Definitions of Fact, Theory, and Law in Scientific Work

Science uses specialized terms that have different meanings than everyday usage. These definitions correspond to the way scientists typically use these terms in the context of their work. Note, especially, that the meaning of “theory” in science is different than the meaning of “theory” in everyday conversation.

Evolution Primers

Evolution is a vast subject and there are many books and websites that offer introductions as well as more advanced discussions to its many subtopics and related fields. Our purpose here is to provide answers to questions about evolution that frequently arise in connection with creationism. Some resources here are short, quick answers; others delve into college-level material. See also Kevin Padian's testimony in the Kitzmiller trial for a lively introduction to the science of paleontology.

Creationism and the Law

Legal challenges to anti-evolutionist policies began with the Scopes Trial of 1925, a case the evolutionists actually lost.

Since 1968, however, U.S. courts have consistently held that "creationism" is a particular religious viewpoint and that teaching it in public schools would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

For a one page summary of important court cases, see Ten Major Court Cases about Creationism and Evolution.

Project Steve

NCSE's "Project Steve" is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or "scientists who dissent from Darwinism."

Forrest's Testimony: "Creationism" and "ID"

Here are the now-famous word-count charts used by Barbara Forrest in her testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover. These charts showed that the words "creation" and "creationist" were systematically changed to "intelligent design" and "design proponent" in the drafts for the book Of Pandas and People, in the aftermath of the 1987 Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard .

Click the images for an enlarged view:
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