Centennial Museum gecko logo

Desert Diary


There's much controversy about theory today in the context of evolution versus "intelligent design" in the school room. The implication usually is that a theory is just someone's wild speculation. Few people that scream about theory being taught as fact seem to realize that much of the science we teach as fact is, technically, theory—which emphasizes that in its technical sense, a theory has so much evidence for it that it's accepted as mainstream science.

Some theories that most accept are the heliocentric theory—that is, that the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa; the theory of plate tectonics—that the continents move in relation to each other; and the atomic theory, that matter is made up of invisibly small units called atoms. The latter is especially interesting since virtually all that we know about atoms was learned without ever having seen one. We believe in atoms because all the evidence we have is consistent with the theory—just as we accept evolution because everything we see is consistent with the theory of evolution!
pen and ink

Listen to the Audio (mp3 format) as recorded by KTEP, Public Radio for the Southwest.


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.