Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
Previous Claim: CA131   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CA202

Claim CA201:

Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact.


State of Oklahoma. 2003. House Bill HB1504: Schools; requiring all textbooks to have an evolution disclaimer; codification; effective date; emergency.


  1. The word theory, in the context of science, does not imply uncertainty. It means "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena" (Barnhart 1948). In the case of the theory of evolution, the following are some of the phenomena involved. All are facts: Many other facts are explained by the theory of evolution as well.

  2. The theory of evolution has proved itself in practice. It has useful applications in epidemiology, pest control, drug discovery, and other areas (Bull and Wichman 2001; Eisen and Wu 2002; Searls 2003).

  3. Besides the theory, there is the fact of evolution, the observation that life has changed greatly over time. The fact of evolution was recognized even before Darwin's theory. The theory of evolution explains the fact.

  4. 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 (Milgrom 2002). Yet the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is still a fact.

  5. Creationism is neither theory nor fact; it is, at best, only an opinion. Since it explains nothing, it is scientifically useless.


Moran, Laurence. 1993. Evolution is a fact and a theory,

Isaak, Mark. 1995. Five major misconceptions about evolution,


  1. Barnhart, Clarence L., ed. 1948. The American College Dictionary, New York: Random House.
  2. Bull, J. J. and H. A. Wichman. 2001. Applied evolution. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 32: 183-217.
  3. Eisen, J. A. and M. Wu. 2002. Phylogenetic analysis and gene functional predictions: Phylogenomics in action. Theoretical Population Biology 61: 481-487.
  4. Milgrom, Mordehai. 2002. Does dark matter really exist? Scientific American 287(2) (Aug.): 42-52.
  5. Searls, D. 2003. Pharmacophylogenomics: Genes, evolution and drug targets. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2: 613-623.

Further Reading:

AIG. n.d. Arguments we think creationists should NOT use.

Gould, Stephen J. 1983. Evolution as fact and theory. In Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 253-262.
Previous Claim: CA131   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CA202

created 2003-4-10, modified 2004-11-25