I was in a debate and they mentioned the whole thing about how evolution is a theory and takes faith to believe in. I am nowhere near well versed in evolution to be able to defend it against this guy because he is a very good logician, which makes it fun to debate but difficult because I am not nearly as good as him at it.
Anyhow, I didn't bother defending it anyway because it was besides the point but if it does come up again how can I defend it? I saw this: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/qaar/forum/topics/claim-evolution...

but I'm still unsatisfied with the answer. I think he would call
"If "only a theory" were a real objection, creationists would also be issuing disclaimers complaining about the theory of gravity, atomic theory, the germ theory of disease, and the theory of limits (on which calculus is based). The theory of evolution is no less valid than any of these. Even the theory of gravity still receives serious challenges. Yet the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is still a fact."
A red herring, or something. I'm just not sure it would be an acceptable argument. I'm sure some theist has heard and rebutted this argument before. If not, I would be surprised.

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First of all you should ask him where does his belief that evolution is just a theory stems from.

  • Did he do his own research?
  • Did he read about it in a credible research paper or something?
  • Or is it just his personal opinion?

Its unlikely that its either of the first two. That just leaves #3.

The you can ask him how can he discredit 150+ years of scientific study, research & observation which has been studied & reviewed by scientists from all over the world based just on his personal opinion.

If you look at biological researches being conducted these days, every week there seems to be a new research that is the exact opposite of the old one. One week something is good for you, the next week its not. In this topsy-turvy world of biological research there seems to be no evidence found that is contradicting evolution, for over 150 years!

But lets assume that evolution isn't true. Then what is the alternative? Idiotic, err Intelligent Design? But then where did that intelligent designer come from? Did it just appear out of no where? Isn't it a much much much bigger leap of faith to believe in an intelligence that designed so many diverse things, some simple some complex, and also designed the rules on how they interact with each other, without any proof of its existence that it is to believe in 150 years of meticulous, credible, peer-reviewed scientific work which is supported by evidence?

Actually, he's mentioned that he has done his research. He has also cited Dawkins during our debate. This is pretty good stuff though, any web pages to find such things or get the newest developments on evolution? I'm sure here would be a good starting place but I would like to get a few sources. If you do wish, call me lazy and tell me to use google, but this is easier.

His own research, as in scientific research or the research we do - read popular science books & internet articles?

It was a pretty vague sort of thing. I'm not sure, I'm certainly not giving him too much credit to imagine he did do some pretty good research. The guy is smart.

Intelligence, and sound research do not always go hand in hand.

A lot of what Akshay said is where i would go with it. An important distinction that does not get made is the way "theory" is used in language. The word theory is not used the same way in science as normal people use it. We use it in conversation as a guess. A scientific theory is something based off of known facts to make testable predictions. The laryngeal nerve is a perfect example of evolution. Dawkins actually has a great video showing how in a giraffe it goes all the way down its neck only to come back up the other side rather than just going the shorter distance across the neck. To say that there is a mountain of evidence to support evolution is an understatement. I'd ask for any evidence to contradict 150 years of peer reviewed research as Akshay points out. He may try and poke holes, and ask rhetorical questions, but keep sticking to evidence and prepare for him to get frustrated and make non-sequiturs, straw man arguments, and ad hominem attacks.

And the final sentence is saying "god wouldn't do X, X therefore no god" which would be a BTQ. I have to watch myself very carefully with someone who knows their critical thinking.

I never said that.

All I said was that belief in god, for which there is no evidence requires much more faith than belief in evolution for which there is a lot evidence.

Evolution is a fact.  It's the mechanism -- natural selection -- that's a theory.  Even so, natural selection has stood up to all challenges and has a mountain of evidence in support.  These is no worthy alternative theory.  I have no doubt that natural selection will continue to stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Ask him to define the word "theory" in context. There is the "scientific meaning" a collection of facts  the theory explains, or you have the non-scientific meaning like,  The moon is made of cheese, there are angels, there is a god, ect. 

This "Just a Theory" argument is simply a word game with no substance. 


This may be of quite a bit of help. I should like to see the answer to this one.
I mentioned a similar thing before I saw this reply. In agreement with Jim, here.

The validity of theory is it's repeatable testability, explanatory factor (as measured by statistics) under changing conditions, and the ability to use it as a predictive tool. No theory is perfect, but there is no alternative theory to evolution which offer any empirical evidence, has any explanatory factor worth concidering, or any theory which can lead to accurate predictions.

Evolution takes no faith. The evidence for evolution is there. There's not one supporting any other theory. It's the same as "beliving" in the "theory of the existance of the rocks". As that debater seem to have one firmly planted on top of his shoulders, he might relate to the example. ;)


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