Proof vs. Demonstration

I’m trying to understand what you mean by this, because if I substitute anything else for the word, evolution, I would have said it amounted to saying proof, e.g. a demonstration of eating in action is the same as proof of eating would make sense, but to say a demonstration of eating in action isn’t the same as proof of eating makes no sense to me. To say a demonstration of eating isn’t the same as proof of fasting would also make sense and patently true. Of course, if you say a demonstration of microevolution is not a proof of macroevolution that would also make sense. It’s not clear at all that such a distinction was being made or implied.

In the context of the preceding discussion that’s basically what I took it to mean.

Historically in science, “demonstration” has meant a whole range of things, in particular it means “experiment.”

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The previous discussion is over a year old, and Edgar appeared to be asking for that one smoking gun-type of thing, as if as broad a subject as evolution could ever be demonstrated with a single experiment.
One common complaint offered by creationists about the Lenski long-term evolution experiment is that, they claim, it is provided as if that single experiment proves/demonstrates/supports the entire science of evolutionary biology. Which of course it doesn’t, and isn’t purported to do by anyone who knows what they’re talking about. In effect it is a straw-man argument. The creationist will say that the Lenski experiment is “the best they’ve got”, and then point out “it’s still bacteria”, and then since the One Single Greatest Proof of Evolution(the Lenski experiment) fails to prove “microbe to man” or “from goo to you”-evolution, then they’ve got nothing because the best they got is just bacteria remaining bacteria.

So that’s why I responded to Edgar the way I did. He was asking for that One Great Proof of the whole thing, and I was trying to explain there is no such thing, and that different experiments demonstrate different things. In the case of the Lenski experiment, it’s a demonstration of continuous evolutionary adaptation, in real time, to a simple synthetic environment. It’s not supposed to prove that bacteria evolved into snakes and lizards, and nobody offers up that experiment as if it does.


@raych, Welcome to Peaceful Science. :slight_smile:

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