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Avoiding the Word "Evolution"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the can't-say-that-wait-two-years dept.

Biotech 895

jakosc tips us to a disturbing article in PloS Biology on the avoidance of the word "Evolution" in scientific papers and grants. From the paper: "In spite of the importance of antimicrobial resistance, we show that the actual word 'evolution' is rarely used in the papers describing this research. Instead, antimicrobial resistance is said to 'emerge,' 'arise,' or 'spread' rather than 'evolve.' Moreover, we show that the failure to use the word 'evolution' by the scientific community may have a direct impact on the public perception of the importance of evolutionary biology in our everyday lives... It has been repeatedly rumored (and reiterated by one of the reviewers of this article) that both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have in the past actively discouraged the use of the word 'evolution' in titles or abstracts of proposals so as to avoid controversy."

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What do you expect? (5, Insightful)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164218)

This is what happens when you pander to religious fruit loops - it started with the 'In God We Trust' rebrand of the US (in particular, on money) which was the thin end of the wedge and now we have a situation whereby scientists cannot even discuss things properly.

All the major organised religions seem to want is lots of uneducated children who think they are going to go to 'heaven' when they die.

Re:What do you expect? (5, Insightful)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164262)

Hang on a second.
The resistance does emerge or arise.
It is the microbe population that evolves.

Nobody told you? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164268)

God is an acronym: Guns, oil, and drugs.

Re:What do you expect? (4, Insightful)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164330)

The state and the Church have always been partners. The state keeps the people poor, the Church keeps them ignorant.

Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (-1, Offtopic)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164336)

Sorry to dissapoint... We are a Democracy here in the States and therefore, the majority decides things like what get's printed on our money. America is NOT a country of athiests. Just ask the 90+% that beleive in God. Should everyone else have their freedoms held back because it bothers you? NO. When the founders of this nation came here, they wanted a nation that ensured religious freedom, NOT NON-RELEGION. In other words, the "separation of church and state" is meant to keep the State out of the Church, NOT the opposite as many athiests would like us to beleive.

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (1)

jedigeek (102443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164372)

Yeah, England shoved out most of its religious zealots. Good move!

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (1, Flamebait)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164398)

Yeah, and those "ignorant" "religious zealots" formed the most powerful nation in the world. The nation from which came electricity, the lightbulb, the phonograph, most of the technology found in modern computers, etc.. not bad for some "ignorant" "religious zealots" :)

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164472)

Australia isn't doing that badly either... and they got the criminals :-)

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164678)

Actually, while Australia is noted as a penal colony, the American colonies were also settled by a substantial number of prisoners. The American colonies were also treated like penal colonies in many respects. When it was Australia, it was already an old and established practice.

Just so you know... :)

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164584)

Electricity would have been discovered by the Greeks (Greek). The relationship between static electricity and lightning was theorised and tested by Benjamin Franklin (American). Most of the work in understanding electricity was done by the likes of Volta (Italian), Ampere (French), Ohm (German), Faraday (English) and so on. Most of the work in making electricity useful was done later by people from all over the planet.

Same with lots of other stuff. Much of the basics of how computers work, for example, were done by the likes of Babbage, Turing and a load of other British guys. The software has been developed by people from all over the place, as have the hardware, and manufacturing technologies required to build modern computers.

I'll give you Edison though. And Bell Labs.

However, none of those are products of religious fanaticism. Far from it in fact. They came later, took over the place, and started turning it into a fascist theocracy.

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (3, Interesting)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164698)

Actually the egyptians had electricity - they used it for electro plating gold onto stone or wood - quite an advanced process really - it does make you wonder what else they were capable of.

(The evidence of this is from hyroglyphs found picturing the process if you want to try and verify it)

A lot of what was known in science 2000+ years ago has been lost only to be rediscovered far more recently, through war, genocide, various cultural dark ages in different regions but 1 person can be given quite a large part of the blame - that rather famous (and egotistical) arsonist, Alexander the Great

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164598)

Yeah! They invented it without any prior references, out of nothing. Nobody before investigated those things.

And don't forget it's also the country where some people disregard those inventions as evil.

Finally, if a country gives birth to great inventors or great people, that doesn't mean all people are equal to the ones that made those discoveries.

