Originally posted by shetline
When one watches a movie, one "only" sees what happens every 1/24 sec. (or 1/30 or 1/25 on video). Special effects, film editing, and deliberate tampering aside, one "infers" that there is a continuity of motion between the frames. If you see Bob standing in New York in frame 01:03:23 of a film, and he's still standing in New York in frame 01:04:00, one can draw a damn strong inference that Bob was in New York the whole time in between the two frames and that he didn't pop into Boston or Paris for a few milliseconds in between.
I think the parties we are discussing would claim that until you can swing the camera around you don't know if you are looking at New York or a set pretending to be New York. When asking if they can control or move the camera, sciencist are saying "fuck you" this is our camera.
For all practical uses of the word "fact", there are some inferences strong enough to warrant being called facts.
In matters that are predictable you probably have a point. However the power of evolution to explain has not moved to the point of predictability yet. There are many large discussions within evolution involving matters that have not been settled.
Since this thread revolves around precise and correct use of terminology, there are at least two senses of the word "evolution" to consider. One is purely historical, and has nothing to do with the "how" of what happens between fossils in the fossil record. That meaning of evolution covers the basic time line of life on this planet, running over a course of billions of years, showing many species to have come and gone, showing changes over time with much of that change being gradual shifts in the forms of living creatures, with many species appearing in the fossil record looking like variations upon previously existing species.
The evidence for this historical sense of the word evolution is strong enough to be worthy of the term "fact".
Ah, but now we are moving into what I have discussed in other responses. We are talking about areas where science has to share dominion. You are not talking about scientific fact in this matter. You are talking about historical fact and they are very different. I can factually prove that a man named George Washington existed. I don't have to devise a test with a predictable result that can be replicated in a lab to "prove" George Washington is not a theory.
Now the other matters regarding George Washington, was he a good man, did he lie frequently, etc. Those "facts" move to the second definition I brought up. I can claim it factual that George Washington was a good man for helping found this nation. Other will claim I've got my facts wrong on that matter because no good man would keep other men as slaves, etc. We are in the realm of the observable and historical but also of beliefs in something being true as well.
We do have a fossil record. But the record has not given us an ability to create a predictive theory of evolution that we can empirically test. You are taking historical and using it to substitute for scientific. I've not tried to argue evolution is wrong for this. I've simply stated that they should insure they are not mixing up their own language on those matters. Using historical fact to claim something is a predictive scientific fact is exactly the sort of muddying that should be guarded against.
Imperfect though it may be at times, science has a track record as being the best method we humans have found to factor what one desires to infer out of the equation.
Desires are not predictive. Science is sought when you want a result that is predictive and can be duplicated, tested and reviewed. Saying something is beyond questioning moves it out of the realm of science. It is moving it into the realm of desire to see the world and our origins in a certain manner. Evolution does not need protection. Good science will always stand on its own.