I'm really curious about this idea that we should stop using words because others abuse or misuse our use of the term to mean something else that discredits our world view.

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Comment by Marc Draco 6 hours ago

No Mike, we don't... we can separate "belief" in the demonstrable (2+2=4) from belief in the supernatural; theists, on the other hand, cannot!


Hence my use of quotes around "believe".


English is a very powerful way to express yourself - it has the 2nd highest redundancy of all popular languages - but when a word like belief is hijacked in two different meanings, then one side has to stop using it to avoid confusion.

Mike K.Comment by Mike K. 6 hours ago
Of course we believe in evolution. It's just that beyond something being scientific theory, belief is almost meaningless.
Marc DracoComment by Marc Draco 6 hours ago
Something else to be mindful of here too. We don't "believe" in evolution. We understand it, follow it... etc. but NEVER believe in it. Belief is a word that should be reserved for the intangible - and in science that is limited to very few theoretical objects at the extremes of physics.

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To me, a belief is something that provides you with comfort.  This may be a silly example, but say you are afraid of the color white, but you love milk.  You can close your eyes and convince yourself to believe that the milk is really green while you're drinking it to provide yourself with some comfort, but in the end, the fact of the matter is, the milk is white and it will always be white.  If believing it is green, or coloring it with green food coloring makes you feel more comfortable, so be it.... but like I said, you can create any type of belief you want, but remember, it is merely a matter of opinion to define some sort of comfort in your life.

My mother jumped on it when I said I believe evolution is true.  She said I believe, so it's the same as religion.  I said "Let's look it up."  Belief, as in having faith in a religion, was only one of the definitions, the fourth.  Accept as true is the first.  She just had a misunderstanding about the word 'belief.'  We've had a similar disagreement about the word 'theory.'  My trusty dictionary solved that one, too.

I have heard often that evolution is just a "theory". This is of course nonsense.

Other "theories" such as Einstein's relativity theory are usually not disputed by creationists.

But anyway, I now avoid saying "evolution theory" and use "the law of evolution". 

One should also avoid "belief".  It is best to say "I know that the law of evolution is true."

or something like that.


Part of the problem is that scientists aren't always consistent.  They too often use the same word to describe accepted ideas (theory of gravity, theory of evolution), strong but less established ideas (big bang theory), and newer ideas (string theory, multiverse theory).  It can be confusing.

Actually, they are all the same. In science, there is really only 2 levels of this concept: Scientific Theory vs a Scientific Hypothesis.


A Scientific Hypothesis is an educated guess based upon observation.


A Scientific Theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true.  Stating something as a "Theory" (as opposed to a "theory", such as religion) means that there has not been any evidence to disprove the explanation.  A "Theory" is simply a concept that tries to explain how certain facts fit together as we know them.  (E.G. Gravity is a fact.  The "Theory" of gravity is the explanation of why the scientific fact of gravity exists.)  The funny thing is, string theory is actually more cohesive, comprehensive and understandable than the Theory of Gravity (at least to most people that I know), even though it is "newer".  Granted, some Theories have more or fewer factoids that they take into account, but I don't think that really has anything to do with how "established" they are.

Sorry, but I think you are fooling yourself.  The religious will always use our dialog against us and distort the meanings of words to support their delusion.  When we say "I know evolution is real" (differentiating it from "belief"), the theist will also say "I *know* that my religion is real", despite the fact that they can't "know" without actual real evidence. 


They will call those of us who follow reason, logic and demonstrable facts "fundamentalists", even though that clearly does not apply.  People that accept and "believe" science can never be considered "fundamentalist."  Given acceptable facts, we are always open to changing our accepted understanding of reality.


They say that we have "faith" in science.  "Faith" is believing in something despite lack of evidence supporting (or in religion's case, despite the mountains actively disproving) the concept. Theists actually believe that faith is a virtue, whereas those of us that are realists know that faith is actually doing dishonor to ourselves and all those that look up to us.


Theists also claim that science is the same as religion.  They talk about the concept of "world view," which is a meaningless term.  Science is the same in Nowhere, Iowa and it is in Singapore.  It is the same here on Earth as it is on every other planet of our solar system.  The term "world view" is something they made up to try to put religion on the same footing as science.  They refuse to understand that "science" is a verb.  it is the process of learning and understanding our reality.  Science changes and flows with new evidence and understanding.  Religion is ridged, only changing through fear of losing monetary support. 


When someone believes something so deeply that they can't even reflect on the possibility that they are wrong, their minds simply can't differentiate that delusion from the real world, so they will treat it as absolute fact. I have even had theists claim that religion is superior to science, since science is fallible and changes with new evidence and facts, whereas religion is unwavering in its beliefs (which we all know is not true at all, but they actually believe this).


One thing to think about: we live in science.  Everything from exploring moon rocks down to your shoe laces in your tennis shoes is science.  Your house, your car, your money, your job, your computer, your clothes, your telephone, your television - everything that you interact with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is all based in science.  There is not a single aspect of an average person's life that is not in some way connected to science.  We could not survive without science.  The day we picked up a bone and used it to break another bone to get to the marrow, science started.  It provides *everything* for us.  Most people wouldn't last an hour without science.  The only thing religion provides is "good feelings."  There is absolutely nothing that religion provides that science can't provide better.  Religion provides no real answers to any question (it only provides feel-good or scary fairy tales).  It gives the illusion of understanding without any actual knowledge.


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