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (4, Insightful)

moz25 (262020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164450)

Yes, and according to similar polls, 34% believe in ghosts, 34% believe in UFOs, 29% believes in astrology, 25% believe in reincarnation and 24% believes in witches. With other words: a sizeable portion of the population will just believe whatever they come across without much, if any, criticism.

Re:Sorry Skinflute.. We are a Democracy. (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164456)

Actually we are a Republic not a Democracy. Also, the separation of Church and State and other laws are to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Read your own history, mate (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164460)

I'll stand on a leg and not assume you are wanting to get modded +3 funny or +1000 sarcastic and your answer is serious.

First at all you founding father were mostly deist, with some being atheist. So if you place any value in what they produced (constitution and all) or their idea, you should be aware of that little fact.

Furthermore you are NOT living in a democracy but in a republic.

Next, you know where this lead this "we live in a democraty, so the majority decide" ? Aside this litle fact about freedom of speech, Well this lead to stuff like persecution of minority. Do you even remmember why the USA had this "freedom of religion" in the first place ? Religious persecution in Europe anyone? And yes non-religion is one form of belief (or rather non-belief in anything). Suppress the freedom of it, then next the cathos will ask the protestant to be muted, the calvinist will ask the last day adventist to be gagged, and the mormon will ask all other to shut up. And in the end nobody open his big mouth because there is always a branch of christianty which is pissed of at another.

I could add more, like the "in god we trust" coming from the darkest era of Mccartysm, but hey, that is not my country so fuck it up as much as you wish, as long as you keep a sane foreign policy of "hand off"....

Re:Read your own history, mate (3, Funny)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164622)

but hey, that is not my country so fuck it up as much as you wish, as long as you keep a sane foreign policy of "hand off"....
Um, yeah, we'll uhh, get right on that.

Re:Read your own history, mate (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164632)

Actually the US is both a republic and a democracy. The concepts are not as mutually exclusive as the two-party system would like you too believe.

A democracy just means that all power derive from the people in some form, and republic means you have president.

To be a republic without being a democracy you need a autocratic president, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein; and while the George Bush might be bad, he is not quite Saddam.

Re:Read your own history, mate (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164704)

Actually, we live in a Democracy/Republic hybrid. Many state governments are very democratic, requiring many laws to be polled by the people before they can be enacted. Our federal system is a republic, inarguably, and our states have many traits of a republic, but everytime you hear about "Vote [yes|no] on Proposition ####", that's either a law that requires polling the people first, or a state constitutional amendment for many states that have constitutions that so limit the government they can't act without amending the constitution (as in Texas). In the latter group, the states themselves are technically republics, but in practice are closer to democracy.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164354)

>All the major organised religions seem to want is lots of uneducated children who think they are going to go to
>'heaven' when they die.

That's funny. I don't remember the Pope declaring evolution to be a farce. Maybe my memories of learning about evolution in Catholic High School are just my imagination?

Nothing wrong with that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164418)

In the vast majority of cases "emergence" is exactly what happens: fatal (desease-prone) or just plain unnecessary (like eyes of insects in dark underground caves) traits die out in a population, the remaining varieties "spread". Mutation is an ambiguous term, used for regrouping of genes (not causing new traits) as well as "damaging" genes for example by radiation (which do - though very rarely - cause new traits in species). As far as I know, the exact cause of generating major new traits (like organs) is not agreed upon (even among evolutionists).
Oh yes, and I'm not a creationist, just puzzled by just what should constitute "evolution".
A commonly made mistake is saying "evolution" is "adapting" because the only real adaptation taking place is the dying out of "inferior" specimens.

Re:Nothing wrong with that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164660)

It is not that the specimen that die out are inferior. It is just that they died, and if they died before procreation (whether sexual or asexual) their genetic material does not contribute to any future specimens. It is a very effective way for a replicating pattern that changes slightly with each replication to become adapted to any environment it finds itself capable of replicating in.

