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Linguistic jujitsu

November 17th, 2007

I don't read many technology magazines for fun – it's something of a busman's holiday – but I do read Wired. This month's issue is pretty good, and it contains this article on the linguistics of the evolution vs. creationism debate. Excerpt:

For truly solid-gold, well-established science, let's stop using the word theory entirely. Instead, let's revive much more venerable language and refer to such knowledge as "law."

Best of all, [this] performs a neat bit of linguistic jujitsu. If someone says, "I don't believe in the theory of evolution," they may sound fairly reasonable. But if someone announces, "I don't believe in the law of evolution," they sound insane. It's tantamount to saying, "I don't believe in the law of gravity."

I quite like the idea, but then I'm not a scientist.

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