A minor issue and pet peeve

“We are confident that embryology, biology, and a philosophically consistent view of human rights lie on the pro-life side, and look forward to making that case both on the streets and in the debate.” – Stephanie Gray

Another problem I’d like to deal with is a term Gray brought up during the debate: “scientific fact.”

There’s no such thing.

The “scientific method” certainly does exist, though. It goes like this: “theories,” or absolute statements about reality, are proposed and then tested. If they fail, they are discarded. If they survive, another round of testing begins. Testing consists of creating predictions about reality from that theory, and gathering “evidence” to see if the predictions failed. Evidence is direct or indirect experience through the senses. Not many people realize that evidence itself is just a special type of theory; while theories can depend on other theories, pure evidence can only depend an one thing, that your senses are accurate at or during a specific time and place.

I digress, though. I hope you at least spotted the emphasis on dis-proof in science. Absolute statements or “facts” are things to be torn down, not relied on. Certainty is never reached; at best, it is merely approximated.

It’s embarrassing that Gray would claim to rely on science, yet misunderstand the basics of science. This doesn’t rule out that her “facts” can be relied on, of course; she could have meant “scientific theory with overwhelming support” instead, but misspoke or simplified the details. That’s why I’m dealing with it now, before I launch into her arguments; it’s a worrying detail, but by itself unimportant.

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