Re:Nothing wrong with that! (1)

The Cornishman (592143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164688)

Yes. The parent has it right. Lots of people who don't think about this deeply have real trouble realizing that no individual ever evolves. The emergence of antibiotic resistance in a population is a reflection of more widespread expression of a gene for metabolizing the antibiotic. The population evolves, not the individuals. What's more, it's only the germ line that evolves. In animals like you and me, that means that the only mutations that can be passed on are those that occur in the ovaries or testes before the end of breeding fitness.

Back on topic, the Rest of the World observes the US hamstringing its science and education, and gets a nice warm feeling about the competitiveness of home pharmaceutical and bioengineering industries.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164514)

All the major organised religions seem to want is lots of uneducated children who think they are going to go to 'heaven' when they die.

That is an utter falsehood.

Firstly, not all religions even believe in 'heaven'.

Secondly, true Christianity teaches that only some will even believe in Christ, so "lots" of people will not go to 'heaven' - this includes people who think they will gain favours with God just by being a good person, which is most people, btw.

Thirdly, everyone deep down knows that there is something after death. Some won't admit it, some convince themselves that there isn't, but a lot of people hope that they will end up going to 'heaven' without wanting to believe in the criteria.

Re:What do you expect? (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164572)

Thirdly, everyone deep down knows that there is something after death.
Everyone deep down hopes there is something after death. Some people hope so much that they become very upset when other people don't hope in exactly the same way. The reason they get upset is because, even deeper down, they know their hope is just blind desperate hope, and they're afraid.

Well tough shit. I'm afraid of angry religious hive mind mobs coming to burn me out of my house, but you don't see me on TV campaigning to ban thoughts and theories contridictory to my own. I may laugh at them, but that's not going to create chilling effects.

Re:What do you expect? (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164638)

All the major organised religions seem to want is lots of uneducated children who think they are going to go to 'heaven' when they die.

You are confusing the radical anti-intellectal groups that like to call themselves conservative with those groups that don't actually think God hates poor people and actually do charity work. Christianity-Lite does not like the few books at the front of the Bible that they actually read to be questioned in any way. I'm not religeous but I seem to recall reading that the Catholic Church accepted evolution before 1950 and they were the last mainstream Christian group to do so.

Re:What do you expect? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164674)

'In God we trust' is actually a typo. The original sentence was 'In GOLD we trust'.

the role of science... (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164222)

Moreover, we show that the failure to use the word 'evolution' by the scientific community may have a direct impact on the public perception of the importance of evolutionary biology in our everyday lives

The role of science is not to manage public perception. It's to find out how things work. Unfortunately, receipt of grant money is often tied to public perception (positive, or negative).

Collapse of the theory of Evolution in 20 question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164652)

Read the truth here: -

http://www.harunyahya.com/20questions01.php [harunyahya.com]

There are many scientists who strongly appose the current evolutionary model. Sadly too many hide their views so as not to be ridiculed by secularists and atheists.

It IS disturbing... (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164228)

When I get in an argument with my creationist friends, no one disputes what they call 'micro evolution'. The idea that single cells can mutate to become resistant to bacteria, and those are the only ones that survive. Where people have trouble is with something they call 'macro evolution', that these mutations can over time create entirely new species, organs, and reproductive behavior (sexual vs asexual). I believe it because I think people don't understand exactly how many years we are considering here in the long haul. If the scientific community is not calling 'evolution' what most people agree actually takes place, how can they expect to be taken seriously on more controversial aspects of science?

Re:It IS disturbing... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164254)

You should tell em that even if they don't believe that one species can evolve from another that, at least, God wants us to think that, otherwise He wouldn't have left all this great evidence around that they do.

Re:It IS disturbing... (1)

jimmyrichard (1069098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164558)

Hmm, creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence for what they believe; it's all in the interpretation.

Re:It IS disturbing... (2, Funny)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164292)

You should tell them that you are evolving to preferring to hang out with non-idiots.

Re:It IS disturbing... (1, Interesting)

labnet (457441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164482)

Evolution is the biggest scientific con ever foisted on mankind.
I'm NOT talking about natural selection, which makes perfect sense, but evolution; ie beneficial mutation
To say you can randomly mutate something orders of magnitude more complex than an o/s, and add globs of functionality to it over huge expanses of time without increasing functional entropy is absurd.
The ratio of beneficial to non beneficial mutation is hugely in favour of increasing disorder. Thus you would expect biological systems to slowly degrade in the long term, which is exactly what we see. Genetic diseases reducing functionality but not mortality.

