Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Evolution as Fact and Theory

Just read a great piece on evolution vs. intelligent design by Stephen Jay Gould from either 1981 or 1994 (has two citations at the bottom). Gould is one of the evolutionary biologists behind the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium, which basically states that evolution happens in quick bursts rather than gradually.

Anyway, “Evolution as Fact and Theory” has a great explanation for why calling evolution unproven is bull: “Evolutionists have been clear about this distinction between fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory—natural selection—to explain the mechanism of evolution.”

It reminded me immediately of a Clive Thompson piece from Wired about the need to change the way people think about the word theory.

January 3, 2008