Continuing the discussion from Did We Have "Reptilian" Ancestors?:
I’m splitting this off as a new topic – partly to experiment with ways of using the board software to do that.
Please keep in mind that I am not a biologist. I hope some actual biologists will chime in and say where they disagree.
Darwin quite possibly did consider his ideas to be an hypothesis about origins. And Darwin made some mistakes, such as an over-emphasis on natural selection. This is understandable, since that was about all that he had at the time.
However, an hypothesis doesn’t get you very far. And, before long, biologists had taken this far beyond the level of an hypothesis. They saw evolution as a framework for studying biological change. In a way, Linnaeus started this with his classification system that particularly emphasized reproduction and reproductive organs as a way of sorting out the species. And once they knew of Mendel’s work on genetic, that was quickly incorporated into the study.
I’m inclined to see evolutionary theory as including reproduction, genetics, development (as in evo-devo), mutation and speciation. And I probably left out some of what should be included.
Frameworks are important to most science.
Philosophy of science tends to describe science as a system of descriptions that uses induction to advance the field. I mostly disagree with this. I see science as producing logical (and mathematical) models of aspects of the world. And the model allows mapping of real world phenomena into logic propositions. A theory often has many technical definitions which are part of the constructing of the model.
I also think Quine (the philosopher) made a mistake when he argued against the analytic/synthetic distinction. In a scientific theory, the technical definitions and part of the core of the theory are analytic propositions, while experimental science produces synthetic propositions (measurements, observations, etc).