Re:It IS disturbing... (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164682)

Quite. The vast majority of mutations are non-beneficial. That's why reproduction and natural selection are needed to favour the good mutations and cause the bad ones to die out. If there weren't this selection pressure, then as you say biological systems would degrade over time.

Re:It IS disturbing... (1)

avasol (904335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164496)

"The idea that single cells can mutate to become resistant to bacteria, and those are the only ones that survive." As above, so below. Mod me up. Take a stand. Creationists are simply retards.

Re:It IS disturbing... (1)

fj3k (993224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164696)

I don't have a problem with 'macro evolution'. My question is how on earth did a self replicating cell form by chance in the first place. That's what just seems to boggle my mind; how did all the necessary parts get into the right place at the right time, it's like by chance having a binary data file that by chance happened to be interpreted by the computer as a self-replicating executable. Sure, it's possible, but if you saw it you'd expect someone had planned that to happen.
My real problem with evolution is not what it proposes; technically the bible does actually say how the world was made, only that God ordered it. What my problem is that people claim it to positively disprove God. Science doesn't have the ability to deal with the question of God, that question is far out of its scope. Science only deals with what it can see demonstrated. You can use forensic science to prove that a knife used in an attack was held by someone, but you can't prove by forensic science that someone else has ordered an attack because there is no physical evidence of that fact; police have to look elsewhere for that (testimonies, other physical evidence that ties them to the location, etc.).
In summary, can people stop saying stupid things like "Rational people don't buy that stuff", or "The church tries to hide people from facts"; neither of those statements are true and they don't incite the harmony that you claim to want. For every stupid person trying to mute evolution, there is another stupid person trying to mute religion...

Another word (2, Interesting)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164248)

Adapt. Kinda like how the borg say it.

Adapt is driven by the adapter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164368)

evolution is driven by the random nature of change and the desirability of that change in the environment.

Re:Adapt is driven by the adapter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164488)

Absolutely, my friend is a biology teacher and it drives me mad when she says that organisms adapt. That implies some form of intelligence - as if the organism choice to change to its environment.

Organisms don't adapt, they mutate (which may or may not confer a positive advantage to survival) and the ones where the mutation has a positive effect are able to reproduce more.

Are we still in the middle ages? (4, Insightful)

s1oan (992550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164256)

Are we still in the middle ages? Can I say something about the Sun being on the center of the solar system without being totured till I accept that the Earth is the center of the whole universe? This is so sad...

Re:Are we still in the middle ages? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164272)

The earth actually could be the center of the universe.
Just because a globe spins doesn't mean you can't hold the globe & spin the stand around it.

Re:Are we still in the middle ages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164314)

It could not, idiot. Ever heard of that newfangled thing called gravity?

If you are really that stupid, please refrain from posting next time. Otherwise, you'll go to hell! *shakes fist*

yes (2, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164366)

I've notified the proper authorities about your question. The Spanish Inquisition will be over shortly to discuse this matter with you. Feel free to inform them of your favorite methode of torture and any allergic reactions to leather whips or red-hot metal you might have.

Don't worry (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164506)

many hundred of years afterward they'll recognize they were in error in threatening you until you recant your theory. Epure Si Mueve.

False alarm (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164260)

The evolutionary biologists use "evolution" more often, the medical scientists use "emergence" more often. Why is it surprising that two different fields of science happen to use somewhat different terminology? This is not evidence of a conspiracy.

Re:False alarm (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164282)

This is not evidence of a conspiracy

Agreed. It just shows that slashdot hasn't evolved, as we are going to see the emergence of a thousand posts of the same diatribe we have all seen before.

I'm doomed. (1)

Ardanwen (746930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164276)

boris:falcon:~/projects/hiv/paper:grep -o evolution paper.tex
boris:falcon:~/projects/hiv/paper:wc paper.tex
279 5819 38041 paper.tex

I'm doomed.
But it is bloody hard to to avoid the word 'evolution' if you're studying the 'within-host' and 'within-population' evolution of HIV. Maybe there are scientists among slashdot that actually have experience with editors asking them to not mention the word evolution.. (my first paper, so no experience here yet). I'll look forward to reading the comments :).

