Systems Of Theories

I was delighted to read the article on evolution in the March 30, 1992, issue of The Scientist ("Evolution: It's Not Just A Single Theory, It's A Lot Of Theories," page 15). Since 1980 I have been saying what was said in the headline of the article (Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 23:551-72, 1980; The American Biology Teacher, 48[6]:344-7, 1986). There are also systems of theories in ecology, in molecular biology, and in all parts of biology. But would you learn this from reading the te

Ralph Lewis
May 24, 1992
I was delighted to read the article on evolution in the March 30, 1992, issue of The Scientist ("Evolution: It's Not Just A Single Theory, It's A Lot Of Theories," page 15). Since 1980 I have been saying what was said in the headline of the article (Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 23:551-72, 1980; The American Biology Teacher, 48[6]:344-7, 1986).

There are also systems of theories in ecology, in molecular biology, and in all parts of biology. But would you learn this from reading the textbooks? Surely not! Textbook authors are usually ignorant of the meaning of "theory" (Al Gibbs and Anton E. Lawson, The American Biology Teacher, 54[3]:137-52, 1992).

The academic world in general in the natural and social sciences is so far out of touch with the real thinking that produced the knowledge being taught that students seldom learn to differentiate factual statements, theoretical statements, reasoning statements, and...

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