Proof vs. Evidence June 19, 2007Posted by Joe in belief, creationism, evolution, fallacy, freethought, logic, psychology, science.
The Hovind challenge referenced yesterday repeatedly called for “scientific proof” of evolution. There is no proof in science. Proof is for mathematics and alcohol. You cannot prove anything in science to a certainty, though you can disprove a lot. All scientific theories are tentative and subject to revision. Even the “law of” gravity is subject to revision, and in fact was revised by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
Science is about evidence. Evidence is the result of a structured scientific experiment or observation that supports the claims of a theory. In order to be useful a different outcome for the experiment or observation must be able to falsify or disprove the theory.
That is, there must be a well defined result that if observed would demonstrate that the theory would be false. Every experiment or observation must be structured to test the theory, thus allowing the possibility for it to fail. A theory can be disproved by a single verifiable counter-example, but no amount of confirming evidence can ever demonstrate a theory to 100% certainty.