ObObscure (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164316)

Editors: "Hey, we've been doing market research in Power Cable, Nebraska, and other centers of culture, and the evolution bit doesn't work for us, it's a bit of a downer, we have a prarm with it, so lose the evolution."
You: "Did you read the paper?"
Editors: "Sure, we LOVE it, it's GREAT, it's HIGH CONCEPT. Just lose the Evolution angle, man"

Re:I'm doomed. (1)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164348)

I trust that those people who read your paper aren't the type who will give you trouble. But if America really doesn't want your help, don't worry but come to Europe. Places like the AVERT AIDS Education & Research Trust are good to work at. Let the nutjobs faith-heal each other until the problem solves itself.

Re:I'm doomed. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164680)

Well - you're damned in their eyes anyway because you might be opposing God's wrath on homosexuals and all of Africa by doing useful research on HIV. I'm damned because I'm Australian and Oral Roberts got annoyed by airport security or something and declare that God had damned the lot of us. Christianity-Lite is so hard to deal with due to the oversimplification of things and the pagan idea of having a God that will do what it is told and smite the annoying old lady down the street.

Re:I'm doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164702)

Most fundies still think AIDS is punishment from God for being gay (ignoring statistics that it's not just a homosexual problem anymore) or failing that some random unspecified sin. There's a terrifying post in the Fundies Say the Darndest Things! [fstdt.com] top 100 (iirc) that claims that diseases at birth are a consequence of sins committed IN THE WOMB. Exactly how you could commit any significant sin whilst in there and at such an early stage of development was left as an exercise for the reader.

You cannot reason with these people, you cannot placate them by giving in "just a bit". They are authoritarian ideologue retards who want nothing less than to destroy science and reason completely. They hate anyone who doesn't agree with them and are completely impervious to all rational arguments. The only way to deal with them is mockery, disdain and ignoring them insofar as possible. Don't even try to debate them, you will not change their minds, they have long since decided what the "facts" are and view anything contrary as satanic lies. (Many fundie forums actually ban any such debate.)

Unfortunate? (-1, Troll)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164294)

Why is this unfortunate? Evolution is a theory. In science, it is better to focus on the known facts (as it seems is beginning to happen).

Re:Unfortunate? (2, Interesting)

kyknos.org (643709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164334)

Gravity is a theory, as well. Both are known facts.

Re:Unfortunate? (0)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164360)

A theory has not yet been proven. However, some theories are stronger than others. Gravity has evidence that supports it. Evolution (between species) is lacking such evidence. I don't know that I'd call a theory a fact.

Re:Unfortunate? (3, Informative)

kyknos.org (643709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164388)

"In science, a theory is a mathematical description, a logical explanation, a verified hypothesis, or a proven model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. It follows from this that for scientists "theory" and "fact" do not necessarily stand in opposition. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theory which explains why the apple behaves so is the current theory of gravitation." (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory [wikipedia.org]) There is very strong evidence for evolution between species. As good as the evidence for gravity.

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164414)

That is your opinion. You are entitled to the right to be wrong *pun intended*.

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164480)

What "facts" do you have supporting gravity?
If you can prove that there really is such a thing as gravity, and not just a curve in spacetime that looks to us like gravity, then I suspect they have a Nobel price waiting for you.

And how is gravity more proven than all the observed cases of evolution?

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164410)

I don't know that I'd call a theory a fact.

Are you using theory with the meaning used in common language (where the meaning is similar to hypothesis), or are you using its meaning in science? I don't know if you're ignorant of the separate meanings, or you're intentionally trying to confuse them, but the "only a theory" phrase is a trick creationists try to use against "evilutionists."

A creationist posting to Slashdot. Fascinating.

Re:Unfortunate? (4, Insightful)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164338)

Why is this unfortunate? Evolution is a theory.

Gravity is a theory. Are you saying physicists discussing rocks falling to the floor should avoid mentioning it?

It happens that science is the process of systematically improving theories. You're telling swimmers to avoid water.

