support of such a position.
Does it mean you’re not a delusional subset of a greater consciousness that sees itself in isolation? No, such would also be possible without contradicting the most generic interpretation of the statement.
There is no contradiction you can find that cannot be allowed for in the existing statement.
I chose that example as it is less technical than others I could have chosen, but know this … in the fields of pure mathematics and logic, there exists a “proof of zero”, and a similar “proof of one”, and when we combine these proofs with the principle of “unity” ( which in maths is referring to the notion of a singular “unit” ), along with the law / rule of signs ( ie – that a positive-positive is a positive, a negative-negative is a positive, and a positive-negative ( or vice-versa ) is a negative ) … we can thus derive the rules for basic arithmetic, and all of the number sets ( Naturals, Integers, Rationals, Irrationals, Reals, etc. ).
A law is ( in simple terms ) a higher level of knowledge, not quite as foundational as a proof, a law is however the application of more fundamental proofs to available evidence … so for example, within the field of geology there is a “law of original horizontality”, which basically states that the layers in rocks that we see, and their present orientation in the ground, originates as horizontal bedding layers of deposited materials.
In other words: you can imagine that the silt and sand which washes down a river, basically settles in the deepest place it can find, and begins to form bedding layers, which over millions of years compress into rocks of different types.
Now this is a law not a proof … so while true, it contains some inaccuracy. In some cases we may find that a prevailing wind or current, or some other circumstance, results in a bedding layer which is not exactly horizontal. However this does not invalidate the law, as the law is made in the awareness that it is only a general principle which may have exceptions, and if at some stage we find a better way of wording things, that law could be amended, but so long as people understand it’s applications and limitations, the inconsistency doesn’t cause a problem, and can be allowed for by other accompanying laws and known facts.
A thesis is basically an idea or set of ideas being put forward to explain a given set of evidence relating to some phenomenon ), this is also known as ( and almost synonymous with ) a hypothesis.
This is what most of you are referring to when you use the word theory, because the mainstream usage differs from the scientific parlance in that respect.
Note: a scientific paper EVEN IF successfully peer reviewed IS YET NOT a fact … it is based on facts, but it is still “just a thesis”. Only when that thesis is accepted as a new theory, can it be referred to as a fact.
Ok, so finally we arrive at a theory, which I hope you can already see is an accepted factual explanation of a given set of phenomenon, based on other facts, evidence, and the application of the more fundamental principles, proofs, and laws of science.
The fact that science can be corrupted by money is immaterial here, because that corruption stops short of accepting a thesis as a new theorem … there is no accepted “theory of compulsory vaccination” for example … there may be theorem about vaccination, and papers arguing a case for compulsory vaccination, but there is no scientifically accepted fact that science has not somehow been corrupted by vested interests, there’s no accepted scientific fact that denies the possibility for the valid science behind vaccines to be corruptly or ineptly implemented by people whom either negligently or maliciously don’t give a fuck about your health … AND EVEN the strongest ( but not actually disingenuous ) and most scientifically literate proponents of compulsory vaccination, would have to agree with the above statements ( to some degree ).
misconceptions of the theory of evolution
So all the above points were raised for a single goal, to get to this point where we can understand some past and present misconceptions about the theory of evolution – first of all ( and most notably ) that being a theory does not equate to some kind of absolute uncertainty, and what relative uncertainty exists around any inaccuracy of its application etc., does not invalidate the theory outright … we know it to be true, we know it to be a fact, we are just evolving the precise details of it, and that evolutionary process ( much like the evolution it describes ) will never completely stop.
The other very important misconceptions I want to talk about here, are summed up by the phrase “survival of the fittest”, and by the mistaken notion that all evolution occurs as a result of the competition between species. Neither of these statements accurately reflects the totality of the theorem, in fact neither could even be said to be “the most significant influence” within the evolution of species.
The theory of evolution has come a very long way, and it’s possible that it’s originators ( Darwin and Wallace ), might not even recognise it today ( at first glance ). But most people think they understand it, through the aforementioned phrase “survival of the fittest”. This phrase did not originate with Darwin nor Wallace, but a man named Herbert Spencer, and Darwin actually disagreed with it as a summation of the principles he wrote about.
It’s not that there is no competition or survival of the fittest, that certainly does occur, but that such things are only very small parts of a much bigger picture, and which picture is not remotely accurately reflected by those statements taken alone and in isolation from everything else.
So far as competition is concerned, any evolutionary biologist worth their salt will tell you that cooperation is by far the greater influence on evolution than is competition. In fact, there would be no colony organisms, no symbiosis, probably no cellular organelles ( if current hypotheses in the area prove true ), neither any multicellular oxygen producing nor consuming species, nor indeed any whole and stable ecosystems to support them, if it were not for cooperation.
capitalism: smashing things with hammers
If you take a creature from our ecosystem that is relatively small, and you smash it with a sledgehammer at full force … there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to die. If there’s a billion individuals of this species, they rapidly breed and evolved, and you got a million other people to smash them with sledgehammers, but due to the rate of reproduction they never went extinct … in a billion billion years, they would never evolve to withstand your sledgehammer assault.
I hope you get the analogy, because this is the insane thinking of capitalism, and it’s bizarre excuse for its excesses. I’m not saying capitalism would admit having said such a thing, but its proponents do indeed say such things often.
The proponents of capitalism do not understand the very simple idea that being vulnerable to a particular set of circumstances or a particular event DOES NOT ( in any way whatsoever ) equate to “genetic weakness” or the unworthiness to self-determination, and survival … but in its bizarre paradigm, that’s exactly how it treats us all, and every other living thing or ecosystem.
This is neither sane nor rational, nor based in fact … it is just that capitalism is flawed, and its proponents are largely selfish, stupid, egotistical, and insane.
It could be well argued that we are devolving as a result, because the kind of people “best adapted” to capitalism as it is, are the kind of weak minded cowards who refuse to challenge the status quo, and those whom ( whether benevolent or malicious of intent ) were either lucky enough to be born with wealth, or to have a skill and opportunity in life to make it very big, because that skill was appreciated by capitalism ( which should never be the sole determining factor of what we support and what we don’t ).
If we want to have a world to live in, with peace and fulfilment for all people, we will not achieve it while smashing things with hammers in the mistaken belief that “only the strong survive” … the fact is ( in relative terms ) the survivors are not strong, they are the ones either not subjected to this in the first place, or those whom escape or are rescued from it before death – and it cannot be said necessarily that escape is evidence of superiority either, but that’s a whole other argument for another article.