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164346)

Perhaps we should only ever use 100% known facts in science then? So thats a lot of particle physics and cosmology out the window (how do you 100% prove black holes exist?) then , we won't teach that to kids since it can't be proven to your liking. Electromagnetism? Well we have theories of what light actually is but none of it has been proven since the theories (particle vs waves) contradict. So can't use that in any scientific papers.

Whats that you say? Theres plenty of evidence for all of the above? Yes , but its not 100% conclusive proof which you obviously want, though personally I'd be quite happy with the 90% proof (IMO) that evolution has.

Alternatively perhaps we should just believe in some invisible friend in the sky and lots of conjuring tricks from millenia ago. Yes , thats the way forward , I'm sure that'll be a success in advancing science.

I await the negative mod points from the bible bashers.

Re:Unfortunate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164356)

Evolution is both theory and fact.

Please attempt to educate yourself before further discourse - you make yourself look foolish.

(Unless you were subtly trolling, in which case, congrats, you got me :)

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164374)

In science, there are no "known facts".
Gravity - theory.
That time moves forward - theory.
The physical structure of matter - theory.
Evolution - theory.

But, in science nothing gets elevated to the status of theory unless it is accepted to be the best explanation so far on how something works.

Re:Unfortunate? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164390)

You are being disingenuous with your meaning of the word "theory".

You are using theory to mean hypothesis or conjecture, which isn't what the Theory of Evolution is, or any scientific theory.

Re:Unfortunate? (4, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164504)

Evolution is a theory. In science, it is better to focus on the known facts (as it seems is beginning to happen).

On the contrary. Science is about researching the unknown. This is why we scientists have theories - we are trying to learn the truth, acknowledging that we don't know it all and probably never will. The only things that are 'known facts' are observations, like last time I let go of a stone it fell down, not up. Nobody knows that it will do the same next time, strictly speaking, but we have a very well researched theory that says it will. Theories are the basis for everything around you: the computer you use was developed using such a theory as quantum mechanics, which is far more speculative than evolution. After all, the theory of evolution is based on fossils you can see with your bare eyes, whereas quantum mechanics deals with things we can't see. It is quite possible - likely even - that our idea about what fundamental particles are like is only a poor approximation to reality.

So if you can accept quantum theory well enough to use computers and other modern electronics, why not evolution? As for facts - we can see that evolution has happened; the fossils are there, and just like a line of footprints on a beach tells you that somebody has walked there recently, the fossils tell you that life has evolved. There is no reasonable doubt about that, and 'evolution theory' is not about that. It is about how it happened.

Re:Unfortunate? (1)

Rufty (37223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164606)

Known facts = raw data. Understanding, explainations and predictions = theories.
You're advocating the end of science and the start of stamp collecting.

Re:Unfortunate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164718)

Well it's a known fact that evolution is a better theory than ID.

Who came up with this? (4, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164352)

"antimicrobial resistance is said to 'emerge,' 'arise,' or 'spread' rather than 'evolve.' "

Could this possibly have something to do with the fact that the latter terms are used when they are more scientifically accurate?

If you're talking about antimicrobial resistance spreading, then it would be absolutely wrong to say that it was evolving: the bacteria has already evolved and the spread is just the increasing domination of that new line. If they have lumped all those words together than that alone could account for their conclusion by itself, although I would also argue that the other harms have certain preferable contexts for description.

The reserachers did not bother to do any actual pyschological research in their psychological study: they only looked at frequency distributions of the terminology. Apparently this is enough to infer the motivations of the medical patois. I don't suppose it's even remotely possible that the simple fact that evolutionary biologists study evolution could explain the increased frequency of 'evolve' in their personal vernacular? Perhaps if medical scientists spent all of their time researching, reading about, and writing about evolution, the word "evolve" might be as much integrated into their writing.

Regardless, it is absurd to suggest that incipient trends in word usage should in any way be a concern of either medical or evolutionary scientists. I might expect some outcry if people were being coerced (perhaps that is why there was no psychological investigation in this--not enough drama) but if you are going to throw a fit because a certain word isn't used as often as synonymns which say the same things but aren't as directly referential to your pet issue, I would say you are as much a culprit in politicizing science as any creationist school board.

Rhetoric == politics. Research results are not changed by the linguistics of the writeups.

Re:Who came up with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164484)


The problem with the word evolution, is that it refers to a larger concept, and that concept is not very well understood.
Even though evolution exists (to the same extend as gravity exists), most peoples view of it is generally flawed.
I can see why a scientist would chose to to use other words, not to confuse matter with the oversimplified concept of "evolution".

Most people think they know what evolution is about, but chance are that what you think you know about it is wrong.

very often, small effects in nature does not follow the simple rules of evolution, when seen in isolation. So using the word evolution would in many cases refer to something different than the author intended.

So indeed, why not use a better describing word, rather than being religious about a word?

Re:Who came up with this? (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164554)

Next thing you know, there will be articles related to Python on Slashdot that don't use the word "programming" or even "computer"!

A Tough Problem (5, Insightful)

spoonboy42 (146048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164358)

This same issue came up on a recent episode of NPR's Science Friday [sciencefriday.com] (look towards the right side of the page for an mp3 download link). Essentially, biologists were being encouraged by well-meaning people at the government agencies who sponsor them to avoid the word "evolution" so that their research remains uncontroversial and doesn't run afoul of any anti-science policy makers.

This latest article raises a good point, though. By trying to cloak discussion of evolution in other terms, anyone with a grasp of basic evolutionary biology is able to understand what is meant and how the process of natural selection applies to the problem at hand. Politicians and non-scientific observers not familiar with biology, however, don't see that evolution is explicitly referenced and so they don't raise a ruckus over it.

The problem is that this can help feed the general lack of understanding about evolution that creationists exploit. On the one hand, because most schools don't teach a rigorous curriculum on evolutionary biology, creationists can argue pseudo-scientific fallacies (e.g. that the second law of thermodynamics rules out evolution of increasingly complex species. Incidentally, this is false because the second law only applies to closed systems, and Earth's ecosystem continuously receives new energy from the Sun's light and heat). Additionally, because the fact that natural selection, as the basic organizing principle which has guided research in biology for over a century, isn't emphasized in new research reports that come out, many people don't realize that the huge advances we've made in our understanding of life on Earth over the past century, and the great medical breakthroughs that have emerged, nay, evolved from that understanding would not have been possible if we didn't understand evolution. Indeed, many things that we know to be true about biology simply couldn't be true if evolution weren't at work. That's not to say that it's a perfect theory, but like many good scientific theories it is revised and its precision is sharpened as new evidence becomes available (for example, we now know about cycles of punctuated equilibrium in the fossil record, and about patterns in human and other animal genomes, which Darwin didn't know about), in the same way that Einstein's relativity built on and refined Newton's laws of motion.

As loathe as many scientists are to do anything with public relations, I think that we have to do a better job of emphasizing the basic scientific theories behind today's research. So I encourage researchers out there to not be scared of using the word evolution, as it will hopefully contribute to people understanding that it is pervasively important to biology.

Eh it goes both ways? (1, Interesting)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164362)

Not to get into specifics but I live in the south eastern part of the US, basically the "bible belt". I myself, am not really religious. Never been to a church, never read more than a couple pages of "the Bible" etc And ironically enough going through grade school, junior high and high school we never had a problem with any teacher actually teaching evolution. At least, I never heard of any complaints from other students or heard of anyone's parents complaining about it. You'd think there'd be more uproar, specially in the south. Gotta love them hypocrites of the south, it's bad to teach evolution rather than the whole god-created-stuff thing but many "Christians" disobey one of the teachings of the bible (as I remember, vaguely); god says it aint good to gamble. Yet where are a lot of Bingo Night's hosted? Your Local Church, usually ran by Church Employees to boot. Evolution = bad, gambling against the bibles wishes inside a church no less = good!

Re:Eh it goes both ways? (4, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164392)

god says it aint good to gamble.
Damn, I was trying to make Russian Roulette popular among the religious.

Re:Eh it goes both ways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164438)

uh-huh, your just as tolerant as "they" are, aren't you.

I wonder what other words are forbidden (-1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164394)

immigrants (especially pointing out that they do actually commit 10x more murders than non-immigrants, which is no excuse for killing or deporting them, of course, but it IS a problem, and should be studied)
politics in general, and bush specifically in any non-"he's a stupid fuck" article
muhammad (don't miss this one or an effigy of you will be hacked to pieces in 20 countries, and "asians" will kill off your family)
muslims ...

Lots of work to be done

wtf (-1, Troll)

FlameReaper (1066378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164436)

conroversy? what controversy? Its fucking fact for christ sake. when will these weak willed mother fuckers just give up. your god doesnt exist in any way ou think just fucking get over it and move on. Its an outdated concept that has been replaced. Evolution happened. we proved this. Deal with it fuckers. im sick of people constantly changing the way they voice their opinions so that they will "avoid offense or controversy" fuck it say what you mean and stop pussy footing around it. The soner we do that the sooner we can EVOLVE thats right e-fucking-volve, and move on as species.

Some quotes. Including one from Darwin: (0, Troll)

TheCeltic (102319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164468)

Interesting.. Darwin didn't consider his own theory "true science".

[In a letter to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, Darwin wrote:] "I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."--*Charles Darwin, quoted in *N.C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (1979), p. 2 [University of Chicago book].

"Present-day ultra-Darwinism, which is so sure of itself, impresses incompletely informed biologists, misleads them, and inspires fallacious interpretations . . . Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case."--*Pierre P. de Grasse, The Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p. 202.

"The fact is that the evidence was so patchy one hundred years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views, and the only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to microevolutionary phenomena. His general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe."--*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986), p. 77.

Re:Some quotes. Including one from Darwin: (2, Insightful)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164588)

To assume that the science of evolution is only based on Darwin is like assuming that physics is only based on Newton.

Like Newton, Darwin has been improved upon by his successors.
That is one of the differences between scientists and prophets.

American science - this is a sign (1)

Knutsi (959723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164524)

There have been many stories here on Slashdot regarding the precieved decline in American science, and this article points to what may be another observable effect.

If the word "evolution" is avoided, is then also the models and theories that relates to the field also not applied, or discuised?

For me as a European, who is very fond of many things American and has relied uppon the US for protection and trade for a long time, it is scary to hear how much power people who rule by dogmas and simplified world views get over there these days.

Though, from the outside its hard to tell if it just sensationalism in the media, but please, Dear Americans, I beg you, don't let dogma win...

Avoiding controversy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18164532)

So... could the church discourage use of the word "God" to avoid controversy.

If we already self-censor science, it's about time the religious crackpots shut up about their supernatural power. Oh, and of course not just A supernatural power, but THE (christian) supernatural power. All others are wrong. Why? Everybody knows that.

Porcupine Tree - "Halo"

God is freedom, God is truth
God is power and God is proof...

But isn't it more accurate? (2, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164596)

As far as I know, things don't usually evolve right in front of our eyes. Sometimes, the strains that already existed (and which took millons of years to evolve) become dominant for whatever reason. I assume that's where you use "emerge".

This study has nothing to do with evolution (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164634)

It's got more to do with conformance of groups. If the study was not flawed and was less myopic, then I'd be interested. As it stands though, I'd not wipe my... ...with it.

Microsoft ! (1, Funny)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164640)

It is a conspiracy started by Microsoft !! They want us to use 'Outlook' i.s.o. 'Evolution' !!!

Natural Selection (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164666)

is far less emotive than "evolution", but it also implies that un-natural selection (ie breeding by selection for particular traits) is man messing with things.

What we need is religion vs religion (2, Insightful)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164716)

I don't mean crusade/jihad or anything that bad, just that science vs religion won't ever work.

BUT - if we somehow manage to get an islamic movement to try to ban teaching the ideas of evolution as being against the teachings of the prophet Mohammed and thus the word of Allah, then I'm pretty sure we'd see these religious wack jobs get off their pedistals mighty quick.

Can't try to promote something that those "awful muslims" promote, can we?

In fact - next time friends, relatives or people you meet bring up the idea of not teaching evolution in schools, just add in "oh, you mean like the Taleban? They didn't want schools teaching evolution either."

Playing the "terrorism" card for a GOOD cause for once!
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